Lean On Friends And Family
The support provided by close personal relationships is really key, says Dr. Kiecolt-Glaser. The problem is that we tend to isolate ourselves and limit time with others when stressed and this response tends to compound stress. Computers in Human Behavior found that in-person support helped people cope better during times of stress and text messages didnt have the same effect. Being aware of the tendency to pull away from others when stressed is a good first step, but breaking the pattern can be difficult. Try telling those around you that you need their support. They may be able to spot your stress earlier than you do and jump in to help before you even know you need it.
Choose Who You Hang Out With
And right now, thats easier than ever because we are practicing social distancing.
Use THIS as an opportunity to do a cleanse. You can use social distancing as an excuse not to visit with negative people. And Im sure with everything going on you are too busy to spend time on the phone with them, right?
I want to show you a simulation that my son Julius programmed this weekend.
In this simulation, you will see squares and triangles Lets just say these triangles are positive people and the squares well, they are squares.
Take a look at it: PLAY VIDEO
Heres whats happening:
Even though the triangles just try to be around 40% of people who are positive, i.e. 4 out of 10, naturally they attract more and more positive people.
Thats the good news: You dont have to ignore all your negative friends!
Just focus on the positive ones, and the negative ones will migrate to others who are negative, too.
You might have heard the saying Misery loves company so let the negative people be amongst each other.
Ok, lets move on to Step 2 on how to be happier and less stressed:
Difficulty Level Easy Cost Zero Dollars
What if I told you there was a simple, low-cost intervention that fights depression and stress, boosts productivity, tunes up cognitive function, increases self control, and even improves physical measures of health like blood pressure?
No doubt you’d race to pick up this pill, potion, or behavioral change. But according to a fascinating recent article by Jill Suttie for the Greater Good Science Center, getting this impressive array of benefits requires pretty much no effort at all and costs a grand total of zero dollars. All you need to do is spend more time outside in nature.
“Scientists are beginning to find evidence that being in nature has a profound impact on our brains and our behavior, helping us to reduce anxiety, brooding, and stress, and increase our attention capacity, creativity, and our ability to connect with other people,” Suttie writes before launching into a long rundown of the latest research findings. Here, in brief, are three ways she says nature can give us a powerful lift, according to the latest science.
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Practice Mindfulness And Meditation
Mindfulness and meditation may seem like buzzwords, but they are actually practices rooted in ancient times. Mindfulness is so helpful for dealing with stress that entire training programs are dedicated to teaching mindfulness tactics. According to Appetite, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programs may help decrease emotional eating, but more research is needed to know for sure.
Tip : Train Your Brain To Be More Positive
Our brains are wired to notice and remember the things that are wrong. Its a survival mechanism that helped keep our cave-dwelling ancestors safe in a world where there were many physical threats. But in todays comparatively safe world, this biological predisposition to focus on the negative contributes to stress and unhappiness.
While we cant change our nature, we can train our brains to be more positive. This doesnt mean putting on a smiley face and whistling a happy tune no matter whats going on. You dont have to ignore reality or pretend things are wonderful even when theyre not. But just as dwelling on negative things fuels unhappiness , choosing to notice, appreciate, and anticipate goodness is a powerful happiness booster.
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You Benefit The World Round
The reason why we benefit from nature and are so drawn to it might be due to our ancestors having spent most of their lives and generations back living closely with nature.
Only recently have we moved to a more urban style of living. This is called the biophilia hypothesis by Kert and Wilson3,4.
We basically have a connection with nature and when we are in our urban housing, we can lose sight of this relationship.
Its like seeing a good friend after a long time and come back from that interaction feeling revitalized, inspired, happy, and wondering why you dont see that friend more often.
Focus On What You Can Change
Have you heard of the Serenity Prayer?
Its written by an American theologian called Reinhold Niebuhr.
The first verse is the most popular one, and I think its the most powerful one.
Here it is:
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Isnt that powerful?
If you focus on things that you cant change, you WILL be stressed. Because it makes you feel powerless, and thats stressful.
Right now, were in the middle of the crisis.
