We live in a society that pushes us constantly to do more and be more. Here's how you stop doing that and start doing something better instead: less.
BY TERESA YANAROS, AUGUST 1, 2021
Stress is the monster that chases us all, but this one is not just in our imagination. It's very, very real. If you are under stress for long periods of time, your body has to work overtime to produce the chemicals your body thinks it needs to fight or flight. This depletes your body over time and causes all kinds of health problems and sleep issues.
Battling stress is something that Americans do on a daily basis, as we live in a society that emphasizes long workdays and schedule-packed work weeks.
The American Institute of Stress reports 120,000 people die every year as a direct result of work-related stress. Additionally, healthcare costs resulting from work-related stress totals an average of $190 billion a year.
How to Decrease Stress
So the question becomes, how can we decrease the stress that we are under on a daily basis? From work-life to home life, we stretch ourselves thin in many ways.
I've learned that by doing less, stress decreases. I am going to share 3 ways that you can decrease stress by doing less.
Decrease Stress by Scheduling Gaps into Your Schedule
I'm sorry, what did she say? Did she just tell me to schedule nothing into my schedule? Yes. I did. Before you roll your eyes, let me tell you exactly why this works.
Psychologically, schedules keep us grounded. They keep us on task to accomplish our goals. By scheduling breaks into your schedule, you are sending the message to your brain that you are actually prioritizing something above work for a moment (what a concept). If you can break your mind's pattern of thinking only stressful things are a priority, you are teaching your brain something very important: self-care is important.
By scheduling breaks, you are teaching your mind that breaks are a part of your success. You see, we get dopamine (think pleasure-center!) hits to the brain when we perceive an expected reward. When it comes to motivation and why we do the things we do, our own body rewards us for things that we think are useful or valuable in the long run.
It’s not the reward itself, but the expectation of a reward that most powerfully influences emotional reactions and memories. The brain’s reward system reinforces behaviors associated with rewards and prevents behaviors leading to punishment.
So schedule those breaks and over time, your body will respond positively to taking a pause and taking a few minutes... for you.
Decrease Stress by Learning How to Do Nothing
So now that you have scheduled precious gaps into your schedule, it's time to learn how to use these moments wisely. Let's say 12-2 pm on Saturdays is your sacred "nothing" time. So how do you actually do nothing?
You can go out into nature and sit quietly and observe the world. You can find a quiet place to clear your mind. Maybe this looks like taking a bath or going for a drive. You can actually create a pretty awesome "do nothing" routine for yourself that you will grow to cherish and look forward to.
The amazing thing about incorporating this time to destress and unplug is that it actually will increase your productivity in life. You'll be more receptive to things going on around you because you are taking the time to release pent-up energy and anxiety through grounding back into the pace of nature and peace. You'll have more mental bandwidth after taking your moments to just... stop. Make it a priority to learn how to do nothing.
Decrease Stress by Letting Things Go
The things we perceive as valuable take up real estate in our minds. Over time, you can find that your mind has become cluttered with all kinds of things. If you really took a moment to stop and assess the things that take up space in your brain, you might actually find that some of these things that once had perceived value are really not that important anymore.
Sometimes, the best thing to do is let some things go. Take some time each month to make a list of priorities. Then build a list of the things you've been thinking and worrying about over the last month. Sit there and really pull from all corners of your mind and sit all those thoughts out in front of you.
Are there some things that you've had on your to-do list that aren't aligned with your current priorities anymore?
Are there some things that you've been holding onto from your past that you need to release so you can open up to something new in the future?
It's important in life to be anchored to your goals. That way, when you are deciding your path and actions you need to take, you can justify why you do the things you do. If you have hazy goals, you might find that you are doing all kinds of things that don't seem to take you anywhere. This could be because you are putting your energy where it's not bearing the fruit you are desiring to manifest.
Deep Thoughts About Life
You are one person with limited time and resources. This means you can't do everything. But it does mean that you can do something. Consider this. You are also one person that has been given gifts, talents, and a purpose from God. You have the opportunity to steward these gifts well. You have been given a human will, that which grants you the ability to choose to build (or destroy!) something in this world.
An optimal path lies before you. A purpose for your life has been divinely ordained. By getting quiet and taking time to do nothing, you open yourself up to wisdom and understanding of the universal flow of life. This will help you see blind spots and help you optimize your life. Making a habit of getting quiet and then learning to let things go is crucial on the path toward self-mastery.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Teresa Yanaros, a degreed journalist with a passion for uncovering the truth, has dedicated her life to investigating images and messages received through media outlets. From a young age, she has researched and presented news media through print and began expanding her reach through multi-media.
After writing a book investigating the phenomenon of modern American online spiritualism, she traveled across America, giving speeches and practical workshops on how to analyze and synthesize information. From archetypal studies to advanced truth-seeking, Teresa has presented research in areas of American pop culture, occultism, conspiracism, supernatural and paranormal studies, theology, and anthropology of online sub-cultures. Due to Teresa's experience with seeing just how deep the rabbit holes of online culture go, she is devoted to understanding the media effects of online subcultures upon their communities.
Teresa is the founder of Truly Free Society.
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