Are you so stressed out that it’s starting to negatively affect your health and the quality of your life? Do you wake up some mornings not wanting to get out of bed because you feel depressed and unmotivated? Has it gotten to the point where your family, friends, and co-workers make excuses to avoid being around you? Would you like to feel normal and happy again, so that you can begin to enjoy your life?
If you answered YES to any of those questions, we know that you would love nothing more than a solution to get rid of or manage your stress levels.
In the Secrets To Living A Stress-Free Life guide, we’re going to teach you the basics of what causes stress and some simple, but powerful ways to manage it.
Let’s get into a brief discussion about this life killer now…
Understanding The Basics Of Stress
There are lots of things that you need to learn about stress resolutions, but it would be best to familiarize yourself first with the basics. The following information can help those suffering from stress to get out of the trap.
Stress Defined: According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, stress is a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.
There is no exact measure of stress, but it is generally defined as the physical and normal response of the body to things that make people feel worried and bothered. Stress affects people differently. Stress is a normal part of life, which can’t be completely avoided.
Though stress can happen inevitably, you must make every effort to not let it rule your life.
Since stress usually doesn’t go away on its own, you have to proactively seek out solutions to manage or overcome it.
The way that you handle stress is just like you’d conquer any other problem, by creating a plan, which begins with making a list.
You can think of your journey to manage your stress levels as Stress Resolutions, in which you’d make a list of all the things that have a negative impact on your life.
This process is similar to how you’d make your New Year’s Resolutions list.
4 Steps On Creating Your Stress Resolutions List
Step 1: Write down everything that stresses you out
Step 2:Determine the best ways to reduce or eliminate them (solutions)
Step 3:Periodically make assessments to determine if your solutions are working or not
Step 4: Make adjustments or try different solutions
This may seem like a lot of work, but you must ask yourself, “Is my life worth the effort so that I can be happy?”
The big takeaway from implementing the Stress Resolution Method is to identify where the majority of stresses are coming from in your life, then apply resolutions to help you reduce or eliminate them.
Understanding What Stresses You Out
We’ve already introduced you to the Stress Resolution Method, which instructs you to make a list of the things that cause you stress.
Everyone reacts differently to the circumstances in their lives. What stresses one person may not stress out another.
Below we’re going to talk about some of the most common stressors that usually affect most people at some point or another.
Since stress can have a negative impact on both your personal and professional life, you absolutely must be willing and determined to overcome it.
If you don’t conquer stress management, it will continue to rob you of your life.
Let’s cover the common causes of stress…
Causes Of Stress
Heavy workloads whether you’re a business owner or an employee can cause you an immense amount of stress. As a matter of fact, work and commuting are among the biggest contributors to stress.
Not to mention that people are now working longer hours to meet deadlines, doing more work, and taking fewer vacations if any.
And all of that for lesser pay than people made in the past.
This combination of negatives is what causes you to feel depressed, unhappy, and extremely dissatisfied with your life.
Unhappiness creates a domino effect in your work environments such as poor time management, lack of focus, no enthusiasm, poor work ethic, and a bad attitude.
This perfect storm leads to more stress, which keeps you in the same vicious cycle.
Poor finances are one of the leading causes of divorce, which is a shame because money can be replaced and a great significant other, not so easy.
When the bills aren’t being paid and you’re unable to answer your phones because of harassing debt collectors, many couples tend to blame each other, instead of coming up with a plan to get from underneath their debt.
We know that it’s easier said than done when a couple or an individual is going through these traumatic experiences.
At some point, a plan must be created, no matter how painful it is to face, that will allow you to get your finances under control.
Otherwise, the stress that financial issues cause will destroy your life and quite possibly those that depend on you.
When the relationships in your home are strained, it creates stress and a tense environment, to say the least.
Sometimes it’s so bad; no one talks to each other unless it’s necessary.
There are many reasons for family problems, which range from infidelity, disrespectful children, injury, chronic illness, death of a loved one, anger, divorce, job loss, depression, and right down to financial issues.
