Stress: 7 Steps to a Smarter Way of Living

Stress

Dealing with stress is simple, but it is not always easy. ~ www.jaywren.com

Life’s challenges create pressure.  I can’t always control the world around me.   However, I can reduce stress with my actions.  Here are seven things I do.

I Fight Procrastination.

I feel tremendous stress when I put things off.

Also, thinking about doing a large project from start to finish is often overwhelming.  To reduce stress, I break projects down into multiple, simple steps.

For example, when I am stuck and can’t write an article, I start with writing a title.  I might write one paragraph.  I save what I have written as a draft.   After a few days, I may not come back to work on this draft.  Sometimes, I never come back to finish the article.

That’s okay, because following this method gives me a start to every article I write.

I Write Things Down.

When something is bothering me, I can write it down.  Writing takes the sting out of stress.

If I have something that I need to do but can’t do now, I can write it down.  Having it on my calendar clears my mind for the things I need to do now.

Furthermore, having a plan of action helps me become more productive.  When I become more productive, I have a sense of accomplishment.  I feel less stress.

I Try to Eat Healthy Food First.

When hunger makes me anxious between meals, a snack cuts my anxiety until mealtime.

Although I try, I don’t always snack on the healthiest things.  I must make choices for my snacks.  One of my favorite snacks (not just for desserts!) is ice cream.  Also, I love chocolate-covered peanuts.  One of my favorite snacks is chips and salsa.  It looks like a healthy choice.

But sugary and starchy snacks make me hungrier.  From what I have read, the carbs in sugar and starch, when eaten alone, over stimulate the pancreas to produce a surge of insulin.  The excess insulin drops blood sugar so that I am hungry even though I have just eaten.

Therefore, I try to keep more satisfying snacks handy.  Nuts and peanut butter are calorically dense, but are low in net carbs.  A couple of tablespoons of peanut butter (190 calories, 7 grams of carbs) kills my appetite better than a cup of ice cream (220 calories, 28 grams of carbs).

A slice of Havarti cheese has 80 calories and zero grams of carbs.

I use MyFitnessPal to track my nutrition.  (This is not a paid endorsement.)

Furthermore, I am not a nutritionist, but low-carb, high-fat foods satiate my appetite.  You may find that the same thing works for you.

I Take Breaks!

Being tired creates stress.

No one can run wind sprints all day long.  Breaks make us more productive.  I find that working alone in a virtual office, I can easily forget to take breaks.

To remind myself to move each hour, I have notifications on my calendar to leave my desk and move around.  Simply walking for a few minutes reduces my feeling anxious.

I get plenty of sleep.

Not only do I take breaks. I try to get plenty of sleep.  Allowing my brain to rest enables me to make better decisions. Better decisions increase success and cut stress.

Note: Not taking breaks from work or not getting enough sleep creates stress that can lead to burnout.  We reach a point where overdoing our job cripples us in ways that we can no longer do our job.

I Try to Keep It Real.

It is so easy for me to want to control national or international events.  Thinking that I can control these things is completely fruitless and painfully stressful.

People in forums say things that annoy me.  Correcting them is pointless.  I can’t police the Internet!

Likewise, I can easily believe that I can change other people.  There are things that I can do that affect how other people react.  However, just changing my own behavior is not always easy.  Believing that I can change other people is often impractical.

Frustration over the things I can’t change creates stress.  I try to keep it real about the things that I can change and not change.

I Talk with Friends.

Just having friends helps me beat stress.  Talking to friends gets me out of my own head and into the present moment.  Furthermore, in talking with friends, I get practical information on dealing with challenges in my life, thereby increasing success and reducing stress.