By changing your daily habits, you can eliminate stress, improving your quality of life substantially. From cutting out negativity and practising gratitude, these tips are sure to make a positive impact.
Prevention is better than a cure when it comes to stress – rather than scrambling to find the best way to manage symptoms of stress, it’s much more effective to prevent avoidable stresses. While it’s impossible to completely remove stress from your life, you can learn to eliminate many of the sources by making some small but effective lifestyle changes. We’ve rounded up 7 easy ways to help you drastically reduce the stress in your life.
Identify Your Triggers
The first step to managing your stress is to find out exactly what is causing it. Learn to recognise your triggers by recording your reactions and the events leading up to it. While it’s common to get anxious over certain situations – for instance, if you’re running late to work or are gearing up for a big presentation – some anxiety triggers are subtle and can easily go unnoticed if we’re not careful, which is why it’s important to figure out exactly what is bothering you. After coming up a list of your top triggers, you can start to work on eliminating these stresses from your life or to learn to change your reactions to them.
Cut Out Negativity
Sometimes, the best way to eliminate stress is simply by cutting out the root of your stress from your life, whether it be toxic relationships, unhealthy habits or self-destructive thoughts. Removing things that are contributing to your stress can help you achieve peace and introduce positivity into your life. Keep an eye out for those who bring toxicity into your life – take an honest look at the people in your life and decide which relationships are worth maintaining. Wean off habits that don’t bring value to your life and introduce healthy habits into your routine. When you find yourself thinking negatively, take a moment to focus on the positive. Making changes to your thoughts and surroundings is instrumental to stress management.
We often undervalue our own time, choosing to overcommit to others and saving little to no time for ourselves. Setting healthy boundaries plays a crucial role in your mental wellbeing by letting you focus on your own emotional, psychological, and physical needs rather than the needs of others. If you’re constantly finding yourself feeling overwhelmed by your obligations, whether it be in a romantic relationship, at work with colleagues, or with family or friends, it’s high time for you to commit to setting – and maintaining – firm boundaries with the people in your life. Learning to say no to others and learning to leave self-nurturing downtime for yourself can help relieve stress by reducing your workload, helping you to manage your time more efficiently and allowing you to pay attention to the things most important to you.
It’s easy to find yourself stressing out over negative situations in your life. One of the simplest ways to introduce positivity into your life is by learning to feel thankful for what you have. Practising gratitude can reshape your mindset in a positive way by helping you focus on appreciating the things already in your life, rather than feeling unsatisfied and constantly hoping for something new. In fact, studies have shown that practising gratitude can lead to numerous benefits, such as alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression and sharpening brain function, as well as improving relationships and boosting your overall happiness levels. Whenever you catch yourself fixating on a stressful situation in your life, such as an argument with a friend, try to think of the parts of the friendship that you are grateful for.
According to the Association for Psychological Science, those who are prone to procrastination tend to have higher levels of stress and lower well-being. Procrastination is one of the biggest contributors to stress – when you constantly put off important tasks, your stress levels can skyrocket, which can further distract you from completing the tasks at hand, thereby causing more stress. This makes it easy to fall into the ‘procrastination accumulation effect’, a vicious cycle that leaves you feeling even more overwhelmed. To help get out of this harmful cycle, try adopting a ‘do-it-now’ habit and work on your most important tasks first.
Research from Princeton University found that individuals experienced decreased performance and increased stress when surrounded by physical clutter. A cluttered environment can translate into a cluttered mind, and may in turn negatively affect your mood, which is why it can be helpful to put extra time into cleaning up your surroundings. Setting aside 15 – 20 minutes at the end of each day to declutter your surrounding areas is a manageable way to remove a subtle – but significant! – energy drain from your life. Making sure your surroundings stay clutter-free can help to relieve unnecessary tension and can even lead to higher focus and productivity, making it a safe, stress-free place to relax and unwind.
Mindful meditation refers to the practice of slowing down your thoughts, releasing feelings of negativity and achieving inner peace. Studies have shown that practising intermittent meditation during the day can help to relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety, as well as stimulate focus and improve sleep. Having long been hailed as a way to improve both your mental and physical health, meditation techniques vary but generally involves deep breathing, muscle relaxation and self-awareness. As it may be difficult to get started – especially if you find yourself having to set aside extra time and effort to meditate, you can begin by allocating small moments for meditation into your existing routine. Once you get used to meditating daily, you can start to extend your sessions.