Understanding Your Stress and Who Stresses You
Most of us have those people in our lives that cause us stress and we try our best to avoid them.
These are the folks we call “Drama.”
The word Drama is used as a slang term to describe those that are always complaining or talking about others behind their backs…
You know the type, right?
If you’ve not given much thought to those who stress you out, we highly recommend that you identify these destructive people and either get them out of your life or limit your exposure to them.
Of course, the choice is yours to make, but life is short and there’s no reason to keep people that are bad for your health around.
The following are the individuals who cause you stress:
We use the term “Viral People” because they infect your mood like the flu. These folks cause you to feel drained out as if you have contacted a terrible cold after hanging out with them because they are extremely negative. This negative energy causes you to feel stressed.
These are the individuals that have no respect for your time. They tend to just pop up at your doorstep without warning, and with not so much as a phone call.
They feel as though the world is centered around them.
They tend to demand all of your time and attention and have the nerve to get mad when you tell them NO, which causes you to feel stressed.
Victim players are those who place blame on themselves when something goes wrong in their life.
Events that most people would consider to be normal, the Victim Player personality type, views those same events like disasters or the end-of-the-world.
Hanging out with these types of folks can cause you a lot of stress because they’ll make a mountain out of a molehill.
We recommend that you distance yourself or remove these types of people from your life; otherwise, you’ll continue to be influenced by their negative vibes.
Mental Abusers and Bullies
Bullies come in all ages, from children to adults, and wreak havoc on the lives of those they choose to target.
They could be your neighbors who make life difficult by playing their music too loud, parking in front of your driveway, to letting their dogs poop on your lawn.
They could be your boss at work who places unrealistic demands on you.
Since bullies cause people to live in fear, this creates elevated stress levels due to the mental and sometimes physical abuse endured.
Some people take out their frustrations on others when they’re stressed out, which causes them to become more stressed, because of the added feelings of guilt.
If you’re dealing with a bully, you should seek the help of a professional such as a therapist.
A good therapist could put together a plan to help you deal with a bully properly. You need to have a person such as a therapist guide you because they’re outside looking in, have no basis, and can advise you in a way that can prevent you from doing something that could get you into trouble.
In the most extreme cases, bullying can cause individuals to commit suicide and that’s devastating.
Bullying 100% must be handled ASAP, period!
These are the people who only contact you when they want something, otherwise, you never hear from them.
They don’t even contact you to wish you a “Happy Birthday.”
The User type can cause you some stress because they typically try to make you feel bad if you refuse their request for help.
Don’t allow yourself to be used by those individuals.
If possible, get them out of your life or at the very least limit your exposure to them.
Do it sooner rather than later and watch how much less stressed you’ll feel.
The Acceptance Mindset
You’ve already learned that stress is a natural response to your life experiences.
According to some experts, at the most basic level, there are two forms of stress:
1)) Good Stress (a.k.a. Eustress) – Makes you feel excited (e.g. getting a pay raise)
2)) Bad Stress (a.k.a. Distress) - Drains you out both mentally and physically
Good Stress makes is beneficial, because it makes you feel motivated and Bad Stress is one of the causes of health problems and anxiety.
Believe it or not, when properly channeled, bad stress in small doses can be used as fuel to motivate you to become better, energized, and inspires you to be more productive and efficient.
However, it will become a problem if you continue to experience bad stress on a frequent basis for a prolonged period of time.
The Right Mindset
One of the biggest keys to overcoming stressful situations is to develop an acceptance mindset.
This doesn’t mean accepting things you don’t like, it simply means you accept the situation, and immediately start thinking about a plan to resolve or minimize the effects.
Remember, you can’t improve something until you first admit that it’s wrong, and that’s what’s meant by accepting the reality of the situation.
After you’ve come up with a solution to resolve a problem or change a situation you’re unhappy with, do your best to achieve your desired results.
Have you ever resolved a problem before?
Of course, you have.
Do you recall the almost instant relief you felt immediately after resolving it?
