This little book helps you to develop a lifestyle that better fits what you would describe as your ‘perfect life’ With many goal setting ideas and life organization strategies, there’s something for everyone. At the very least, it offers a useful and entertaining read; used to the fullest, its many practical ideas can help you develop a happier and less stress-free lifestyle.
What’s more, if you’re busy, stressed and feel that it’s almost impossible to find quiet time to meditate every day, you’re in luck: you can learn to meditate anywhere you are, and get things done while you do it!
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Everyone experiences stress to some degree in their everyday lives. Stress cannot be totally eliminated from your life. You probably wouldn’t want to avoid all stress, anyway. That would mean that your life was pretty dull. Remember, some stress comes from happy events, such as graduation or going on vacation. A moderate amount of stress can give us more energy and motivation to succeed.
Beyond keeping life interesting and exciting, stress has several other benefits.
When you rehearse or prepare for a potential situation that may be stressful, such as a natural disaster, you are also educating yourself. Learning about disaster preparedness may not only reduce the stress you feel before and after the disaster occurs, but may also provide knowledge that will help you cope with day-to-day problems. The fight-or-flight reaction that takes over after a disaster can help you to help yourself and others.
Preparing for a disaster or doing something to reduce the risk of disaster gives you some control over the situation and can help reduce stress. When you survive disasters, you gain new feelings of confidence and of self-esteem; you have mastered a tremendous challenge.
A moderate amount of stress can help improve athletic performance. You need some stress or stimulation to do your best. A little stress can be useful, increasing your performance and efficiency. However, a lot of stress or continuous stress can lead to a bad performance.
Change can be stressful, but it can also be viewed as an opportunity. Change may help you improve the quality of your life by giving you new choices. When you deal with stress, you have an opportunity to re-evaluate your life, to set new goals and priorities, and to improve relationships. Stress can be beneficial, but only in a moderate amount, and only when you try to cope with it. You cannot eliminate all stress, but you can deal with it in many ways, and that is how you can improve your life.
You can look at stress and your efforts to cope with stress as a challenge and an opportunity. Successfully coping with stress can improve your self-esteem and competence. When you deal with your stress, you grow as a person. By using problem-solving skills and finding alternatives to stressful situations, you may find your life going in a new direction.
There are things you can do to avoid some stress, such as establishing good eating and sleeping patterns, getting organized and planning ahead, and communicating with family and friends.
There are many good reasons to make wise lifestyle choices. Eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising (all those things your parents, teachers, and doctors tell you to do) will help keep you physically healthy. These are also just the kinds of things that can help you to avoid stress, reduce stress, and cope with stress. If you are in good physical shape when you experience stress, your stress may have less negative effects on your body.
Establish good eating habits. Good eating habits include having a good breakfast every day. A good meal to start the day raises your energy level, so you are better prepared to face the stressors that may await you. During the day, eat regular meals that include fruits, vegetables, protein, and whole grains. Cut down on fats, salt, and sugar.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Eating or drinking products with caffeine, including chocolate, cola, and coffee, can make you feel stressed even when there is no reason for the stress. Caffeine can interfere with a restful sleep. Alcohol is a depressant, which means that even if at first it makes you feel better, it will eventually impair your ability to cope with stress.
Get enough sleep. When you are overtired, a problem may seem much bigger than it actually is. Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule, and get up about the same time every day, even on the weekends. This kind of routine is less stressful than not getting enough sleep during the week and then trying to catch up on the weekends.
Learn relaxation techniques. To reduce stress, use relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, especially before a stressful event like giving a speech or taking a test. Regular exercise not only makes you feel better and look better, but it can also modify the way your body responds to stress. Your body can recover more quickly from the physical effects of stress if it is in good physical condition.
Learn problem-solving techniques. When you are under stress, or before a situation causes you stress, take time to understand the real problem and the best way to approach it. Consider more than one option.
Get organized. If you organize your activities and manage your time effectively, you will not only avoid a lot of stress, but you will also discover many other benefits. You are probably a busy person with many activities, including part-time classes or any other commitment. You may have a variety of responsibilities at home, including babysitting, cleaning, and helping out with meals. When you have many activities, you can become overwhelmed, which can cause stress. If you try to do everything at once, you may actually accomplish very little, and that can cause even more stress.
Set priorities. Instead of trying to do all your activities in too little time, pace yourself and do one task at a time. List your activities in order of importance, and do the most important ones first. If you have a task that can be completed quickly, you might do that one first to give yourself a morale boost. If one task is overwhelming by itself, try to break it up into parts; for instance, you may not be able to wash all of the windows in your apartment in one day, but you may be able to wash all of the front windows and get the back ones done in a day or two.
If you need assistance with a difficult assignment, don’t hesitate to ask for help. You will not only find your work easier, which helps reduce stress, but you will enjoy the support of another person.
Leave some unscheduled time in your work for interruptions or emergencies, as well as time for relaxation or exercise; remember, they are stress fighters. Don’t forget to mix in some fun activities with your more serious obligations.
When you are striving to cope with stress, two factors are important: You need warm and supportive relationships with family and friends, and you need to talk. However, when you are under stress, whether it’s from a disaster or other problems, you may not want to talk to anyone or be with anyone. You need to recognize the benefits of talking to family and friends.
Just expressing feelings helps to reduce stress. Through talking, you learn that you are not alone, that you don’t have to solve every problem by yourself. You discover that others have faced similar problems and survived. You can compare with others your responses to a stressful situation and know that you’re not abnormal. Talking with others is also a positive action; you are reaching out to others rather than withdrawing.
Ideally, when you have stress, your home is the place where you can talk and where you find emotional support and encouragement. If you cannot talk to your parent or to siblings, try talking to a counselor, clergy person, neighbor, or another relative. Share your worries with someone you trust and respect.
During times of stress, you should be able to rely on your family and friends for emotional support. In fact, the caring and understanding of others can help reduce stress. People who care about you can help bring a sense of comfort and trust into your life. Uncertainty, lack of control and change create stress in your life. Those who give you support can offer you predictable behavior and shared values. This can help reduce some of the stress or even prevent it in the first place.
When you seek the support of those who care for you, or when you are offering your support to others, you need to communicate. By talking to others, you share your feelings and you learn about the feelings of others. Don’t assume you know what other people are thinking, and don’t assume they know how you feel unless you tell them.
Take time to talk with your family members each day. Schedule a regular time for talking— such as before bed or after dinner—and stick to it as much as possible. Keep the television and other distractions off while you talk.
Just by talking, you can:
• Let off steam. Before you can attack a problem, you need to calm down so you can think clearly.
• Clarify problems. Talking can sometimes help you focus on a problem. You can make choices and decisions. It can give you hope and ideas for action to help solve some of your problems.
• Share ideas. The person you are talking with may have some new ideas for you. He or she can listen to your thoughts and opinions and add to them or modify them. While talking, you may come up with some new solutions in your own mind.
• Get encouragement. You no longer have to feel as if you are dealing with your problems all by yourself. You are not alone.
• Put things in perspective. Another person’s point of view and experience may help you see your problems, and the stress that goes with them, in a different light.