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May the world be kind to you, and may your own thoughts be gentle upon yourself. - Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Sunday, October 18, 2009

De-Stress Your Life - Reducing Stress

12 Ways to De-Stress Your Life
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Here are 12 ways to de-stress your life...

1. Get more physically active. If your doctor okay's strenuous activity, get out and work up a sweat. Digging in your garden for a few hours is a real stress-buster. Go for a hike in the woods, pick a steep hill. Remember what you used to love doing, or always wanted to do, and begin today. Dust off your old bike. Buy an inexpensive kayak and learn to paddle. Choose outdoor activities whenever you can. When you are limited by weather or time, choose aerobic dancing to compelling music that captures your whole being. Or just workout until you are tired. But whatever you choose, focus on your activity. Don't talk, watch TV, or think about anything except what you are doing at the instant.

2. Spend time alone in nature. Who can stress while walking barefoot on a lonely expanse of sand, watching the seabirds soar and dive, and listening to the waves break and the wind rustle through the beach grass. Combine physical activity with time spent alone in nature by hiking, paddling, or biking.

3. Release your attachments. Stress is caused by the fear that we will lose what we value. We stress because we fear that we will lose our health, our job, our home, our spouse or friends. We stress that we will have less tomorrow than we had yesterday.

By releasing your attachment to your possessions and your attachment to your relationships, you can eliminate most of the stress in your life. Make a daily practice of visualizing your life without those things you most value. Visualize yourself without a car, a computer, a cell phone, and recognize that those things do not define the true value of your life. If you are in a highly troubled relationship and fear that the other person may leave you, visualize your life without that person, and accept that your happiness in life comes from within, and not from any other person.

4. Simplify your life. Once you have released your attachments to your possessions, consider releasing those things physically as well. Search through your home for things you have not used in a year. Consider which of those items could be given away without loss to your happiness. Perhaps you want to ask yourself about the true value to your life of other possessions as well. What do you own that creates happiness and what creates stress? Would downsizing de-stress your life?

5. Reduce your obligations. Some people keep to themselves. Others thoroughly enjoy being president of their kid's school PTA and volunteering to drive seven girls to scout camp. But many others suffer with too many self-imposed obligations. If you don't enjoy a responsibility, and it isn't truly crucial, just say NO. Focus your volunteering on those activities that give you great joy and satisfaction.

6. Learn to love your job, or get a job you love. This idea for de-stressing your life is the most difficult one for many people. If your reaction is that you simply must continue with a job you hate for the sake of your family, think again. Your family loves and cherishes you for far more than the paycheck you bring home. If taking a different, more personally rewarding, job would make you a happier and more pleasant person, don't you think your family would appreciate the change? Turn the tables and ask yourself if you would want your spouse to work at a job they hated in order to bring home a few more dollars each week? Trust that they would make the same choice for you. Love and honor yourself enough to choose a career that brings satisfaction as well as a paycheck.

7. Begin a project you love. Give yourself a little time each day to work on something creative that you love doing and that makes you feel good about yourself. Knit a scarf. Play the piano. Take up woodcarving.

8. Know that you are not responsible for the whole world. If you are going to make a difference, take up a cause. Campaign for the candidate of your choice, volunteer in your local soup kitchen, write a big check to Doctors Without Borders. But then turn off the eleven o'clock news. Worrying about the state of the world, or the economy, or crime in your community, or the health of your Aunt Judy in Des Moines, or whether your adult child's marriage is going to fail, is a waste of your time and causes much unnecessary stress.

9. Give your time to others. It's hard to worry so much about yourself when you give your time to help those less fortunate. Consider becoming a community volunteer.

10. Forgive everyone, especially yourself, for everything that has ever been done or been left undone. Your anger and hatred hurt you. Forgiveness is the salve that removes the sting of past injuries. Resentments and regrets do not cure the past, but unconditional forgiveness does.

11. Have gratitude for everything that has ever happened or not happened. All of your life is part of a grand plan. You wouldn't be who you are today if you had missed out on any of your experiences.

12. View life as an adventure. Everything changes. The inherent nature of life is constant change. To fear change is to fear life itself. Once you accept that whatever you hate about your life will change soon, and that whatever you love about your life will also change, you can view all of life as the adventure that it is, and end your stress.

Further reading: Choose Your Habits, Choose Your Life - 5 Secrets For Breaking Your Bad Habits

What To Do When Your Whole World Is Falling Apart?

How To Stop Worrying By Using the Qigong Release Exercise

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