8 Ways to Avoid Stress

Woman laying in grass

  1. Take some time to sit quietly and appreciate everything that you have. Happiness is not in having more physical wealth but having less wants.
  1. Stop trying to change things that are beyond your control. Sometimes stress comes from not being able to alter those things outside of our control but trying to anyway. Stop that. You’re just going against the grain and you’re not going to win.
  1. Forgive yourself. If you make a mistake, get back up and forgive the less mature version of yourself who made it. Peace cannot exist around you if it does not first exist inside of you.
  1. Forgive those who hurt you the most. After you forgive yourself, forgive others. Instead of seeing what they did to cause you hurt, try and see them through the eyes of mercy. Sometimes people have been hurt and they pass that hurt on, try to see that. Look at them with the eyes of love instead of revenge. Excess pain is just baggage and in the words of Toni Morrison, “If you wanna fly, you gotta give up the stuff that weighs you down.”
  1. Learn to create balance in your life. Being busy is no excuse for surrendering your peace. We like to use the “I’m too busy” for everything but it just ends up being an excuse. Take breaks. Go on vacation. Date. Take some time to actually smell the flowers. In the words of Lena Horne, “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
  1. In times of pressure, seek to be calm and centered instead of frustrated and angry. The calm person is the most productive person and makes the best decisions. Quick story. When I returned from a road trip last month, I thought I lost my USB or better yet, left it in Chicago, a 13 hour away drive from home. Upon realization that I’d lost the drive with all of my files and manuscript revisions (which I’d unwisely not saved anywhere else), I was actually too tired to worry about it! I literally put my worrying off. My exact words were, “I don’t have the energy to worry about this right now.” I didn’t even look for the drive. A few days went by and I knew that at some point I had to try and find it. Those things on that drive were very important after all. On the third or fourth day, I sat down in my chair and searched the place I last remembered it and found it. Just like that. By choosing to be calm and not worry instead of frenzied and out of control, I was capable of thinking clearly about where I’d last had it. I also learned a very valuable lesson. In remembering everything has a purpose, I understood that I should never save important files in just one spot.
  1. Don’t compare yourself to others, it’s the easiest way to fail. It is also the easiest way to cling to your fears. Sometimes you can be so sure something is for you until you look at how others are doing it, saying it, or have done or said it. Own what you know to be true and perfect being you. People don’t want to see how you can do something the same as others are doing it. They wanna see how you can do it differently.
  1. Speaking of comparisons, be true to yourself. Stop worrying about being accepted by others. This too can cause unnecessary stresses. Don’t dilute your light for something superficial. The light bulb may shine bright now, but it is in no comparison to the sun.
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