1. Spend Time in Nature
Stress and worries disappear when you’re in nature, appreciating the beauty that surrounds you. There is just something magical about being outdoors surrounded by trees, flowers, birds, looking up at the sky, smelling the fresh air, and soaking in the sun, that gives me an electrical energy and peacefulness like nothing else can. Take the time to be outside.
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein
2. Have Gratitude
Having gratitude for the big things is important, such as family, health, food, job, but it is also important to be grateful for the little things too. It makes me happy when I remember to take some time to notice and be grateful. Even for the not so great things. Laundry is one of those chores I really don’t like doing (who does?), but I can be grateful for having to do my laundry because it means that I have clothes to wear. I can be grateful for being stuck in traffic because it means that I can afford a car to get me places. When I can find something to be grateful for in not so great situations, it helps me get through them.
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
– Melody Beattie
3. Let Go
The only person you are hurting when you hold onto anger or disappointment is yourself. I really try to let go of things as quickly as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t cover up or ignore my feelings. I feel it, accept it, and then try my best to move on from it. It is not always easy and some things we hold onto things longer than we would like, but get in the habit of forcing yourself to let things go. We are much happier when we do and it allows us to move forward.
“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” – Steve Maraboli
4. Say No
This quote just says it so well. Enough said.
“Learn to say no to demands, requests, invitations, and activities that leave you with no time for yourself. Until I learned to say no, and mean it, I was always overloaded by stress. You may feel guilty and selfish at first for guarding your down- time, but you’ll soon find that you are a much nicer, more present, more productive person in each instance you do choose to say yes.” – Holly Mosier
5. Get Enough Sleep
Your mind and body need sleep to function, so make sure to get enough of it. When we are tired, we tend to complain more, be more negative, and have no energy to do things. Tossing and turning all night is one of the most frustrating things ever and then you have to go about the next day sluggish and cranky. I couldn’t get a good night’s sleep for years because I couldn’t shut my brain off. I finally realized, however, that there were some lifestyle changes I could make and it didn’t have to involve heavy duty sedatives (although I will admit, I did take Trazodone for a few months because I was so desperate, which I would not recommend on a long-term basis. That drug is serious. Try natural sleeping pills like melatonin, Calms Forte, or Power to Sleep PM). Other natural tricks: reducing stress/anxiety (I changed jobs and it made a HUGE difference), meditation, exercise, having a bedtime routine, turning off all electronics an hour before bed, and drinking water before bed.
“Sleep is the best meditation.” – Dalai Lama
6. Have a Life Outside of Work/School
It is great if you love what you do, but don’t become a workaholic. There is so much to experience and enjoy in this world and you miss out on it if all you do is focus on work. Remember to spend time with family/friends, have hobbies, explore, and have adventures! I have found that I am more present and in a better mood at work, when I have forced myself to stop thinking about work and enjoy life outside of the office.
“Taking time to live life will only inspire your work.” – Unknown
7. Step Away From Your Cell Phone
We are so attached to our cell phones that they make us crazy! Those things never stop ringing, buzzing, beeping. How can we be present where we are with our phone going off every 60 seconds in our pocket? Here is a thought, we did survive without cell phones at one point. I know we all want to stay connected and be available for “emergencies,” but turning your phone off for 1 hour will not kill you. It actually will help you be more mindful, present, and relieve stress. If you really cannot turn it off, then put the “do not disturb” feature on your phone and only allow the “favorites” you have selected to be able to call you. If your favorites won’t leave you alone, send them a text saying that you will be unavailable for the next hour and to please only call if it is truly an emergency. Done. Now you are able to step away for a little peace of mind. Whatever call you missed, you can call them back later.
“Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone.” – Steven Spielberg
8. Stop Over Analyzing
Our minds can really get out of control and take us to a place we never wanted to be. When we over analyze things we usually make assumptions, create ridiculous stories, end up with thoughts that are really far from the truth and work ourselves up in the process. Some things just are. We don’t need to find reasoning for everything. When you start going down this spiral, catch yourself, and let it go. I used to have trouble falling asleep at night because I would lay there over analyzing things I did at work and it would just drive me crazy. It is good to reflect on things and to try to improve ourselves. But when you start having ruminating thoughts and you try to break it all down to every tiny step or word you or someone said, that is when it is not healthy. Sometimes you just need to shrug it off and let it be.
“Sometimes we need to stop analyzing the past, stop planning the future, stop figuring out precisely how we feel, stop deciding exactly what we want, and just see what happens.” – Carrie Bradshaw
9. Breathe Deeply
I like taking my deep breaths often throughout the day. It calms my nerves, relieves my stress, and brings me back to the present moment, which in turn improves my happiness and quality of life. Remembering and focusing on your breath, even for just a few moments throughout your day can help you cope. Go ahead, take a long deep breath right now.
“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” – Amit Ray
10. Stop Striving to be Perfect
It is impossible to be perfect, so stop trying to do everything perfectly and instead give yourself a break. Striving to be perfect only creates disappointment and frustration. Be easy on yourself and on others as no one is perfect. Reward yourself for your efforts and allow yourself to make mistakes. Mistakes are what help us grow. If we were all perfect, life would be pretty boring. Embrace your quirks and your imperfections because that is what makes you, you.
“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.” – Leo Tolstoy