There’s no doubt about it, life can often be plain stressful. More than ever before we’re distracted during the course of daily existence — with different ads, news stories, articles, work emails, productivity books, and social media updates all vying for some of our precious attention. Everyone from the local waste management company to the pet grooming business next door has something interesting to say.
In addition to all that, add in the more traditional concerns of job security, mortgage payments, and health concerns.
Surely life doesn’t have to be an eternal parade of stress and worry?
Of course it doesn’t. Here are a few simple suggestions for helping you to remove some of the stress from your life.
Take up mindfulness meditation
Much of the stress we experience in life ultimately comes down to not being engaged with the present. Instead, we regret or obsess over events from the past — which causes misery and depression — or we obsess and worry and fixate on events in the future, dreaming up terrible worst case scenarios — which causes anxiety and fear.
Mindfulness meditation is one of the most reliable and effective practices for anchoring ourselves to the present moment. It’s not about “stopping thoughts”, but rather about ignoring and detaching from the flow of thoughts and directing our attention to something more present and rooted.
This can be the breath, or the sounds of the world around us. In any event, a good mindfulness practice can give you the tools you need to come back to the moment whenever you need it.
Give minimalism a try
Minimalism has become a bit of a fad recently, with people taking it to often questionable extremes — such as owning only three items and them finding themselves in a crisis situation when they need a certain item they don’t have.
That’s a shame, because at its core, minimalism doesn’t have to be about extreme asceticism. Rather, the principle is to reduce the number of unnecessary things in your life so that you can enjoy greater peace of mind.
Unnecessary, in this case, means things that you neither have a strong emotional connection to, or get much, if any, use from.
By taking up a modest mindfulness practice, you might be amazed to find just how much mental space and calm you can develop by shifting some of your old clutter.
Get more sleep
For many of us, getting more sleep is far easier said than done. It’s worth making a sincere effort to achieve, in any case, as sleep is one of the most fundamental elements of our overall health and wellbeing, both physical and mental.
Simply put, if you’re sleeping enough and waking up feeling rested, you will be infinitely more positive about life — and be much more resistant to stress — than you would be if you were sleep deprived.
Spend less time on social media
Social media is a great resource in many ways, allowing us to keep in touch with friends and family who we might not often see, to share jokes with our circle during the workweek, and to coordinate future get-togethers.
At the same time, however, social media can feed status anxiety and the fear of missing out, through causing us to constantly compare our lived to those of our friends.
Spending a bit less time on social media is often a great idea.