Removing Unnecessary Stress
While we are learning to cope with the stress we know we’ll encounter on a daily basis, we can also work on reducing the actual amount of stress we experience in our lives by eliminating known, unnecessary stressors.You might not be able to ditch that demanding boss or make your mortgage magically disappear, but we can make little changes in our lives that reduce our overall stress load.
Here are a few changes to consider:
Reduce external stimuli
Do you find yourself getting agitated when you’re trying to work in a noisy room? Do you always have music, the radio, the television on in the background? Is there a light on that’s bothering you? Eliminating this external stimuli is a subtle change, but can make a big difference in our overall stress level. If you can’t totally eliminate noise, consider buying an inexpensive pair of earplugs or noise cancelling headphones.
Leave your phone in another room
The human brain wasn’t meant to be constantly scrolling, taking in new information at a quick clip. Every notification, ding, or ad that pops up while you’re using your phone slowly drains your internal battery. Smartphones are also highly addictive—we're constantly checking to see if there’s something new happening, and it can have a negative effect on our productivity. And if you’re sleeping with your phone by your bed so it’s the last thing you see at night and the first thing you see in the morning, that’s even more harmful. Consider a good, old fashioned, analogue alarm clock.
Media and social media consumption
While we’re discussing technology, social media and news consumption can have a massive impact on our stress levels. While there’s a balance to be struck between being informed and connected with your communities, many experts agree that these aparatusses have a net negative effect on our overall happiness. Set timers for yourself if you’re going to check social media, so you don’t get sucked into the scroll.
Much like background noise works subtly against our energy, so does clutter. You may not even be fully conscious of it, but it’s possible that a messy house or office is taking a toll on you. Have a clear, clutter-free workspace when you’re working, and tackle that closet that raises your blood pressure every time you open it. This has the added benefit of keeping your hands busy, something that is helpful in early alcohol-free living.
Replaying the past
We go deeper into shame resilience down the road (take a peek here if you’d like), but it’s important that we learn to not constantly replay the past in our minds. We can get stuck in a loop, wondering what we could have done or said differently, when there’s really nothing we can change about the past. Instead, we work through our experiences to be able to separate our past actions from our self-worth, make amends in the present if needed, and move forward.
Worrying about things outside your direct control
Just as we get stuck in the past, we can get tripped up by the future, too. Especially in our tumultuous world, it’s easy to get worked up by everything happening now and in the future. But the reality is, we likely have very little control over any of it. If we focus instead on the present, and the things directly in our orbit of control, we can negate a lot of unnecessary stress. Mindfulness and meditation is a good tool for bringing ourselves back to the here and now.