You’re clearly stressed out.
Let me guess…
- Your boss is the absolute worst?
- You’ve been putting in 45+ hours at the office for months without any progress?
- You’re barely making it to work on time each day?
- Those extra “few” winter pounds are turning into full on hibernation prep?
- There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day?
Any of those sound familiar? I’m willing to bet they all did.
The reality is that life can be pretty stressful for most people. Work, school, relationships, children, hobbies, it can be overwhelming when you only have 24 hours in the day to work with.
But fear not, I’m here to save the day. I’ve put together 5 quick and easy-to-implement tips that can dramatically reduce your overall stress levels.
So get to reading. You owe it to yourself.
1. Ditch The Alarm
I don’t know about you, but it always seems like I’m right in the middle of saving a princess from an evil force’s castle via an epic showdown over a bed of lava when my alarm screams for me to wake up.
You might not be super Mario in your dreams, but surely you can relate.
But alarms aren’t unideal for that reason alone. Suddenly jarring awake to something loud and unnerving is bad for your overall health as well.
You know that intense feeling you’re left with right afterward? That’s because your body is pumping adrenaline into your body in preparation for danger. Your alarm is literally alarming you when it goes off.
All of that increased tension is not a healthy way to start off your day. It puts you in a tense and heightened mood instead of waking you up peacefully and easing into your day. This is when the stress starts to build up.
Here’s how to wake up without an alarm clock.
- Get rid of your alarm clock. I’ve already explained why you should, but you know you’ve always wanted to. So do it. Trust me.
- Figure out how much sleep you need to be fully rested. The average human needs between 7-9 hours of sleep to function at their highest potential. Take the upcoming week to sleep for 9 straight hours when possible. Then go backward in increments of 15-30 minutes and consider/record how you feel the morning afterward. Keep all other habits before bed the same so your test is as accurate as possible.
- Trust your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is the little clock built into your body that keeps track of your day. It lets you know when to feel tired when it’s time to wake up, and everything in between. This is the key to waking up without an alarm.
- Go to sleep at the same time every day. A consistent sleep schedule is going to combine with your circadian rhythm to create the perfect biological clock. Be sure that you go to sleep and wake up at the same time or at least very closely each day so that your body clock can get used to that time, and it will be waking you up naturally in no time.
Start your mornings off with something pleasant, like a cup of coffee or a delicious breakfast. Listen to music and dance around in the shower each morning. The key is to give yourself an incentive to be up in the morning and make your brain look forward to getting you up. Happy mornings help take stress away!
2. Wake Up 1 hr Before You Have To Go To Work
“Wake up an extra hour earlier? Is this guy insane? I already don’t get enough sleep as it is.”
I’m assuming you said something along those lines in your head upon first reading the above subheading. But calm down. I’ll explain.
The point of this technique is not to TAKE sleep away from you, it’s to ADD time into your schedule at a crucial time in your day. You aren’t going to be shaving an hour off of your overall sleep. Instead, you’ll just be going to bed earlier and waking up earlier than normal as well.
Waking up earlier for work allows you to go through the process of slowly getting ready without rushing.
I’ll say that again.
Deploying this simple principle in your life will grant you the pleasure of having a full and productive morning, without stressing about being late for work, forgetting something, and grabbing some calorie and/or sugar filled treat at Starbucks on your way.
With all of this new-found free time, the possibilities are endless. You can take the time to:
- Make a lunch (cheaper than buying out every day and better than surviving off of the office trail mix that’s been in the cupboard for 6 months)
- Take a real shower
- Pick something nice to wear
- Gather your presentation materials, workbooks, laptop, etc
- Meditate, pray or focus on creating a healthier mind
- Spend time visualizing your day and mentally walking through your needs
Taking time in the morning to focus on these and creating a routine for yourself will allow your brain to be fully awake by the time you get to work so you will be more productive. As of right now, I am confident that your first hour or so is spent trying to figure out how you got there, what your job is, and how to work that fancy new Keurig in the kitchen.
Read this brilliant article about why breakfast is so important first for the full why. But I know you don’t have the attention span to get through it right now so I’m going to give you the TLDR in the form of a metaphor.
You can consider your body like a race car. It has the potential to perform at a very high level, but only if it’s properly maintained. Fuel, tires, and a good engine are all key to it performing well.
Now let’s relate that to yourself. You wouldn’t be able to be a sprinter without any legs (tires), or function without a brain or a heart (engine). So why are you trying to get around with no or very low-quality gasoline?
It’s complete nonsense. Moving on.
3.Don’t Make To-Do Lists
I repeat, do not make to-do lists.
