Countless articles, talks and courses are out there on how to reduce stress. I’ve listened to those relaxing music stations before and they actually increase my stress levels. If you’re like me, music with energy is what helps me to relax. Maybe I’m weirder than people tell me I already am? Keep reading and you can decide for yourself.
Over time, stress can actually kill you. No doubt my life will be a few years shorter because of it. (Hopefully the ones where I can’t remember my name and stare out a window all day). But, I’m trying to fix that and maybe, just maybe, I’ll make up for it now that I’m on a smarter track.
You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour. – Zen proverb
Exercise and Meditation… I know, I know
Let’s get this out of the way. You know that exercise and meditation will have a huge impact on your stress levels as well as your ability to manage stress… and you should do both. If you have never meditated, click here to listen to a free fifteen-minute consciousness exercise with my dad.
If you missed the gym yesterday, making it two years since your last workout, check out The 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferris or his Geek-to-Freak exercises. There is time in your day to exercise. You just need to make time for it.
But even with exercise and meditation, there are times when you’re stressed and you need a solution. Here are some great tips that you won’t find everywhere else:
Every day you will encounter people that waste your time by being inconsiderate, unaware or simply unable to fulfill their duty as a decent human being. “Stupid” costs trillions of dollars in wasted time every year though it is a cost that I have yet to see quantified by an economist. (It should be)!
To make life less stressful, say to yourself each morning, “I will encounter stupid people today that will frustrate me” and you will be less surprised when they find you. I have a very low tolerance for stoopid and expecting it makes the world a much more pleasant place to traverse.
It’s stressful to pretend to be someone you’re not. Most people have their ying and their yang, your Marilyn and your Manson, your work-self and your not-at-work-self… and that is okay. However, if you have to hide something about yourself, work to improve yourself so that you are happy with YOU. Be your authentic self and you will have less stress. And if you can’t be yourself, figure out if that is an issue with you or your environment.
Music with Energy
Whether Slipknot or the Gypsy Kings, try music that has some movement and energy. When I’m feeling stressed and turn on the “sounds of nature” I become increasingly agitated. I am a drummer and to this day drumming might be the world’s greatest stress reducer since it combines exercise with music. I don’t get the chance to drum as much these days and that’s something I am working to fix.
Become a Planner
This one is huge. Find a time every day to plan for the next day, week, month and year. This can be a two-minute exercise. Plan every Sunday night before the workweek to avoid the stress of surprises or forgotten deadlines. Planning is a huge stress reducer.
Several studies have shown that a short commute is a big factor in happiness and that you should have as short a commute as possible. You will save, time, money and the unfocused simpletons on the road. If a commute is unavoidable in the short-term, then use that time for the items mentioned in this article, such as planning or learning and self-improvement via any number of the awesome podcasts out there. If you have to take a train or other public transportation, make the best of it.
Get the Worm
To me, “on time” means being fifteen minutes early. Running late, whether to catch a flight or to arrive at a friend’s house for a casual dinner, is one of the most stressful things in the cosmos. Well, that and strangers who let their dogs sniff me. And when my toddler kicks me in the wiener schnitzel. Also going places in LA in a car. And noisy eaters. And shaking hands.
If you don’t like something, change it. You know someone who enjoys complaining because it gives them something to do, don’t you? If you don’t it might be you. In either case, delete them. If you have a situation that you do not like, such as a crappy job, delete it. Immediately.
If you take the time to remove some of the stress from your life via one of these approaches, let me know how it works. Best of all, the rewards can come as soon as tomorrow. Enjoy.
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Photo/Video Credit: STRESSED OUT by twenty one pilots / Fueled By Ramen