Didn’t the stress feel as though it vanished into thin air?
The acceptance mindset can help make you feel at ease, even when you’re right in the middle of a crisis because it forces you to think in terms of solutions instead of focusing on problems.
Also, the right mindset essentially creates hope and possibility instead of making you focus on problems.
This factor alone helps to reduce stress levels.
Cultivating the proper mindset protects you against those types of individuals who cause you stress that we talked about earlier (e.g. Viral People, Attention Seekers, Victim Players, Mental Abusers, and Bullies, & The User).
The right mindset is an essential part of your stress management plan. Achieving your goals and desire for a stress-free life takes plenty of effort and determination.
The Power of Your Breath
You carry around with you 24/7 one of the best stress relievers and you may not even be aware of it.
This stress reliever is called your Breath.
Breathing exercises not only relax you, but experts claim they can boost your immune system.
Experts even suggest that individuals should take deep breaths whenever negative thoughts and feelings flow into your mind.
Performing breathing exercises during stressful times can have a profound effect on your health and can help you to relax.
Eight studies conducted revealed that breathing exercises alter PH levels and affect blood pressure.
You can benefit from these studies by using breathing exercises as a proactive weapon against stress in order to reduce the production of stress hormones.
Rapid breathing is said to be controlled by the human sympathetic Nervous System. This is part of the flight or fight response, the part which is activated by stress.
To relieve stress, deep and slow breathing is necessary.
Do you know that you can use breathing exercises to help recover from stress and depression?
Deep breaths stimulate the PNS or Parasympathetic Nervous System which is responsible for various activities occurring when the body is at complete rest.
The following are 3 of the most suggested types of breathing exercises you can try to help relieve stress, anxiety, and depression…
With this type of breathing, you take five breaths every minute to help slow down the autonomic nervous system.
This is said to be the middle of the rate range of resonant breathing. This is done by making five inhales and five exhales. This breathing rate aids in maximizing Heart Rate Variability (HRV), which is defined as the rate of performance of PNS.
A change in pattern and rate of breathing can alter HRV causing shifts in the nervous system.
The higher the Heart Rate Variability, the better because this means the cardiovascular system is healthy and the response system is stronger and ready to handle stress.
This is a type of breathing where you create resistance to the ideal flow of air. This resistance can be made by pursuing your lips, placing your tongue’s tip against the inner and upper teeth, and hissing to your clenched teeth.
You also have to tighten your throat muscles, close the glottis partly, and narrow spaces between your vocal cords with the aid of an external object like straw.
This is when breathing moves in harmony with your imagination. Some experts compare this type of breathing exercise to a deep internal massage.
It is as if allowing your breath to take a short journey throughout your entire body. As an example, when you are breathing, imagine that you are able to move your breath to your head, spine, bones, and other parts of the body.
Think of your breath as an internal message vehicle.
This can somehow make you feel relaxed and reduce your stress levels.
You have the power to change the pattern and rate of your breathing at will.
Several scientific studies prove that controlling your breath can help in managing stress and stress-related conditions.
Breathing exercises are so powerful; they’re used in practices like tai chi, yoga, and meditation.
Nowadays, the masses of people are embracing breathing exercises to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
Breathing exercises can also help in getting rid of chest tightness, fatigue, light-headedness, faintness, panic feelings, heart palpitations, and more.
Additional Benefits of Breathing Exercises:
- Can be mastered quickly with no professional skills
- Cost no money
- Can be applied anywhere at anytime
- Can efficiently reverse your stress response to avoid the effects of chronic stress
- Gives you a boost when you feel exhausted
When you’re stressed and confused, do you have a tendency to lose focus? Fortunately, there are several ways to rectify this issue, and using reminders is one of them.
Oftentimes, people search for complex solutions to help them stay on track when in reality all they have to do is get good at using simple reminders.
These reminders can help you live a happier and more stress-free life.
