Between the demands of work, and the assorted obligations of everyday life – ranging from things like childcare, to simple household chores – things can become quite stressful from time to time.
Of course, there are plenty of things that people frequently do in order to try and reduce their everyday stress and to enjoy a greater overall sense of well-being, ranging from things like researching the requirements for an ESTA and planning a vacation, to binge watching an entertaining TV series.
Ultimately, though, there are certain general-purpose exercises and practices that are likely to have a more powerful and sustainable impact when it comes to reducing your stress levels in everyday life.
Here are a few tips and suggestions for reducing common sources of stress in your everyday life, so that you can benefit from a greater overall sense of well-being on a daily basis.
Bring your attention more to the present moment, and don’t get too caught up in your long-term plans and preoccupations
Although it’s important to have a sense of the direction you want to head in, in life, as well as a sense of some of the things you want to do or achieve – such as starting a family – getting too caught up in your long-term plans and preoccupations is a surefire way of generating excess stress in your everyday life.
The thing is, anything you ever achieve in the future will only be achieved through your actions in each present moment.
For this reason, taking steps to bring your attention back to the present moment can – if done right – help to significantly reduce your stress levels while at the same time still allowing you to achieve things and move in the directions you want to.
Even in the general sphere of productivity and entrepreneurship, the idea of focusing on “habits rather than goals” has caught on, and has been heavily advocated for by individuals such as James Clear.
So, how do you actually bring your attention more into the present moment? Well, first and foremost, by focusing on what is right in front of you and engaging in activities that help you to be a bit more present, and a bit less caught up in your own thoughts and ruminations.
Going for regular strolls in nature might help you to achieve this, or perhaps a particular mindfulness meditation practice would help – or all of the above.
Take steps to nurture your intuitive and imaginative side
In many traditional spiritual and religious perspectives, the intuitive mind has a lot of insight and power that the rational thinking mind doesn’t – and the rational thinking mind has a way of obsessing and worrying over it’s own mental projections and assessments, regardless of how accurate they actually are.
Taking steps to nurture your more intuitive and imaginative side may help you to experience a greater sense of calm, peace, and balance, and may also help you to feel less caught up in, and preoccupied by, your ruminations and thought spirals.
If you’re worried about the practical considerations of day-to-day life all the time, it’s more or less inevitable that you will find yourself feeling stressed, frustrated, and jaded.
Reading novels, watching engaging TV programmes, and engaging in pastimes like painting, guided meditations, and walks in nature, are all examples of activities that can help to nurture and reconnect you with your more intuitive and imaginative side.
Relax the need to always be totally in control
If you feel the need to always be totally in control of every aspect of your life, and are constantly driven to try and micromanage and plan everything out in detail, it will be very difficult to avoid feeling highly stressed out – because you’ll have very little room for relaxation, and anything that happens unexpectedly, or that throws off your plans, will cause anxiety and irritation.
Relaxing the need to always be talking control can, in many instances, be very effective at reducing stress.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should become fatalistic or stop taking action in your own life to move things in the right direction. But it does mean, among other things, that you should try and practice the skill of “not sweating the small stuff.”
If your train or bus is delayed and you have to wait on the platform for a bit longer, for example, it’s definitely in your best interests to just shrug it off and to not let it bother you.
Try your best each day, no more and no less
In the highly popular book, “The Four Agreements,” by Don Miguel Ruiz, the author argues – among other things – that trying your best, each day, is one of the most essential practices for ensuring a high degree of well-being.
Importantly, though, he argues that the key is trying your best – whatever your best is that day, and based on your current circumstances. If you fail to try your best, you will struggle with self doubt and bitterness, and won’t be able to tell yourself “well, I tried my best.” But at the same time, if you try to force yourself to exceed your best, you are likely to burnout, underperform, and be more stressed as a result.
Although it’s a delicate balancing act, earnestly trying to do your best each day – regardless of what it is you’re doing – can significantly help to enhance your overall sense of positivity and contentment, while reducing stress.
Avoid gossip and drama
It’s probably fair to say that just about everyone gossips a bit from time to time, and becomes caught up in certain dramas that it would have been better to avoid.
Generally speaking, though, the more you avoid gossip and drama, the lower your baseline stress levels are likely to be.
This is at least partly because gossip and drama increase the likelihood of conflict in your everyday life, and partly because getting involved in this kind of drama will naturally tend to give you a more negative perspective of other people and their attitudes.