We tend to think of stress as all bad, but it’s not. Without stress, we wouldn’t get anything done, and if you’re pushing your life forward, getting things done and achieving your goals, stress will always be part of that.
Stress is a fixed and healthy part of our lives, and there’s no point in trying to fight it or get rid of it. Instead, we need to make stress work for us by managing it better.
Here are ten ways you can manage your stress and make it work for you.
1. Build a ‘stress wall’
Throughout the day you’re going to get stressful thoughts attacking you. When the next one tries to get to you, imagine it bouncing off a big impenetrable wall in your mind. Keep that wall up until you’re ready to deal with the problem, and imagine all the further stressful thoughts continuing to bounce off it. When you stop allowing stressful thoughts to permeate your mind, you’ll be able to manage stress a lot more effectively.
2. Stop living in the world of what if…
When we’re stressed, we live in the world of what if… What if this happens?... What if I can’t do that?... What if I make a fool out of myself?... Most of these worrying thoughts never happen, and they’re only getting in your way. Stop living in the world of what if… and start living in the land of the real. So what if something doesn’t go quite right? You’ve just learned something new, and there is always value in that. Don’t be afraid to take a chance.
3. Avoid toxic people
Dealing with negative people is going to be as inevitable as dealing with stress. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer in silence. Move on from the negative and toxic people in your life, and focus on positive people – people heading in the same direction as you.
4. Make money work for you
There’s no getting around the fact that money worries are way up there when it comes to our stress levels. We’re born to believe we should work for money, so we constantly chase it. This is the wrong way to look at it. We should be aiming to make money work for us. Passive income is your ticket to less stress, and you can find out how to make passive income work for you in my book. You’ll also discover that it’s not money that should be your focus – it’s the lifestyle.
5. Learn to let go
If you have a heavy workload, money worries, or relationship and family problems (like most of us do), it makes you feel out of control. Feeling out of control causes stress. The more we fight to control a situation the more stressed it makes us. Accept that it’s not possible to control every situation in life. Unclench your fists, lower your shoulders and stop screwing up your face. Take a breath and let it go - for instant stress relief.
6. Set a deadline
Parkinson’s law says ‘work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion’. In other words, if you set a deadline you’re 100% more likely to get a task done within that timescale. By not having a deadline, you’re risking living a life filled with unfinished business. That’s only going to lead to one thing: stress! Set a deadline on every task that comes up in your life and watch how much more you get done. (With a lot less stress!)
7. Be present
Stress is usually related to our past and future – worrying about what we’ve done and what we need to do. Take a second to appreciate this moment, right now. The more often you can live in the present the less stressed you’re going to be. The past is over, and the future hasn’t happened yet. Are they really worth all that worry?
8. Focus on what you want
Whatever you focus on you’re going to get more of it – fact. Focus on being stressed, and there are no prizes for guessing what you’ll get in return. Try focusing on what it is you want, and you’ll naturally gravitate in that direction. Write down your wants (your targets and goals) right now, and make those your focus.
9. Be grateful
Lack of gratitude breeds stressful thoughts and feelings. Practice being grateful for what you have, rather than worrying about what you don’t have. Think about five things you can be grateful for right now. Take five every day and practice being more grateful. Gratitude is a real stress killer!
10. Know you can handle anything
Being stressed is a mindset, which means you have a choice. When you possess and reinforce the knowledge that you can handle anything that comes your way, you’ll feel more confident to deal with any situation and go after whatever it is you want.