Stress can kill you. You already know that, right? First there are the obvious health effects of stress: heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, chronic fatigue, hormonal upheaval, and so on, plus conditions like acne, even herpes breakouts, and — it can make your hair fall out. As if you weren’t pulling it out yourself already. (okay, some of us maybe).
And that’s just for starters. Other effects of stress include that it also muddies up our brain, makes it hard to focus, affects our ability to drive safely, and on and on, and those things can affect our very livelihood — or lives.
So it’s important to get a grip on stress and on what’s stressing you. But how do you do that?
There’s of course acute stress and how to calm yourself down to function right then and there, and more longterm actions, both in terms of making you more resilient to the stress in your life, making your body less reactive and calmer overall, and in terms of making your life less stressful.
There are plenty of people giving advice on the latter, yet depending on what our situation is like, it’s not always going to be easy. Yet every little bit helps. I just read a great suggestion about reducing clutter somewhere (probably one of the other self-help blogs I’m linking to in my resource box or in a post about it). I always envy people with those neat homes right out of architectural digest. Mine is overrun with paper, and it makes me feel overwhelmed at times too. This tip helps:
Take 10 minutes every day (or maybe more often…) and just do one of the following:
1) Grab stuff you don’t need anymore and put it in bags/boxes to be taken to your local Goodwill or other thrift store, or, depending on what it is, just throw it out. I keep mine by the door and when I go somewhere, I take them with me to drop them off at their destination. Books for the local library or my favorite thrift store with a nice book section, clothes at the thrift store or the local consignment store, and so on.
Yes, it seems like just a drop in a bucket, but everything helps, and if you’ve ever had a dripping faucet, you know how quickly those buckets can fill up…
2) Alternatively, pick a corner, a drawer, a shelf, or something small like that, and straighten it up, clean it up, sort it, especially focusing on removing as much of no-longer-needed stuff as possible. And then move to the next one, for your next 10 minute increment. Repeat often.
If it is hard to let go of stuff, there are a few techniques that help. If you experience symptoms of stress when trying to throw or give things away, the usual stress management techniques I discuss in my FREE report might help.
If you take advantage of these resources or others like them, you’ll find that they can reduce your stress and tension quite a bit.
Now just remember to breathe… nice and deep breaths, slowly. There’s an interaction with your nervous system, involving your Vagus nerve, that signals to your body that it can calm down now.
Have a very relaxed day.