The following are simple yet powerful reminders that you should think about implementing, especially if life is throwing little doses of difficulty and stress:
Reminder 1: Proactively Cultivate Feelings of Happiness
You have to focus on being happy because it’s not an automatic feeling. The feeling of happiness must be cultivated on a daily basis. Most of us are overwhelmed by things such as debt, bills, jobs we don’t like, the laundry list of home chores, family life, and the list goes on. With all of those moving parts competing for your attention, being happy usually takes a back seat.
It is your choice whether you want to remain stressed or work on being in a happy state of mind.
Proactively cultivating feelings of happiness is important to help you combat stress during those life events that may be out of your control.
Of course, at times, putting yourself in a happy state of mind can be easier said than done, but it’ll become second nature the more your practice.
Reminder 2: Use Failure as a Learning Tool
Failures should be viewed as teachable moments because the best lessons are learned from some of the worst mistakes and darkest hours in life.
Use failure as a reminder that the quicker you accept it and learn the lesson, the faster you can solve the problem and move on.
This approach in and of itself can help you reduce your stress levels drastically.
Remind yourself that failure is a natural part of any process, no matter what you’re doing.
Think of failure as history, which tells you what doesn’t work and how you should proceed in the future to get to your desired end results.
Remember, with the right mindset, you can turn your so-called “failures” into your greatest successes.
Reminder 3: Confidence Can Get You to Your Destination
Confidence reminds you that no matter what obstacles you face you’ll remain patient, determined, and will continue putting forth the effort to succeed.
The more confident you are, usually the better decisions you’ll make.
Confident people usually control their stress levels better, because they understand in advance that they’ll be able to survive setbacks and challenges.
They don’t view failure as the end of the world and are optimistic about their future.
Less confident people react to every negative situation as if it was a crisis, which causes them to stress more.
So, remind yourself that being and staying confident is one of the keys to reducing your stress levels, which can help your get to your destinations.
Reminder 4: Replace Negative Thoughts
Another way to overcome stress is to get rid of negative thoughts and behaviors by replacing them with positives ones.
Now, this won’t happen overnight.
You’ll have to cultivate this habit over time, and the best time to remind yourself is during those stressful periods in your life.
Of course, thinking positive all by itself is not good enough, you have to take action towards getting rid of the things that are causing you stress.
Reminder 5: Your Past Doesn’t Have To Equal Your Future
While it may be true that your present is a result of your past actions, you can make the decision to do your best to change your future by changing what you do today.
If you do that, your new future can end up shining a lot brighter, thereby making a negative past almost irrelevant, but not forgotten, because ignoring history makes you susceptible to repeating it.
When you’re stressed, remind yourself that your past doesn’t have to equal your future if you work on making the present and future better.
Reminder 6: Not Getting What You Want Could Be A Blessing
Have you ever heard someone say that not getting or achieving something is a blessing in disguise?
For example; let’s say that you didn’t get that job you interviewed for; a friend may tell you that you’ll get a better-paying position at some other company.
Your friend may be telling you that the job you didn’t get may have not been a good fit or you could’ve ended up being unhappy with the work environment.
The next time you feel disappointed because something you were counting on didn’t work out, remind yourself that when one door closes, another opens to better opportunities.
This way of thinking, when practiced consistently, could almost immediately reduce your stress levels.
Leaning On Your Support Network
When you’re going through stressful situations in your life, you shouldn’t go it alone. Reach out to your close family and friends and ask them for advice.
Be certain to only reach out to people whom you respect and truly trust, otherwise, you’ll be spreading your personal business.
The last thing that you need is for untrustworthy people to spread gossip, which will only make matters worse and increase your stress levels.
If you’ll deal with a negative situation with which one of your trusted family members or friends have experience, reach out to them to get advice on how they handled it.
You can do fun activities with family, friends, and colleagues that can help you to relax and melt the stress away.
You must have great relationships with the people in your support network in order to lean on them in your time of need.
Otherwise, they’re going to view you as a person who only contacts them when you want something, and may even label you as a “User.”
