Daily Habits that Reduce Stress & Unlock Success
I'm going to be honest and tell you right now that this article isn't going to reveal the "one surprising trick to a stress free life" or the "true keys to success that will shock you". No. Rather its a gentle reminder of some of the things that are in your control, right now, that can help you to reduce your stress levels and acknowledge what you achieve every day.
None of us like to admit that the pressure can take its toll, and the stress we feel starts to have an impact on our daily life. But, by making a few small changes each day (nothing takes more than 20 mins!) we can dramatically improve our stress responses and get back to being productive and successful!
Make Your Bed
Before you leave the house each morning, or before you open that first email, make your bed. There is nothing nicer than reaching the end of the day, walking into your bedroom and seeing a tidy, cosy bed just waiting for you to crawl in and sleep.
Also think of it this way, if this is the first task on your list each day and you accomplish it, you will automatically feel encouraged to tick other things off your to do list - no matter how small! And, regardless of how your day turns out you will have always achieved something! Your bed doesn't need to be made but it feels good to do it. Try it!
Acknowledge Your Stress
It is very easy to ignore or dismiss the way our body and mind is feeling because we can't necessarily see stress. Over time if you do not allow yourself to recover you can experience a host of long term ill effects like tension headaches & insomnia. Think about it, if your body isn't able to recover then the next bit of stress just builds on top of the first.
But what if you could actually see your body responding to stress? Could you still ignore it? You might want to consider using a small home device like the Pip that measures your electrodermal activity and gives you real time graphical feedback through a few different apps. You can track your stress levels over time and practice different strategies to manage your body's response.
Take a Walk
A brisk 20 minute walk will do wonders for your mind and your body. If you are guilty of never taking lunch away from your desk then try to take a short walk, even 2 days a week, and see the difference that it makes to your productivity. You can take a quiet walk and listen to the sounds around you or grab your headphones and listen to some music or a short podcast to let your mind switch direction for a little while.
I know that the idea of meditation strikes fear into the hearts of many, but it doesn't have to. 5 mins of meditation per day can do wonders for your mind and your ability to cope with your racing thoughts - especially if you have trouble sleeping!
The best way to start is with a little guided meditation. There are plenty of apps out there but I'm particularly fond of Buddhify. It is a beautiful, easy interface with more than 80 guided meditations (many only 5 mins in length) for different times of the day and activities including traveling, walking, going to sleep and on a work break.
Stay Nourished & Hydrated
You have to fuel your body, and you have to fuel it with the right things! There is plenty of information out there to help you construct a healthy diet plan - you should always consult your GP before making any dietary changes - and even more information out there as to why that is important!
Having evenly spaced meals and snacks means you'll never get too hungry and risk getting sluggish, tired or losing concentration - which can lead to frustration and elevated stress levels.
Carry a bottle of water, or keep a glass on your desk, to make sure that you stay hydrated throughout the day for the same reasons.