12 Easy Ways To Free Yourself From Stress
There comes a point to everyone’s lives when they start questioning their own motives and decisions. They become conscious of their behaviors and realize they’re overly concerned with the opinions of others. In my past, I was deeply worried about the thoughts of others and wanted everyone to like me.
I pretended to be who they wanted me to be and allowed my false identities to consume my soul because I wanted to please everyone. Not only did the large things in life affect me, but the small too. They all affected my mind daily and at a certain point I began forgetting my own opinions about myself.
But the longer I wore a mask, the more I simply didn’t like myself anymore. It’s impossible to please everyone and even if you created oxygen, you’ll still find a group of people going against you. But the problem we struggle with is allowing too many worries to control us.
We allow the small burdens from our careers, our romances, and our social lives all affect us mentally and physically. It then reaches a point where we’re waking up every morning with the thoughts of hating our lives.
It’s ideal to want a comfortable lifestyle without any worries, but what we do instead is give ourselves more problems than we can handle. We especially stress about things outside of our control. We get stressed if the sun isn’t shining or a movie doesn’t have an actor who fit the role. We get stressed when we’re stuck in traffic and by the end of the day, our minds are stuffed with so many stressful seeds we end up with a plantations of unnecessary worries. We fall victims to ourselves and becomes slaves of our imaginations.
As a result, we seek external resources to let us forget those fears. A personal preference of mine was going on YouTube or Facebook. When I felt overwhelmed by stress, I escaped reality by seeking social media or Netflix. But ignoring my problems wasn’t the right choice because all it did was postpone and increase my anxiety, anger, and sleepiness.
Freeing ourselves from our stress doesn’t mean ignoring the rest of the world or our problems. It means taking control of our responsibilities while placing our own desires first. This is your path and you shouldn’t feel entitled to do as others want just to please them. To free yourself from stress, here are 12 tips.
12 ways to free yourself from stress
One of the most difficult things to accept about life is that you don’t have control over everything. We want the ability to manage our time the way we want, but it never turns out that way. We either have jobs to sacrifice our time to, a social life to attend, or unexpected life problems that jump in the way.
But there’s 2 ways to manage your time depending on the type of person you are. For instance, if you prefer going off a clock schedule, then use a journal, app, or calendar to create your schedule. Set the time you want to complete something and be sure to get it done.
However, if you tend to neglect your schedule (such as myself), become conscious of the present and create a time slot for your daily tasks. Think of the tasks you want to complete and write them down. Then next to those tasks write down the time frame you want to spend on them.
You might want to spend only 30 minutes on Facebook, 1 hour on your homework, and 1 hour reading. I usually like to spend 40 minutes on YouTube, 2.5 hours reading, and 40 minutes exercising. What I like about this approach is that I don’t have to schedule a certain time of day. I could complete my tasks either in the morning or at night depending on how much spare time I have. Don’t give yourself a set schedule if you know you can’t follow it, Just set a desired time that you’d like to do each goal you tasked yourself with.
2. Set everything you can to automatic:
Are you facing a mountain of debt you’re forced to pay monthly? Don’t manually pay it off with the horrible feelings that you’ll never reach that zero balance. It’s hard seeing the end of the journey if it’s twenty miles away. So set your bank account to automatically pay for you monthly. Live your life and from time to time, check your debt to witness it decreasing. Before you know it, your debt will be paid off and you’ll be debt free.
Let me paint you a picture about how the process works. Imagine planting a seed. Instead of walking outside everyday to check if it grew, have someone else water it for you and check on it every other week to witness your seed eventually grow into a tree.
This method also applies to other areas such as our rent, bills, paychecks to direct deposits, and anything else you could think of. If you have extra income, set up a savings account that automatically takes a small percentage of your checking and let it grow like a seed. Like your debt, occasionally check on how much you collected and never touch that account unless it’s absolutely necessary. A recommended amount of times to check on the status of your savings or debt is once every 2 weeks.
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3. Read more (Several books a week if possible):
Expand your knowledge in a topic you’re interested in. You don’t have to read an entire book and I wouldn’t recommend that either. It’s like trying to eat an entire bucket of ice cream after finishing a meal. To make books more meaningful so you’ll want to return back to them is familiarizing yourself with it’s most vital context.
When you were younger, you were taught to read the entire book line by line, word by word. But that’s only to get people familar with the basics of it. To push yourself towards the advanced version is learning the fundamentals of only reading the crucial areas of any text.
About 90% of the books you find in stores are filled with useless context just to fill up the pages. (Because not many people are willing to spend $15 on a 5 paged book.) If you removed the useless rambling from the average self development book, you will probably only find 7 – 15 pages of material worth reading.
