Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Stress less, enjoy life more - Simple stress management

Want to stress less and enjoy life more? These simple stress management strategies will get you sta

We all have stress, but how we handle that stress can greatly affect our physical and mental health. In fact, a few simple changes can mean the difference between a long, happy life and a short, miserable one.

To this end, here are a few tried and true stress management strategies to help you stress less starting today.

Avoid people who stress you out.

I am convinced there are people in this world whose sole purpose in life is to cause me stress. I bet I’m not the only one who thinks this, either!

The point is, there are certain types of people who seem to wreak havoc wherever they go. Other people may have personality types that simply don’t mesh with yours. If you can’t learn to relate to these people, limit the amount of time you spend with them, o avoid them altogether.

Control your environment.

At the height of the recent stock market crash, I found myself checking the stock market index at least 10 – 15 times a day. This caused so much anxiety that I finally had to quit cold turkey.

Environmental stress is fairly easy to control. If the news stresses you out, turn off the television. If traffic tenses you up, consider going a different route, or taking the bus or train. If you hate shopping, shop online, or make sure you go when you know there won’t be any crowds.

To get started, identify three things in your environment that stress you out and change them. This will not only decrease your stress, but give you a sense of empowerment to change other things.

Just say no.

Did you know that you don’t have to do everything you’re asked to do? I’m ashamed to admit that it took me a long time to figure that one out.

If you are someone who can “get things done,” there will always be someone with a worthy cause who needs your skills. Often we feel flattered and agree before we really give the request due consideration. Then, once we get into it, we feel overwhelmed and put-upon. Does any of this sound familiar?

So, before you say yes, give it thoughtful and honest consideration. If your plate is full, or if you just don’t want to do something someone asks of you, politely refuse.

Fix yourself a nice cup of herbal tea.

Don’t get me wrong – I still drink a lot of coffee every day, but this time it’s because I enjoy the taste. But when I feel stressed, I fix myself a nice, hot, soothing mug of herbal tea, decaffeinated. I find the whole process of heating the kettle, steeping the tea, and then inhaling the aroma to be extremely calming. Fixing yourself a cup of tea is reaffirming and soothing. It’s a small act that can give you a big psychological boost.

Shorten your “to-do” list.

Do you really have to go to all those meetings on your schedule, or can you delegate? Do you really need to clean your house from top to bottom every week, or would once a month work better? (Better yet, can you afford to hire someone to do it?!) If you’ve got too much on your plate, then it’s time to decide between the things that you “should do” and those you “must do.” Delegate or eliminate the “should dos,” and prioritize the “must dos.”

Change your attitude to gratitude.

Every morning during my quiet time, I ponder all the things I am grateful for that day. My wonderful family. A beautiful sunrise. The squirrels chasing each other in the backyard. A new client. Being able to work from home. Big things and small things all get due consideration. Some things are permanent on the list (like the family!), but others come and go, depending on the day and my mood.

Learning to be thankful for what I have instead of constantly trying to figure out a way to get more has gone a long way toward easing the stress in my life, I can tell you! I’m not saying you can’t strive for bigger and better, I’m just saying that along the journey, we need to appreciate that which we have.

What are you grateful for? Try taking a few moments each day to really feel thankful for the abundance in which you live. You’ll be amazed at what a little gratitude can do for your stress level.

Start a yoga practice

One of the things I am most grateful for is discovering yoga. A regular practice of yoga not only keeps your body flexible and your bones strong, but it is one of the best stress management strategies I know. Yoga improves your overall sense of well-being and improves your sense of balance. I’ve been practicing about four and a half years now. I used to take classes twice a week, but now I rotate between several different yoga DVDs.

Yoga doesn’t have to be mystical or spiritual, although that can certainly be part of it if you so choose. I choose to focus on the many health benefits of yoga instead. I strongly encourage you to give it a try. Start with a beginner class or a beginner DVD.

Laugh your head off!

The health benefits of laughter are well-documented. There are numerous studies that show people who laugh a lot are less stressed and enjoy a longer, healthier life. Some doctors even say you should have at least10 deep belly laughs each day for optimum results. Guess that’s as good as any to start developing your funny bone!

Stress less. Enjoy life more.

Whether you know it or not, if you’re living a stressed life, you aren’t enjoying life to its fullest. Resolve today to take control of your life and your stress level!

Copyright 2009, BusinessBurrito.com. All rights reserved.

Occupation: Writer, small business consultant, creative thinke
Founder and Creator, BusinessBurrito.com

As a veteran creative director, copywriter, and broadcast producer, as well as a former corporate advertising / marketing executive, I bring 25 years of expertise to all things advertising marketing, creative, and small business oriented.

One of my passion is helping small businesses grow to their full potential. Which is why I started BusinessBurrito.com

I began my career as an advertising agency copywriter and radio/television producer in the Tulsa area back in the early 80s, soon taking on the role of creative director.

In 1999, I became one of the founding partners of ThompsonMurray - a Fayetteville, Arkansas-based advertising / retail marketing firm - heading up the company's creative department and building a tremendous base of talented art directors, copywriters, and graphic designers.

As executive vice president / creative director, I helped take TM from a start-up with 18 employees to one of the region's largest ad agencies with over 160 employees and some of the world's biggest brands, including Procter & Gamble, Wal-Mart, and Coca-Cola.

When Saatchi & Saatchi bought us in 2004, I left to work on freelance advertising and marketing projects, consult with businesses and non-profit organizations, and to work on my first novel.

In addition to well over 200 industry awards, including local, regional, and national Addy Awards, my work has also appeared in Print's Regional Design Annual, and the New York Art Directors' Club Annual.

One of the things that gives me a unique perspective and expertise in small business is that my husband and I currently own or co-own four of our own: Pink Fuzzy Slippers, Inc.,my freelance writing and consulting business; OneEighty Coaching & Consultancy, Inc, an executive, business, and life coaching company; Engine Joe’s, LLC, a motorcycle arts company selling apparel, accessories, and sundry; and Hawg City Choppers, LLC, a bricks and mortar motorcycle repair, service and custom-build shop located in Fayetteville, AR.

And in my “spare time,” I also serve as Board President for the Communication Arts Institute in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

My goal in building BusinessBurrito.com is to give my readers one central internet hub geared to small businesses where they can go to get all the information they need to grow and prosper.