According to the American Psychological Association, a majority of Americans experience a high degree of stress (https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2012/full-report.pdf).
More than half of it is work-related. The disturbing news is that most of these are not even diagnosed and hence are not treated.(http://journals.lww.com/psychosomaticmedicine/pages/results.aspx?txtkeywords=Stress).
Here are 7 ways you can reduce stress. These are based on scientific studies and the advice of experts.
1. Live the moment – one task at a time.
Look around you. Everyone seems to be in a hurry. Multi-tasking (even while driving) is the norm.
Slow down. Breathe deeply. Prioritize. Stick to one task at a time. Take a 7-minute break every hour.
Remember: Results are more important than the time it takes to achieve them.
2. Accept what you cannot control.
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr
An earthquake hits some part of the world. A tsunami strikes another part. War rages in yet another. Do you have control over these? Probably not.
You do have control over how you use your time. You do have control over how you treat your loved ones. You do have control over your food habits, exercise, and trying to be helpful.
Most important, with each experience, understand what you can control and what you cannot.
3. Accept people just the way they are and smile.
Face it. We live in an imperfect world. Every time we point a finger at someone, remember that at least three fingers are pointed at ourselves. Learn from history. In 10000 years of recorded history, you cannot come up with one instance when blaming someone has solved a problem.
4. Take a Walk.
A 10-minute walk can do wonders to your body and to your mind. Further, it gives you something new to look at and will stimulate the production of positive chemicals. Your body is the greatest instrument you own. Use it in ways that your creator (or nature) meant it to be and see the stress running away from you.
5. Track what is going well and be grateful.
Very often, we feel miserable thinking of what might be. Instead, try being grateful for what is. Watch the difference.
6. Purge untrue thoughts.
Learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be. Behind every stressful feeling is an untrue thought. Get rid of it. Before the thought, you were not suffering. After the thought, suffering began. The moment you realize the thought isn’t true, the stress just disappears.
7. Live your life.
Stop comparing yourself with anyone. Although 98% of our genes may be the same, the 2% makes each of us unique. That is true even of twins.
Be yourself. Don’t try to live someone else’s life.
May you be blessed with happiness and peace.
Caution: These are not meant to be substitutes for obtaining appropriate counseling if you are experiencing severe symptoms of stress.