Avoid trying to read an entire book and only focus on a few passages in every chapter or so. Once you capture the information you want, place that book aside for another day, week, or month and look into a new book to learn from.
After my first experience on reading a new book every week, I was pressured because even though I read books about dieting, exercising, or developing self discipline, I necessarily wasn’t applying any of those methods into my life. I would read one book a week, but forget it the next. So what actually helped me remember what I read was creating a habit of only reading material I was purely interested in. I had no interest reading an entire book about relationships when all I needed to know was how to approach women. When I feel it’s necessary to return back to the book when I have any other questions, I’ll pick it up from my shelf.
For one week, invest yourself into a new subject you’re interested in rather than mindlessly going with what everyone else says. If you enjoy music, find a book relating to how music enhances the mind. If you’re interested in programming, browse through Code Academy for a few days.
Once you find a focus you’re actually interested in, your brain retains that information much longer and with a deeper connection to embrace it. This is why you should have a variety of books based on one subject. Not one person is going to have all the answers you’re searching for. You might like one person’s thoughts about dieting, but not on the type of foods they recommend.
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4. Declutter your life (In every way possible):
Examples would be your email, unused apps on your phone, your home, your office, or your closet. If you have a direct control over it, make it your mission to organize and simplify it. And I get it. At first, cluttering those parts in our life is relaxing and carefree. I never had to worry about attending my chores and I allowed the mess in my room to go with the flow.
But one day, a quick thought changed that pattern because I realized a cluttered lifestyle did nothing more than make things more difficult than they were supposed to be. The first area I began decluttering was the useless apps on my phone. I found games I played once or twice years ago and a handful of junk I no longer needed. It didn’t take long before a boost of positive emotions triggered my brain and life felt simpler.
The next area I tackled was my home, picking up t-shirts lying on the floor, washing dishes I left unattended. Like before, my mind became relaxed and my thoughts more clearer.
Not too long after, the most amazing realization I had was knowing if I could declutter the external resources in my life, then I could apply the same approach to my internal thoughts as well. And what I learned was that you have to start small to avoid overwhelming yourself. Don’t burden yourself with a task too big to start at. For each small battle you win, you get closer to winning a war.
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5. Baby Step towards Success:
Don’t give yourself a challenge that overwhelms you to want to quit, but don’t settle for a challenge so low you won’t experience any growth. What you’ll discover in the long run is that time is going to past whether you do something or not. And for every second that’s passing right now is another second you’re missing out on stepping towards your goals.
It’s easy to visualize the big picture of what we want but back away from it after the realization of how long it’ll take to get there. I had a similar issue about taking baby steps when it came to writing a novel. It was hard picturing myself writing an entire novel over 300 pages long. But what I began understanding was that to reach the end of any story, you have to get there one page at a time.
You could start from the end to reach the beginning, or the beginning to reach the end. Either way I would have to fill in all the pages somehow. It didn’t matter if I wrote 1 page a day or 20 pages a day. As long as I made progress rather than doing nothing in hopes of finding the motivation to start, I could continue my work.
6. Plan your day the night before going to bed:
Waking up in the morning is one of the hardest accomplishments in the day for most people. That’s normally because they don’t have a goal to wake up to in the morning. Sure, they might have to go to work or take the children to school, but those relate more to chores than personal interests.
What we need are goals and possible accomplishments to achieve the next day after waking up. It could be cleaning out your email, reading a good book, meditating, or exercising. Let it be something that excites you the moment you wake up in the morning. You won’t have to worry about hitting the snooze alarm ten times before getting out of bed. Your internal motivation will be your alarm.
7. Avoid multitasking important tasks:
Personally, I think it’s totally acceptable to multitask small errands such as cleaning and performing small maintenance. I like listening to audiobooks as I’m cleaning my house or taking walks outside. It’s perfectly normal to learn a language in your iPod while exercising at the park. (In fact it’ll be sort of strange to simply work out in mild silence.)
But when we’re working on big projects that require our total attention, it’s best to bring our total focus to it. From experience, I know it’s annoying to think about working on only one thing at a time because it seems wasteful in time and energy. Why only work on one task when you have the ability to do three other things simultaneously? Those who multitask are not as effective as they could have been if they stuck to one task at a time.
Multitasking slows you down because you struggle finishing 2 – 3 projects, increasing your chances at making mistakes. But what really makes multitasking dangerous is that it stresses you out. When you’re constantly facing several high demanding tasks at once, your brain can’t settle for one spot and jump all over the place without a clear focus.
