Stress is one of the most prevalent and damaging factors in our modern lives. Eventually we will all reach our “breaking point” and how we handle that situation determines the quality of our lives. Each person’s situation is unique but there are enough common traits for me to provide some guidance on how to manage stress better.
I try to exercise (in the gym) at least 3 times a wekk. I find that exercise has a natural calming effect and research shows that a good workout releases a bunch of beneficial hormones.
The important point here is to do something you enjoy. For me this is putting on my headphones, pumping out good energizing music and giving it my 100%.
A great complement to exercise is getting enough high quality sleep. Continually missing out on good sleep means you become more irritable and short tempered. Even normal problems can seem huge and insurmountable when you are tired. Lack of sleep also leads many to making sub-optimal decisions so make sure you plan for enough sleep. Each person’s requirements are unique so it is important to listen to your body and determine what you really need.
Go with the punches
Years ago I participated to an Anthony Robbins seminar and one of the most powerful statements he made was “It’s not what happens to you that makes the difference. It’s how you react to what happens to you.” Many people go through life with strict requirements of how things should unfold and they get stressed or disappointed when life takes a slight detour. Life is life and accepting that it doesn’t always go as planned will be very liberating. When you are stuck in traffic on your way home, instead of cursing, use the time to listen to a radio program you like or listen to the audio version of a book you have wanted to read.
Remember that getting stressed out won’t change the situation and will only reduce your ability to properly handle the situation.
You are important
With all of the responsibilities we are all expected to deal with, it is easy to forget about yourself. It is important to find time to do something you enjoy. In my case, exercising is a good stress reducer AND is time to myself. I am alone on my thoughts, listening to music and the only worry I have is how much more I will be able to push myself. Some people needs alone time and prefer to read, draw, sing or dance. It doesn’t really matter. Make time to do something you enjoy. You time.
For the last couple of years, I have been practicing Qigong meditation but often go long stretches without practicing (because life gets in the way). When I do meditate, I feel much more relaxed and in control.
A Tai Chi expert and friend once said the most beneficial way to meditate is for 100 consecutive days. He said it doesn’t matter whether you meditate for 5 minutes or 3 hours as long as you meditate every day for 100 days. I have done this in the past and found it truly life changing.
Most people I interact with don’t know how to mediate and don’t know where to start. My wife practices Vipassana Meditation and I do Qigong Meditation. Everybody is different and each person needs to find their own style. Find the method that works best for you. You can call up local mediation clubs and try some of their sessions, watch meditation videos or read books.
If you want a fast food type method for quick mediation, take a look at Paraliminal audio technology from Learning Strategies corporation or the Holosync mediation program from Centerpointe Research (the granddaddy of audio aided meditation.)