Everyone feels the pressure of the daily grind, but when stress becomes an unbearable crutch in your life, something's got to give. The traits 'anxious', 'worried' and 'stressed' all seem to pop up when people describe themselves nowadays.
In fact, in January 2018, Forth gathered results from research based on a 2000-strong study group from across Great Britain from hugely diverse backgrounds, representing different age groups. According to the data, over a third (37%) of British residents feel stressed for at least one full day per week. That equates to four days in a month at minimum. However, it doesn’t end there – when taking into account the entire study group, Brits feel stressed for an average of nine days per month. Those who don’t feel stressed at all are very much in the minority, coming in at around 15% of all participants. That means that the remaining 85% are experiencing a clearly recognisable level of worry regularly (1).
What's more, stress affects everyone – so whether you're a master yogi or a cynical Sally, we can all benefit from decreasing the amount of stress in our lives and pump up the happiness factor. The good thing is that there are simple and mindful things you can try to keep in mind every day to introduce more love for yourself, while dealing with serious issues that seem to take control of your emotions.
How to feel less stressed every day
1. Declutter your life
The more plates you need to keep spinning, the harder it becomes to keep your cool. Simplify your life! You don’t have to keep up with the Jones’s – everyone has their own problems and issues they're dealing with, so remember, the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Focus on your own happiness and inner voice rather than the chit-chatter of others to help you manage stress.
2. Make some 'me' time
Even an hour is better than nothing for some quality stress relief. Prolonged sacrifice, does not make you stronger, it only makes you more prone to anger, depression and hypertension. Take a few minutes each morning when you wake up to focus on your breathing and make time for yourself, and watch the stress melt away.
3. Learn to say 'no'
Learn to become more assertive and communicate your personal boundaries to others, with confidence. Many people are concerned that if they disagree or refuse to do things, they will damage their relationships and people will dislike them.
However, inevitably over time, the resentment surfaces and emotional outbursts occur. These can damage perceptions of you and hurt the very relationships that you are scared of harming. Any new relationships are a perfect opportunity to express to others ‘what works for you’, and come to an agreement about the best way to collaborate and get the best out of you.
People don’t mind dealing with someone who has a ‘manual’, as long as there is room for some discussion and negotiation where necessary. An extra plus is that others will respect you more, and that my friends, is one route to total happiness – going in prepared and honest.
4. Drop your perfectionism
There are many downsides to perfectionism for you and others. Perfectionists typically don't delegate, rather they terrify themselves about failure and end up procrastinating and not being productive. In business, perfectionists tend to lose the most talented and creative subordinates, as they simply feel held back and lacking oxygen.
5. Don’t allow others to bully you
If you are in a working environment and are feeling targeted, raise the issue with the person, then HR. Don't be pushed into a corner – speak up and speak out and you will feel better for taking control of the issue and feel like you are beginning ot overcome your stresses in a work environment.
6. Don’t overwork
Psychological research demonstrates that the brain is only effective in terms of complex reasoning and analytical thinking for 5-6 hours a day. The Dutch are noted to be the world’s most productive workers and are also in the top 5 in terms of happiness. They typically arrive at work at 8:30 and by 5:30, even the most senior managers are out of the door. They generally devote their copious free time to being with family and friends, hobbies and health-giving activities, such as long cycle rides. This kind of lifestyle is sure to boost happiness naturally in your life.
7. So buy a bike!
A leisurely tour around town is one of life’s greatest pleasures and one of the best natural and inexpensive ways to reduce stress. There are natural havens all around us – that is a free ticket to the promotion of happiness in our lives.
8. Don’t skip out on sleep
Lack of sleep is disastrous for decision-making and concentration, so do yourself a favour a try to get a good night's sleep regularly to avoid feeling stressed all the time.
9. Have sex
Research findings support the importance of an active sex life for cardio vascular functioning, lowering blood pressure and inducing feelings of flow and contentment (2). 'Happy hormones' are released when being intimate with a partner so it's a great natural way to reduce stress in your life.
10. Spend time outdoors
More and more we are discovering the vital link between nature, being outdoors and feelings of health, happiness and vitality, and resilience. So take a walk and enjoy the fresh air.
Start focussing on yourself and practice these top health tips for beating stress and start your happiness journey today.
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1. Forth: https://www.forthwithlife.co.uk/blog/great-britain-and-stress/
2. US Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5120618/