Posted in Life Experiences

10 Easy & Natural Ways to Reduce Stress

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According to recent data gathered by Statistic Brain, 48% of Americans have reported an increase in their stress levels over the last 5 years.

And while this article isn’t to discuss and pinpoint out the exact causes and common contributors of stress, it is to remind you that we’re living an increasingly stressed society and that it may only get worse.

Here are some tools to arm yourself when you need to reduce stress and you’re looking for a natural remedy:

1. Update Your Home & Office with Plants

Spending time in a green environment can help calm nerves and improve your well-being.

Keep a few indoor plants in the areas you frequent often and spend long extended times in. I am always reminded when I see an indoor plant that I’ve had for quite some time, that it required a nurturing relationship from me.

When your stressed, let your indoor plants remind you to be gentle with yourself. And if need be, take a moment to water your plants, prune them and re-pot them.

2. Take a Moment to Peer Into the Sky

If you’re feeling stressed, maybe even running on overdrive, take a moment to peer up into the sky. Remember when you were a child and you would spend hours upon hours of gazing into the sky contemplating the possibilities of life?

Peering into the sky allows us to sit back and take our minds off our problems. Watch how clouds move seamlessly throughout the sky, appreciate the beauty that the sky has to offer and take a moment to bask in the wisdom it has in store for all of us.

If you’re peering into the night time sky, let the stars gently remind you that in the grand scheme of things, the stress we face right now maybe quite insignificant as we step into old-age.

3. Find Some Moving Water

Since the dawn of ages, mankind has used the serene benefits of moving water to find inner peace. If you’re feeling stressed, find some moving water, or even just a body of still water. Sit next to the water and pay careful attention to what your five senses are registering.

4. Go People Watching

People watching? Yes, people watching. I find that whenever I am stressed, I would much rather be around others than be by myself. Even if I’m not directly interacting with others, just simply watching and observing other people is enough to calm my mind.

People watching can make you laugh and it can put things into perspective. But most of all, the act of people watching gets you outside your head.

5. Pour Yourself a Healthy Beverage

Take a moment to brew a cup of coffee, a cup of tea or press some fresh juice. Get involved with the process of creating your healthy beverage of choice.

By simply being present and involved with creating something to nourish your body, you can move through your stress while you brew and sip your healthy tonic.

6. Listen to Music

If you’re finding yourself easily stressed, or stressed regularly. Take a moment to invest in a stress-less playlist.

Find music that helps you calm down, music that helps you reflect, music that shifts your mood from stressed to energetic and grateful.

If you’re fresh out of music ideas, then simply turn on the radio or tune into an internet radio station that will lively up your mood. Music is a universal language and an effective tool to improve your mood and subsequently, reduce stress.

7. Exercise

I always say: When in doubt, get out of your mind and into your body.

When we’re stressed our minds are like a hamster on a wheel. It never stops unless we interrupt the chatter. Take a five-minute break and get into your body. Go walk up and down a flight of stairs. Close your office door and do some jumping jacks. Leave your environment and go for a stroll.

If need be, take an hour or two for a time-out and hit the gym or go for a run. I don’t want you to run away from your stress, instead I want you to face it head on with a clearer mind.

8. Organize Your Life

When I feel the effects of stress, it can almost be related to being disorganized. Take a moment and look at your work space, your home, your bedroom, your bathroom and car. How organized are these spaces we spend so much time in?

Organizing the spaces we frequent often and spend countless hours in is a great way to de-clutter the mind. What the mind takes in is the energy it puts out.

Reduce the stress and chaos in your life by simply spending 10-20 minutes organizing and optimizing your environment.

9. Cut Down on Internet & Cell Phone Usage

When we’re stressed the last thing we need to do is assault our minds and senses with the internet and anything from our cell phones.

You’re already running on hyper-drive or about to shut down, the last thing you need to do is expose yourself to internet “chatter” and unnecessary communication when you’re trying to de-stress.

