The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. – William James
After spending a wonderful Christmas with my family and then enjoying a week-long vacation with Mary Beth in Florida, it’s time to get back to the grind.
Working long hours, chauffeuring my daughter back and forth to her activities, running errands and keeping up with housework can be stressful. But one advantage of growing older is I’ve developed a healthier and more positive perspective about the things that can cause stress, which is: Dealing with a busy, hectic life sure beats the alternative of not having a life at all.
Even though I don’t have all the answers, here are ten ways I’ve learned to stress less so I can enjoy life more.
- Look for opportunities in life’s challenges.
No matter what challenges come your way, if you hold your ground, opportunities will present themselves in the most unpredictable ways. There are no accidents with value – you can learn and grow from almost every challenge.
- Go for a walk with a friend.
Weather permitting, Mary Beth, my wife and best friend, and I go for a walk after dinner. During these walks we discuss what’s happening in our professional lives and with our family. We support, coach and counsel each other to help find ways to stress less and enjoy what we have more.
- Focus more on the things you can control.
While you can’t control other people’s actions, or reactions, you can control your thoughts, emotions, actions and reactions. By learning to let go of the things you can’t control makes your journey through life a little less bumpy.
- Ask for help.
You are not alone, even though it may feel that way sometimes. Reach out to the people who know and care about you and then ask for the help you need. You’ll be surprised by how willing, and grateful, they are to help you.
- Give someone a compliment.
By seeing what’s good about someone, instead of their faults, you can create karma that will be returned to you. So go ahead and be liberal with honest and thoughtful compliments and watch your world change for the better.
- Get involved with a cause you believe in.
Helping others improve their lives or getting behind a meaningful cause, can help you see your life in a more positive light. Rather than complaining about what’s wrong, challenge yourself to help do something about it!
Go ahead and dream about your goals or relationships. See yourself achieving, loving, or being what your heart wants you to be. Use this passion to stress less and begin living the life that has been created for you.
- Become an early riser.
Try this for one week: Set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier. Use the extra time to pack your lunch, catch up on email or simply sit in prayer or mediation. The benefit of becoming an early riser is to get a jumpstart on your day so you feel more prepared for the day ahead.
- Pursue a new hobby.
Idle time can be destructive. Don’t sit and ruminate on what’s wrong. Instead find a hobby that turns idle time into positive, constructive time.
When stress seems to be consuming you, close your eyes and remember to breathe. Feel your heart beat, slow down your mind and ground yourself with the fact that you are alive and doing your best with the situation at hand. Breathe. Stress less. Repeat.