Life is increasingly hectic. Work deadlines, home maintenance, large and small family dramas, financial problems and health issues … all these components can make their body, physically and mentally feel their weight. In the past, the amount of stress I experienced daily was crippling. I had to find a solution or succumb to stress.
I can’t always control the stressful situations around me, but I can control how I react to them, and I can do my best to prepare myself for everything. Now, I follow a series of habits that have minimized my stress, solving most of my problems, improving the quality of my life.
And here are my simple secrets to combat and live my life without stress: try at least one, today, now.
1. What I want is not necessarily what I need.
By reducing my life to simpler terms, I managed to get rid of a lot of trash. I committed myself not to bring new (useless) things into my house. I had a hard time distinguishing between my needs and my needs … and this created unwanted stress in the form of disorder, credit card interests and large payments. My needs consisted of home loans, home services, transportation costs, insurance payments, clothes and food. It was all too easy to allocate too much funds to my personal entertainment expenses, excess travel and the purchase of non-essential luxury items.
Now, if I want to buy an object outside my immediate needs, I dedicate a reflection of at least 24 hours. I spend more time deciding on the relevant and potentially non-essential purchases, weighing the cost, the duration of the purchase, the financial commitment. I prefer to invest in a lower number of items but of higher quality needed for several years; Try to eliminate the rapid purchases determined by a fleeting moment of excitement.
2. Decrease your debt.
In the past, one of my biggest forms of stress has come in the form of financial debt, purchase credit. I talked to people who happened to receive a call to work from a creditor, and this is an event that can increase stress and anxiety levels up to 10 times, dramatically reducing productivity, thus putting at risk even working career. A debt can be due to medical bills, credit cards, loans for study purposes, mortgages, however the weight of the money you owe can be overwhelming … you have to check it.
Sometimes, all you need to do is find a plan and then start putting it into practice. Feeling stunned by my credit card reports, I collected all my bills and set up a financial plan to cancel my debt.
I started out making bigger payments for my smaller debt, my credit cards. After paying for these things, I felt more free, in full control of my finances, and able to face the biggest debt, such as my mortgage … it worked!
3. Put away resources for the worst days.
Life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes money seems to be abundant and available, and other times it is scarce. The old adage “Put away resources for the worst days”, refers to the financial valleys that almost all of us sooner or later have to travel: the car needs a new alternator or a tire change, the washing machine breaks or the boiler releases a loss. All things that increase your stress levels exponentially.
By saving a little money every month, I built an emergency fund, to manage the financial blows that come unexpected.
4. Get rid of the useless.
Clutter creates stress. When my house was messy, I didn’t want to invite anyone. It was embarrassing when people stopped and came to see me. And those house cleaning marathon sessions were getting tired of me. But the problem wasn’t that my house was dirty; was that I kept too many superfluous things.
So I started to free my home from the superfluous, dedicating 30/35 minute cleaning sessions, calmly deciding what to throw and what to keep. Now, it is much easier to clean and I feel better, knowing that I have given away superfluous objects, perhaps giving them to the people who need them more than I do.
5. Focus on one thing at time.
Multitasking is the worst enemy, probably yours too. It seems noble to perform several activities at the same time, but when you try to balance all your responsibilities, concentrating them in one go, everything ends up breaking, leaving you prey of disappointment and discouragement. You must learn to focus only on one task at a time. If you try this technique, you will no longer be able to do without it. You can’t even imagine how focus is one of the powerful weapons you have in your mental arsenal.
When I want to work on a new project, I focus only on the project and the tasks I have to perform, and I ignore the calls, phone notifications, or the need to reply to emails I received. At work, I concentrate on each project and fully commit myself, one hundred percent. I eliminate all distractions and work on one element at a time, resulting in fewer errors.
6. Embrace the real world.
Technologies make our life much easier, but I have noticed that too many devices make me feel free of energy, overwhelmed by constant 24/7 communication. This bombing, coming from the virtual world, has a negative impact on my mentality … and I lose focus and concentration on the task at hand.
To embrace the real world and spend more time with my family and friends, I decided to simplify my life by totally disconnecting my devices. I started to sit on the porch, with a cup of coffee and in solitude, without the constant presence of emails, Facebook and Twitter.
I am still adopting new habits to keep my lifestyle simpler. Sometimes the insertion of a new practice can take a few weeks, so I try to concentrate a month, to add the new habit to my routine. Also choose some things from this list and try to welcome your new life without stress … or with much less.