10. Sleep

Life is like a rollercoaster. Sometimes we’re going uphill, downhill or just coasting until we hit the next peak. Regardless of where you are on this ride of life, be sure to adequately nourish your mind and body with enough sleep.

When we’re stressed the last thing we need to do is be walking around like we’re zombies just coping with life or acting squirrely because we pulled an all-nighter before. Invest in your health and reduce stress with adequate sleep.

Final Thoughts

Stress is an unavoidable part of our lives, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Untreated stress can manifest in various physical and mental health ailments or even worse.

Manage your stress levels with any of these 10 tips above to help you move through your day with more peace and stillness.

How do you reduce stress in your life? Leave a comment below.

 

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Posted in Monday Motivation

Motivation Monday

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Why do so many people despise Monday? For most, it’s the end of time off with the ones they love and back to the work for five days.  There is an innate dread for the start of a long work week filled with challenges.  I remember feeling this way about several jobs throughout my teenage and college years.  I would have rather been out having fun, even though I needed the money to support my fun. Years ago I would wake up early before the Sun, feeling like garbage and wishing I could just stay in bed.  I’d grab a coffee and breakfast then head outside to brush the snow off my train in the dark so I could travel an hour to a crappy place before chaining myself to a desk with fake lights for twelve hours.  Aside from the coffee and breakfast it sounds pretty horrible.  Are there ways to battle the Monday blahs?

Making your Monday Better

1. Sleep More

Thinking about the busy week ahead causes stress, which releases the hormone cortisol.  Cortisol is good in moderation as it helps us manage our stress.  But it has the effect of keeping us stimulated, so yes worrying about Monday does keep you awake at night.  Sleep deprivation makes everything so much worse about working.  If you can do something relaxing the night before and go to bed early you can feel well rested in the morning, which has the added effect of giving our body the extra energy and repair it needs for the week ahead.  Every time I’ve fought the Monday dread on Sunday night and gone to be early I’ve woken up feeling pretty good about Monday.

2. Make a list, check it twice

When we have problems that we can’t solve right away, they tend to dominate our thoughts.  We analyse them and they race through our head over and over again.  This comes to a head on
Sunday night because you have to face the problems on Monday.  To get things out of your head, the best thing to do is write it down, all of it.  It lets you tell your brain that you don’t have to think about it constantly; you won’t forget it because you wrote it down.  You can make a list on Sunday night or Monday morning, whenever your stress levels are high.  Once I get everything on paper I can get to it in time and forget about it for the time being, which allows me to relax and enjoy the rest of my fleeting weekend.

3. Find the good, or make some good!

Find a way to make Monday a day to look forward to.  Take up a hobby, join a club, play a sport, whatever you feel like.  For one it will make you a more well-rounded person and give you some extra social activity.  But it will also give you something to look forward to on Mondays.  You can focus on the enjoyment of this activity instead of the long grind of work.  I play ultimate frisbee on Monday nights, a sport I really enjoy.  It gives me some exercise and some social activity, two things that naturally alleviate stress (at least for an extrovert like myself).

In general, usually by Tuesday, something happens…. we suddenly don’t feel so bad.  Work just becomes the routine and we go with it.  It still isn’t ideal, but having experienced Monday, we feel the worst is over and we can keep at it a bit easier, so we don’t feel as much stress.  If you can simplify and work through Monday, the rest of the week can seem pretty good.

If you are truly unhappy about not just Mondays, but work days in general, it may be time to look for something that does make you happy.  I know some people feel stuck in the life they have, for varying reasons, but for most people, successfully moving to a more enjoyable career isn’t impossible.  You only have one life, so you should do whatever you can to enjoy it.

These days I look at Mondays with excitement, maybe because I truly love the work I do.  Yes there are challenges and it’s not always super-happy-fun-time, but I always revel in the hard times because it gives me the opportunity to truly enjoy the good stuff!  I can absolutely say I love my work and it makes every day an adventure.  Monday is a chance to reset and refocus on my goals and it sets the tone for the week ahead.