Do not pass go, and do not collect two hundred dollars.
At first, this point might seem counterintuitive. It is common knowledge these days that a good to-do list can keep you organized and help make you more productive.
But that isn’t true. What it does is make it only slightly more likely that you get things done, feel good about writing something you want to do down and give you an excuse to not set specific goals and timelines.
What it does is make it only slightly more likely that you get things done, feel good about writing something you want to do down and give you an excuse to not set specific goals and timelines.
They are just an arbitrary wish lists without structure and are likely to be forgotten or pushed back.
To do lists were invented in a more simple time, where people had fewer expectations vying for their attention. Where the individuals had more singular tasks that they could dedicate longer periods of time to and then switch to the next task more easily, and in a linear fashion.
To make my point about how ineffective this style of list can be, think about your to-do list. How many things older than one week do you still have on it?
Exactly. Here’s what you should do instead.
Use a calendar.
Then take that calendar, and record everything you want to do in the future. Every single thing, and then assign it a specific timeslot on the day that you choose.
And when I say everything, I mean everything. This includes:
- Relaxation Time
- Friendship time
- Cooking dinner
- Time with family and loved ones
- Everything else
How Using A Calendar Helps Prevent Stress
This technique will ensure three very crucial things.
- It will make sure that you get the important priorities in your life completely because you will allocate specific time slots to them instead of just saying “I’ll get to them some time”.
- It will stop you from making impromptu decisions that won’t be good for your true aspirations and goals or that you will regret later because you will know exactly how much time you have in the day to get everything done. It will also ensure
- It will make sure you build in relaxation and personal time into your schedule, which are all components of a healthy life.
4. Eat Three Meals A Day
I know what you’re thinking….”What does eating have to do with being less stressed?”.
You have the right to be skeptical, but at this point, i’m surprised that you’re still doubting me. I’ll explain again.
Eating a consistent and balanced diet will make you healthier. A healthier body equals a healthier mind, and with a healthier mind, you are able to think through adversity and the situations in your life with more clarity.
But even more specific than that, having a proper diet and eating schedule will allow you to have a steady flow of good energy throughout the day. This natural energy will help you stay focused and perform at your peak, which will allow you to get more things done and be more productive.
I don’t know about you, but a pretty good amount of my stress comes from the feeling that there isn’t enough time in the day and that there is too much to do. So feeling more energized and being more productive is huge.
However, there’s one main benefit to eating properly and consistently that contributes most towards boosting your overall well-being.
That isn’t a typo. I said it right. Hanger.
Hanger is that mean kid on the playground who threw rocks at you in kindergarten. Hanger is not having any toilet paper left in the extra bathroom when you’re home all alone. Hanger is your worst enemy.
What most people don’t know, is that hanger actually has a physiological basis in terms of it being an actual reaction in our bodies that produces that grumpy feeling when you’re really hungry.
Here’s a quick science lesson.
Your body likes to turn stuff that you put in your mouth, into sugar. Or more pretentiously speaking, glucose.
As long as you’re stuffing your face, even levels of glucose get distributed to the vital parts of your body (like your brain) through your blood stream.
But when you forget to eat or wait a little too long in between feedings…
Your brain starts to freak the f*** out.
The brain, which primarily depends on glucose for energy, alerts the body that it is in a life-threatening situation.
During this freak out humans experience:
- Trouble articulating their thoughts
- Difficulty concentrating
- Extreme grumpiness (lowered social prowess)
So making sure to eat consistently keeps your body and brain sugared up and satisfied. This will result in a better mood, and when you’re calm and not miserable, life tends to be a little easier to get through.
5. Complement 5 Strangers and 2 People You Know
A person’s mentality is one of the most underrated yet essential components to happiness and a balanced existence.
That being said, there are many different routes and techniques to use that can create a better mentality and allow you relief from stress. But one of the most powerful is through creating positivity in your day to day environment. One of the quickest ways to accomplish that?
Giving others sincere compliments and being a genuinely nice person.
Not only will make someone else’ day and make the world a much better place, you will be enriched personally as well. You will be able to take pride and joy in the fact that you most likely made someone’s day better and did something that matters.
That complement might also inspire them to return the favor and compliment you back, which can help you feel better about yourself and give more confidence. Everyone likes to be praised for something about themselves. Especially if it was an area where you struggle or are insecure about.
This technique, when applied to loved ones or family, will help strengthen already existing relationships, which will help make you feel more content with your life despite other hardships because you will have that as a foundation for wellness.
And there you have it. 5 hacks to help you live a more content and less stressed life. Bookmark this, take the advice, prosper, and share it with your peers so they can benefit as well!