8. Prevent Procrastination by acting now:
I still have moments where I’m questioning myself to complete an assignment when I’m in relaxed mode. But what turns a simple question into a full on debate inside my head is convincing myself to do something tiresome instead of remaining in relaxed mode. Without facing deadlines or consequences, it’s hard to convince yourself do something you don’t want to do such as working out or completing your homework.
But most of the time, a question I ask myself before neglecting my tasks are, “Is this really a valid excuse for being lazy? If I don’t do it now, I’ll have to do it later anyway. ” Don’t stress about how you’re going to get from point A to point B. Don’t let your worries get the best of you by willingly neglecting your duties. Just do them now so you don’t have to worry about them later. Once you start the process of anything, you’ll discover the longer you stick to it the easier it becomes.
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9. Accept everyone’s opinions about you (and stop caring about them):
Whether we like it or not, there’s someone right now thinking about you. It could be your parents, siblings, friends, coworkers, spouse, or some random person you walked by on the streets. There could even be someone browsing through your Facebook scrolling through all your pictures.
A fate we all can’t escape from is that someone is going to have an opinion of you whether it’s good or bad. A personal fear I used to have was not acting the way someone else wanted me to act without causing social awkwardness. I had to pretend I liked a certain brand of music I really wasn’t interested in. I only wanted to fit in and be part of the crowd. But it sucks being a people pleaser because after a while, you tend to stop liking people altogether. You start wanting to avoid them to prevent yourself from being the public clown of entertainment.
Other people might assume these are your natural qualities, but you’ll always know it’s only an act. What I learned was that the people in my life were special to me, but if they couldn’t accept me for who I was, I didn’t have to tolerate them either. There’s millions of people in this world who could match my chemistry and I don’t have to change to please anyone.
We don’t need anyone to tell us we’re smart, beautiful, brave, or talented because their words aren’t going to give us those traits. We’re not automatically going to become beautiful because someone else said it. We’re not going to become retarded if some loser called us that. It’s the words we tell ourselves that truly matter.
Who cares if you accidentally offended someone or they didn’t like your opinion. What makes them special enough to control how you feel? They’re not going to pay your bills, give you talent, or eternal happiness. They’re just like you and me. If bullies and dictators could make friends, so can you.
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10. Find the Humor in your surroundings:
Don’t make your life anymore stressful than it is. Make life enjoyable because no one else is obligated to do that for you. Generate your own good emotions instead of relying on someone else to give you the goodies. This means learning how to become conscious of the present and learning self-entertainment.
If you’re unable to amuse yourself, how could you amuse someone else who’s experiencing a bad day. The ability to use humor could take a person very far in life. Everyone doesn’t have the ability to be naturally charming and witty and learning those traits sets you apart from the average person.
A way to go about this is going through a range of funny scenarios that would make you laugh. Who cares if no one else thinks you’re funny. Find humor instead of anger and you’ll naturally become a person others would want to be around due to your newly found charisma.
11. Become comfortable inside your own bubble:
This isn’t the same as staying within your comfort zone. This is being comfortable with yourself as a human being. This trait is mostly associated with introverts, but still apply to the rest of the world as well. If you find yourself without a buddy to hang out with, don’t lower your self value. If you don’t have any true friends by your side, don’t stress about it.
Be grateful about yourself, your health, and your interests. Take this as an opportunity to grow as a person and learn something new about yourself. A way to do this is getting a journal and writing your most personal thoughts. You’ll learn new things about yourself the longer you allow your thoughts to escape your brain.
12. Set your focus to what makes you happy:
Become conscious in your decisions by doing things for yourself. Don’t maintain the image you want the public to see. Become the person who you to envision and if you don’t have one, make one. Get a sheet of paper, yes a SHEET of PAPER, and write down everything you’d like to be.
Start with your looks, how much you want to weigh, how you want to dress, how knowledgeable you want to be, and how sociable you want to end up at. Do you want to be fit, eat healthier, be bilingual, or know how to dance? Your list could range from 1 trait up to 1000. So long as it’s an honest outlook to what you want to be and no one else.
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In final thoughts…
While it may be empowering to simplify your life by neglecting many of your worries, there are some things you should know. There’s a difference between setting aside your worries and completely ignoring them. Don’t let your worries grow into a greater nuisance by pretending they don’t exist.
Use the motivation of fear to push yourself into fixing those problems before they get larger. It’s okay ignoring the things within our control because worrying about them won’t make any difference. But when someone decides to completely ignore a serous issue, that will only make their situation worsen. To overcome the results of future problems, face the ones you have now and conquer them like a champion.
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