Relieving Stress

Do you feel overwhelmed by too many things to do? Have you noticed lately that you woke up early or in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep because your mind was racing? Or do you feel more irritable about minor things with your spouse or children? This sounds like too much stress in your life.

There are five effective ways to make life smooth again.

  1. Prioritize your tasks and projects. Listen inward and decide what is really, really important to you at this point in your life. Imagine how you would feel if you let go of one specific project or activity that does not seem as important as others do. If you experience a sense of relief, drop it for now. Continue in the same way with other projects until only the very important ones are left. Put the less important ones on a list of things to pursue when you have more time.
  2. First things first. You don’t have to approach all the remaining important projects at the same time. Think ahead at the start of a workday and begin with the tasks that are urgent or are going to get you into a time crunch. You can save time if you return phone calls as soon as possible after you received a message. There might be time left now to continue your day with the less urgent and more fulfilling or fun projects. Enjoy!
  3. Don’t go to bed with your worries. Take care of anything that worries you as soon as possible. (For example, call a medical professional for advice right away, if you are concerned about a health problem). Talk to a friend or spouse about it if you cannot take care of it soon. If neither one is possible, imagine a beautiful chest before you go to sleep. Imagine that you put all your worries and concerns into this chest, knowing that you can open it tomorrow morning when you are able to search for an answer or solution.
  4. Remember to breathe. Whenever you have a moment alone, such as in the car at a stop light, in the bathroom, or waiting for somebody to answer the phone, stop your thoughts, sense your body, and take three deep long breaths.
  5. Schedule "down time". During down time you do not feel responsible for any thing or anyone. You move from moment to moment, deciding spontaneously what you like or don’t like to do. There is no chore, task, or anything else you need to do during down time. You are "floating" through time. This can be shared with somebody you feel close to who wants to "float" with you. Ideally, you should have one full day per week available for down time. Even an hour here and there can do wonders.