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How to live a stress-free life

Stress is a common phenomena in our every day life; more so in "modern" societies. It can be caused by many things and can occur momentarily or be a constant hourly companion. This article will try and help you reduce the stress in your life.

What are the causes of stress?

Stress is almost always caused by worrying about the past or future. If you are not worried about them, you will not be stressed, as simple as that. Of course stress does occur momentarily, but that moment is soon gone and is in "the past". The first step towards having a stress-free life is to try and not think about the past or the future. This is easier said than done for most people. Think about it though, you cannot do anything about past events, so there is absolutely no point worrying or thinking about them. Many stress-free and successful individuals are so-called "forward-thinkers" who never think or worry about the past. Worrying about the future can to a certain extent be unavoidable. However, this can also be controlled. "Thinking" about the future is fine, "obsessing" about the future becomes a great cause of stress. The best advice for people who want stress-free lives is to live in the moment. If you have to journey to a past memory or think about a future event, make it a short trip!

Why are some people more stressed than others?

Do you ever wonder about this? Some people seem to sail through life with no hassles, whilst for others life is a constant struggle. Everyone's circumstances, history and social situation is different. There are however two distinct types of people. Firstly you get the natural worriers. These people have been brought up or brought themselves up to be worriers. They may have seen their parents do this or they may have just got themselves used to always worrying and stressing about every little thing. They almost feel incomplete if they do not have some kind of stress and worry in their life. Secondly, you get people who take stress as a normal part of life and deal with it quickly and just get on with it. These people either use stress as a trigger to achieve things or they just let the stressful moment pass and get on with other activities. The greatest difference between a stressed and an unstressed individual lies in the state of mind. Here's an example to demonstrate this point: Take two people who have a car, which is the pride and joy of their life. One day someone crashes into this car and writes it off. One will see this as a complete disaster, the loss of a loved one and may well be gripped by feelings of anxiety, stress, disaster and ruin. The other will see this as a material loss which can be replaced. After all they are unlikely to have the same car during their whole lifetime, so their beloved car is merely a vehicle out of many during their life. This is really it, just a difference in the state of mind. Now if the first individual could only change their state of mind to the second individual, they would have zero or little stress. You may ask whether this is possible? The answer is a definite yes. Tens of thousands of people change their lives, the way they think and the way they handle stress every day of their lives, why not you?

How to reduce stress?

Accepting that you can change your state of mind and wanting to do something about it is the first positive step you can take. Never believe that you are too old, too set in your ways, too aggressive, too weak, too dependant and so on. By our very nature, we are capable of change in an instant – it is believing that this can happen which is the important part. A very good start would be to have a mentor. Look at someone around you who seems to lead a stress-free life. See how they deal with daily situations and try and imitate them. Ask them how they do things, how they think and try and put yourself in their shoes. The following are all positive steps you can take to reduce stress further:

  • Avoid avoidable stressful situations - Think of yourself and your own wellbeing

  • Give yourself some free time every day and do something for "you" – This could be just relaxing in the park or sitting in a quiet room.

  • Exercise- Exercising is one of the best ways of reducing stress and releasing anti-stress hormones.

  • Meditate – Meditation and deep-breathing exercises are very beneficial for leading a stress-free life. Join a Yoga class if you can.

  • Get out of your pattern – If you find yourself continuously being stressed by certain events, get yourself out of them. This is often a physical removal. If you are having the same arguments every night with your spouse without getting anywhere, stop it. Go out for a walk – give it a break.

  • Don't neglect nutrition – Make sure you have a balanced diet. Many foods contain anti-stress vitamins and minerals, which naturally reduce stress and anxiety. Foods containing B-Vitamins are especially good. Carbohydrates give you energy, which you need to deal with life. Many of the foods we eat are stripped of their natural goodness, try and eat organic if your budget allows and stick to nature – do not microwave food.

  • Have a hobby – Don't have a one-dimensional life. Try and enjoy life as much as you can. Remember that when you are old, you cannot turn back the time. Picture yourself in old age and try and live your life having done as much as you can. Hobbies often reduce stress and add a pleasurable aspect to one's life.

  • Get out of vicious cycles before it's too late – As human beings, we often don't make decisions until the "last straw". Until this last straw, we are often stressed and our bodies in total chaos. If you are finding yourself in a situation which is just not getting any better, try and get yourself out of it. Remember the very important saying "if you keep doing the same thing, you will keep getting the same results."

  • Try complementary medicine – Things such as Reflexology, Accupuncture/Pressure, Shiatsu, aromatherapy etc can be very good for your body.

There you have it. Stress really is almost always a state of mind. Yes there are outside triggers for stress, but it is how you deal with it that decides how stressed you get and how stressed you stay. Decide, begin, persist and you will achieve a stress-free life.

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