Do you ever get the feeling like you are being carried along by circumstance, expectations and habit over the stress cliff and into the overwhelm pit? Have you recently looked around you with the sneaking suspicion that insanity rules the day? Well, desperate times require desperate measures. Here’s 10 radical steps to help you avoid going over the edge even though it seems that everyone around you is.
1) Take a good look around you. Check out everyone you know who is mega stressed out. See what they do. Hear what they say. Then try to do the opposite.
2) Do less. I saw a post on Facebook that said “Stop the glorification of busy.” There is no value in being busy just for busy’s sake. We have been hypnotized into believing that we must always be productive and always busy. You must ask yourself if this belief is one of the causes of your stress. If it is, change it.
3) Talk less. They say talk is cheap. The fact is, people cheapen talk by complaining, making empty promises, being inauthentic and talking just because they feel they should. Practice talking less and you will learn more and be less stressed. When you do talk, it will matter more.
4) Think less. Thinking is overrated. Your thoughts every day are pretty much the same thoughts you had yesterday. Most of these thoughts are judgments, beliefs and expectations. That doesn’t mean that they are true or accurate or helpful. You are not your thoughts. They are simply tools you have been given to help you navigate life. When you are building something, eventually you will put the hammer away. Try to do the same with thoughts of worry, fear, concern, regret, planning, figuring, judging. It is your thoughts that stress you out. Give it a break.
5) Don’t believe everything you think. You will think. That’s a given. That’s what the mind does. Trying not to think will get you nowhere but thinking will only get you so far. See your thoughts for what they are: the constant ongoing phenomena of the mind. Be open to the fact that much of it is programming from someone else. Question it.
6) Buy less. Most of what you think you need, you don’t. Buying stuff will make you feel good for a while, but when the newness wears off, you will need to go do it again. And again. Refuse to be owned and imprisoned by your stuff. That is a recipe for major stress and insanity.
7) Watch less television. Television is a distraction from your precious life. There is nothing television can offer you that you can’t get in a more meaningful, satisfying and fulfilling manner someplace else. The majority of stuff in the news is information that is useless to you. Most television programming is packaged an a way that keeps you watching for one reason only: to sell you something or influence your mind for someone else’s agenda. Unless you are being uplifted or inspired by television, it is simply a drug that does little to address your sources of stress.
8) Refuse to worship at the alter of instant gratification. Life is a process until it’s not. Most things take time. It takes time to create poor health, so it will take time to create good health. It takes time for a relationship to go south, it will take time to get it back on track. We are a results oriented culture, so when we do not get immediate results, we experience pain, frustration and stress. Instant gratification is often unsatisfying, unhealthy, and unsustainable. Learn patience.
9) Stop fighting your life. Stop fighting what stands all around you: your life. This is your path. It may not be what you want, but it is what you have. Right now in your life, there is wisdom, truth, and the opportunity for peace. We make ourselves insane and stressed by comparing ourselves to how we think it should be. My mentor once told me “Compare and despair.” Let go of who and how you think you should be and embrace who you are, now. Accept that it is what it is. Remember the serenity prayer: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Sometimes you will not have the serenity, nor the courage, nor the wisdom. Welcome to your humanity.
10) Be your own authority. The hypnosis of the culture – the predominant cultural mindset, can stress you by telling you that you are not rich enough, pretty enough, smart enough, sharp enough, cool enough, or tough enough. It will try to convince you that you must work more, work harder, work smarter, or not work at all. You will be subject to overt or covert suggestions as to what to buy, how to talk and how to live. You will be invited to hand responsibility for your life, your health and your happiness to someone else. But on your deathbed, you will have only yourself to answer to. Trust that you know what is best for you above anyone else and that you can figure it out. Take the information and advice that resonates with you into consideration, then look deep inside and listen so that you can choose powerfully and consciously how to life your life. It’s your life. Live it on your terms.