Most of the stress we experience is self-inflicted. We can’t do much to change the weather, we will still have the same twenty-four hours in a day and bills will still need to be paid. However, by making a few small changes to our outlook, combined with some practical tweaks along the way, stress can be reduced significantly.
1. Get up an hour earlier. No, this isn’t sadistic suggestion number one! A bit of quiet time for reflection, meditation, a leisurely shower or bath can really help you to start the day on “slow, gentle and peaceful,” rather than, “hurried, rushed and late.”
2. Prioritise. Write a list at the start of each day, highlighting the key things you need to attend to. Accept that there will always be more things to do than you have time for, so tear your list in half and move the rest to the top of tomorrow’s list.
3. Learn to say “NO.” Be realistic and do not take on everything, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
4. Accept. There is no such thing as perfection and understand that the need for perfection is a losing battle that will only leave you feeling frustrated, stressed and dissatisfied.
5. Get active. Taking some regular exercise is a powerful way to reduce stress and it’s a great tonic for both mind and body.
6. Stop trying to be right. It really is OK to give in occasionally. Competing and battling all the time can be a major source of stress. Criticising and putting others down really will not make you feel better.
7. Slow down! Take time to relax. There are many tried and tested ways to reduce stress so try a few and see what works best for you.
8. Finally, at the end of the day, spend a few minutes “putting the day to rest.” Think back and make a note of all the little successes of the day. Don’t dwell on what went wrong but celebrate what went right.
Until next time, Steve.
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Steve Clifford Senior Accredited Integrative Psychotherapist. Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist.