Your guide to living a stress-free life

July 28, 2015

Some days it seems as if life throws stress at you from all directions. It can drain your energy, destroy your good mood and challenge your outlook. Yet stress can be easily managed with a few tricks.

Your guide to living a stress-free life

Embrace the number one truth about stress: only you create it

  • Stress isn't defined as a large workload, a difficult child or a rise in terrorism. Stress is your physical and mental reaction to these external stimuli.
  • Consider the saying about alcoholism – that admitting to being an alcoholic is more than 50 per cent of the cure.
  • The same is true for stress: embracing the fact that stress is your reaction to external stimuli – and not the stimuli themselves – is half the battle towards managing it.
  • You can't change a crazy world. But you can learn to handle it with humour, humility and hope.
  • So it should come as no surprise that virtually every stress-relief method, including the two that follow, is about how to improve your reaction to external factors.

Don't take the bait

  • If you really wanted to, you could spend your entire life angry at the world – at rude salespeople, bad bosses, crazy drivers, self-serving politicians, the rising cost of food. Happy, low-stress people choose not to get angry.
  • Practice this: the next time someone does something that could – maybe even should – anger you, smile instead and say to yourself, "I'm not going to take the bait." And if you suddenly find yourself on the receiving end of aggression, don't automatically respond with the same.
  • Take a breath, pause, then respond calmly and honestly, without undue defensiveness. If the other person won't engage constructively, smile and excuse yourself, with the message that you'll be happy to discuss the issue when the person regains his or her reason.

Designate one person to whom you can vent your frustrations

  • Complaining widely about your work or family frustrations is not a healthy hobby to have – not only does it keep you in a negative frame of mind, but it's not very good for your professional or personal relationships either.
  • The solution: designate one trustworthy friend or family member to be your confidant. Someone who is discreet and knows just to listen and not to attempt to solve all of your problems.
  • Use that person to listen as you openly voice your stresses and how they are affecting you. Then, to the rest of the world, present yourself as positive and in control.
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