Here are five simple behavioral changes that you can initiate fairly easily to bring about an immediate lowering of stress in your life. With simple ideas like these -- that don't require a commitment -- you can learn how to reduce your stress by simply trying these exercises for one day. You'll see results immediately and you can build your change based on the positive feedback you will experience form starting small.
1. Stop rushing. We rush around everywhere we go. We're almost addicted to it. Try spending one day where you don't rush anywhere. Get up earlier than you need to. Allow extra time for doing everything. Enjoy JUST ONE DAY at a leisurely pace -- even if it's your day off -- and see how absolutely delicious it feels to stop and chat wherever you feel like it, or to drive sanely between destinations, or to pause when the feeling moves you and literally stop and smell the roses.
2. Arrive early. In attempting to arrive places on time, we're often late because we don't build in extra time for traffic jams, accidents and other inevitable delays. When you plan to arrive early, you not only allow for these unforeseen circumstances, but your travel time becomes infinitely more enjoyable because you're not spending the entire trip stressing about being late.
3. Create a comfortable morning routine. When you start off your day arguing with your spouse or roommate, hurrying your children or family members, and trying to get yourself dressed and ready in a short period of time, you will almost certainly begin your day feeling stressed. To prevent this from happening, get things ready the night before: put out your clothes for the next day, make your lunch, and take a shower before bed. Do anything you can do ahead of time, so your morning "rush" won't be so jam-packed.
4. Go to bed earlier and don't watch the 11 o'clock news. The 11 o'clock news is full of stories that are designed to catch your attention by making you feel anxious about crime, or rising prices, or storms headed your way. This is not good for your serenity and is antithetical to feeling sleepy. Turn of the TV and go to bed an hour earlier -- or read something inspirational or meditate and think about everything you have to be grateful for. You'll sleep easier for it.
5. Get organized. Disorganization can make you "crazy". Always losing things, working from a messy desk and feeling bad about your messy house will take its toll on your sanity. Spend at least one day a month simply organizing your life. Or the next time you can't find something, instead of wasting time feeling frustrated and looking everywhere for it, just start cleaning and organizing your space. You'll probably spend about the same amount of time clearing up as you would have wasted searching for the lost item. And you'll almost always find the lost item in the process.
Remember, all change begin with awareness of what it is you want to change. When you decide what it is you want to change, or the new habit you want to add in, start small. Make one change at a time and practice it for weeks, if not months, before adding in additional layers of change. That way, you will ensure your eventual success. And even if you experience a setback, remember that setbacks are a part of the process. Get right back on that bucking horse named CHANGE and keep riding her until you reach the finish line where you will not be the least bit tempted to go back to your old ways.
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