How to stay calm when you know you'll be stressed | Daniel Levitin
How to Stop Making Yourself Stressed
Stress is one of the most common mental afflictions that people suffer. What makes this worse is that sometimes we create stress for ourselves. However, if you cause your own stress, you can also stop yourself from getting stressed out. By putting your mind at rest, living in a healthy fashion, and by taking steps to resolve problems before they cause stress, you can do a lot to reduce the stress you suffer. All this requires is a little bit of time and the desire to reduce stress.
Putting Your Mind at Rest
Roll with the punches.See every event as just something that is a natural part of life. Take the attitude that you'll have to deal with these things all the time, and they're not really a big deal.
- Try to put relatively insignificant events like a flat tire in perspective. Flat tires happen. Just make sure to deal with the consequences and move on.
- View setbacks in your career as part of normal life. Most people have to switch jobs a few times before they find an organization they're happy working for.
- See romantic setbacks as a regular part of life. Breaking up with a significant other or getting turned down for a date are just life events that everybody goes through.
Live in the present.Always live in the present. If you don't live in the present, you'll be fretting about what happened yesterday or what will happen next. Ultimately, by living in the present, you'll be able to stop yourself from getting stressed out.
- Don't live in the past. Focusing on what happened yesterday may just lead you to regret your actions. For instance, if you're worried about an opportunity to make money that passed you by last week, you'll stress yourself out and you might miss opportunities today.
- Stop yourself from living in the future. If you’re constantly thinking about what comes next, you’ll likely stress yourself out.
Have realistic expectations.Another way of putting your mind at rest is by having realistic expectations. When you don't have realistic expectations, you set yourself up for disappointment or stress.
- When it comes to studying for a test, make sure to gather enough knowledge about what you need to do. This way, you can prepare properly without freaking out.
- If you have a big project due soon for work or school, make sure your expectations aren’t much higher than that of the people you are completing the project for.
- When applying for a new job, don't expect that it'll be a walk in the park or the pay will be the best. You might need to adjust to your new work or you might need to work your way up to your desired pay.
Reserve time for yourself.By putting some time aside for yourself, you’ll make sure that you have time for self-reflection, time for mental rest, and time to think about any problems you have going on in your life.
- Put aside 10 to 20 minutes a day for alone time.
- Avoid any distractions during your quiet time.
- If you have a busy schedule, you may just be able to take advantage of commute time to work, time in the shower, or simply the ten or fifteen minutes before you fall asleep.
Creating a Healthy Life
Include stress relieving techniques in your daily routine.There are many things you can do to manage stress in your daily life. Try to include a stress relief technique as part of your daily routine, just like brushing your teeth or putting on clean clothes in the morning. Make relaxing for at least 15 minutes every day a priority. Some techniques you can try include:
Establish a balance between different aspects of your life.Take action to create balance in your life. Balancing family, work, and recreation will help stop you from being stressed out.
- Don’t overcommit. If your schedule is already packed with work, family, and social obligations, don’t volunteer yourself for anything else. While coaching little league might seem like a good idea, it might put you over the edge and cause you a lot of stress.
- Figure out how much you should work. While you might need to work sixty hour weeks at some stages of your career, it’s certainly not healthy to do this for years at a time. Such a commitment to work will definitely hurt your family life – and cause you a lot of stress.
- Reserve time for recreation and family. If you don’t have fun and if you don’t spend time with your family, you’ll likely stress yourself out.
Get enough sleep.Sleep is a very important part of having a healthy life. Without sleep, you won’t be able to function at your highest level. As a result, you need to make sure you regularly get enough sleep.
- Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep. This varies based on age, health, and other factors.
- Teenagers may need 9 or more hours of sleep.
- Consult your physician if you are concerned about sleep related issues.
Exercise as much as you can.Try to exercise whenever you can. By exercising, you’ll improve your health and provide yourself with a positive outlet for tension and stress.
- Try to find at least 20 minutes a day to exercise.
- You’ll find that exercise will help relieve short-term stress and will prevent stress in the future.
- Think about running or cycling. Both of these are great ways to relieve your stress.
Learn to prioritize.Prioritizing is the process of deciding what is most important in your life and managing your daily tasks according to these priorities. For example, if your education is more important to you than anything else, then you might prioritize homework and studying over things like watching a television program or going to a party.
- Make a list of what you value most to help you decide what your priorities are, then rank the things you have listed from most to least important.
- You can also prioritize by identifying what tasks are the most pressing on a daily basis. For example, you might prioritize work on a presentation over studying for a final exam if the presentation is coming up in a few days and the exam is a month away. Or, you might prioritize answering emails over completing something that is less time-sensitive. Think about what you need to get done today to help you decide how to prioritize your daily tasks. Then add other tasks in the order of their importance.
Avoid procrastinating.Procrastination is a problem for many people. You might put off an important project because it seems too difficult or because you simply don’t feel like working on it. However, procrastinating can lead to stress and it may also result in shoddy work.Try to stop yourself from procrastinating if this is a habit of yours.
Plan ahead and develop a schedule.Spend a little time to develop a schedule. Use your schedule to balance all of your responsibilities. This will help you to predict what you have to do on a daily basis.
- Buy a day planner and use it to schedule appointments, meetings, and other obligations.
- Always provide a little bit more time than you might need for scheduled activities. By providing extra time, you’ll reduce potential stress if something unexpected happens.
- Remember, sometimes things go wrong and you won’t be able to follow your schedule. This should be expected and should not be a cause of stress.
Solve problems before they happen.Try to be as proactive as possible when it comes to solving problems in your life. By solving problems before they happen, you’ll save yourself from dealing with a bigger problem down the road.
- To solve problems, start by identifying the problem and defining it. One example might be that your rent is due and you do not have enough money to pay it.
- Then, make a list of your choices for dealing with the problem. You could deal with being short on money for rent by paying late without asking, calling your landlord and asking if you can pay late, or by borrowing money from a friend or family member to pay on time.
- Next, evaluate these choices and decide which one is most likely to get you the result you want. Calling your landlord and asking to pay late will probably give you the best result. If your landlord is not okay with your paying late, then you can ask a friend or family member to lend you some money to pay on time. Sending in your rent late without asking will probably result in an angry landlord and possibly a poor reference when you look for your next apartment.
- Then, put your plan into action.After you have decided what to do, then do it. See how it turns out and use this information to help you when you have to make a similar decision in the future.
Improve your efficiency.Spend some time thinking about things you can do to improve your efficiency. By improving your efficiency, you’ll make sure all aspects of your life run more smoothly.
- Think about your effectiveness at work. Are there any things you can do to improve your efficiency at work? Consider redoing your organizational or filing system, organizing your desk, or moving daily tasks to different parts of your workday.
- Consider reorganizing the way you manage domestic chores and activities. If you know that you need to take your children to little league practice every Saturday, don’t plan to have a BBQ the same afternoon. You’ll likely be tired, and if practice runs late, you’ll be stressed out.
Video: Stressed Out? Tips for Relaxing & Letting Go
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