The best way to develop relationships is to stay in contact and this is pretty easy to do nowadays with all the communication technologies we have at our disposal.
Technologies such as text messaging, phone calls, email, video chat, social media, and even postal mail.
There’s no excuse not to stay in contact with the people you care about, even if it’s a quick text message to say hello.
Having a support system makes you feel less isolated, judged and lonely, comforted, secure, a sense of control, empowered, improves coping skills, the option to speak honestly and openly about your feelings, and lastly reduces anxiety and stress.
Stress affects people differently and there are several ways you can use to quickly calm down during these intense periods of time.
Have you ever been suddenly blindsided and overwhelmed by stress?
You most likely have.
Here are proven ways to help you regain calmness during stressful situations…
Take a Walk
Believe it or not, walking is actually a great way to burn extra calories and relieve stress. As a matter of fact, exercising, in general, helps tremendously in blowing off steam and releases endorphins.
Walking can help you clear your mind and provide you with a new perspective for resolving the issue that caused you to feel stressed in the first place.
Take a stroll with someone from your support system, because doing so will allow you to ask for advice and at the same time vent your frustrations.
Taking Deep Breaths
We already discussed the benefits of performing breathing exercises. As part of embracing the calmness mentality, taking deep breaths is essential.
Doing breathing exercises when you feel trapped within stressful situations can help you feel better.
Taking in more oxygen and releasing tension are just a couple of the many benefits of doing breathing exercises.
Taking Mental Breaks
No matter how busy you are, be certain to carve out at least a couple of times during the day to mentally escape your stressful environment.
Doing so provides you with time to visualize being in a happy place, which can reduce stress and give you peace of mind.
Engaging in activities that give you pleasure is an excellent way to reduce your stress levels. You can find a new hobby, read, paint a masterpiece, play your favorite sport, listen to music, go fishing, watch a movie, and the list goes on.
Stay On Course With Affirmations
According to Wikipedia, Affirmations in New Thought and New Age terminology refer primarily to the practice of positive thinking and self-empowerment—fostering a belief that "a positive mental attitude supported by affirmations will achieve success in anything
Using positive affirmations can help calm you down, reduce tension and stress in your body.
Affirmations are positive and are specific statements that can help you overcome, stressful and self-sabotaging thoughts.
They help you visualize what you affirm to yourself such as making significant changes in your life.
Following are the affirmations you can use in breaking free from stress:
- I will let go of my tensions and stress.
- I will live a life that is stress-free.
- I will live a life that is more balanced.
- I will find easy ways to let go of my worries and fear.
- My mind is becoming clear and calm.
- Every day becomes more satisfying and peaceful.
- I’m at peace even if life gets complicated and crazy.
- I feel relaxed.
- I live a healthy lifestyle.
- I’m in strict control of my stress levels.
Affirmations can also help you increase your personal power and awaken your mind to where there are opportunities for positive change.
Affirmations are an excellent tool in transforming negative emotions and thoughts into positive ones. It is therefore highly significant to use affirmations to overcome stress and stay on course.
Studies proved that using affirmations is effective not just in reducing stress levels, but also in treating individuals suffering from depression, low self-esteem, and other mental conditions.
Living a stress-free life doesn’t happen automatically, you must be proactive by implementing as many techniques as possible on a daily basis.
In reality, there’s no such thing as living a life with no stress, there’s only stress management.
People who master stress management give the illusion of being stress-free; because they’ve disciplined themselves to respond instead of reacting to negative situations.
Mastering stress management is as close to living a stress-free life as you can get, which is still a great goal to strive for.
You’ll more oftentimes than not be in a great mood as a result.
The best way to reduce your stress level is to combine mental and physical methods.
In the beginning, we asked if you’re so stressed out that it’s starting to negatively affect your health and the quality of your life, and do you wake up some mornings not wanting to get out of bed because you feel depressed and unmotivated?
If this describes you, then we recommend that you apply some of the methods you’ve learned today so that you can begin taking control of your mental health by getting rid of stress!