We cant change that people are getting sick. We cant change that businesses are closing and laying off people. We cant change that schools are closed and kids are struggling to learn from home.
But there are things we can change, and thats Step 3 of how to be happier and less stressed:
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Tip : Live In The Moment And Savor Lifes Pleasures
Think about a time when you were depressed or anxious. Chances are, you were either dwelling on something negative from the past or worrying about something in the future. In contrast, when you focus on the present moment, you are much more likely to feel centered, happy, and at peace. Youre also much more likely to notice the good things that are happening, rather than letting them pass by unappreciated or unobserved. So how do you start to live more in the moment and savor the good things life has to offer?
Theres Always A Silver Lining
Yes, I am an optimist.
I like to look for the good in every situation.
And sometimes its not easy to see.
Heres an example:
Lets say you got laid off, and right now you need to look for a new job. Is this really the worst that could have happened?
Think about it: Were you really happy in your job? Or were you dragging it anyhow?
Could this be a blessing in disguise that you are now forced to look for another job?
Maybe its something that you always wanted to do, but never did because you were scared?
Well, now youre forced to do it, and who knows? Maybe you will get a much better job than you had?
A job where your boss appreciates you. A job that values your contributions. A job that maybe even pays better!
Or maybe you are forced to find other ways to make money.
And maybe thats why you are here!
Maybe you always wanted to learn how to trade, but it was never a priority. So you never got around to doing it.
Now, you are forced to find ways to make money.
And who knows: You might be really good at it and never have to work for somebody again!
My point is: Yes, losing your job is stressful. But it might actually be a good thing!
However, its always difficult to see it in the moment.
Think about it like a wound:
When the wound is fresh, it hurts! While the wound is healing, it hurts.
But years later, when the wound is healed and somebody asks you about your scar, dont you tell the story proudly? How you got the scar and how it has changed you?
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Tips For Increasing Your Happiness Even When Life Is Stressful
While you may not be able to control all of the factors that are causing stress in your life, there are a few things you can do to take the edge off of your stressors, so you feel less overwhelmed, and you can more easily shake off a bad day. Likewise, there are a few ways to increase happiness levels, even when life is stressful.
Surrender The Outcome Because Otherwise You Dont Finish
When you fear how whatever youre doing will all turn out, the outcome becomes not something to strive toward but instead becomes an obstacle you have to overcome . Your stress level goes critical. You end up getting in your own way and sabotaging yourself when the end grows near.
You make bad choices that take you further away from finishing simply so you can avoid the outcome, and in that way you knock yourself right off the playing field and back into the safety of the bleachers.
Know this: safety really is an illusion. There are no guarantees in life whether youre flying high outside your comfort zone or tucked away inside it. If you continue to fear the outcome and never finish, you will spend your life going in circles, so close to what you want but never quite reaching it before you knock yourself back to the start and the cycle begins again. If youre going to bother starting and doing all that work , why not show yourself some kindness and respect by moving in a straight line toward your goals?
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Be Flexible When Needed
Allow yourself the flexibility you need when youre stressed without casting guilt. It doesnt have to be a gourmet meal every day. Maybe you eat the same simple thing every day for a week, buy takeout, or eat off of paper plates because thats where your energy level is, Tribole says. You don’t make or break your nutrition in one day or one week its what you do over a lifetime. Being kind to yourself and doing the best you can will ultimately help reduce your stress levels.
Tip : Nurture And Enjoy Your Relationships
Relationships are one of the biggest sources of happiness in our lives. Studies that look at happy people bear this out. The happier the person, the more likely that he or she has a large, supportive circle of family and friends, a fulfilling marriage, and a thriving social life.
Thats why nurturing your relationships is one of the best emotional investments you can make. If you make an effort to cultivate and build your connections with others, you will soon reap the rewards of more positive emotions. And as you become happier, you will attract more people and higher-quality relationships, leading to even greater positivity and enjoyment. Its the happiness gift that keeps on giving.
Make a conscious effort to stay connected. In our busy society, its easy to get caught up in our responsibilities and neglect our relationships. But losing touch with friends is one of the most common end-of-life regrets. Dont let it happen to you. Make an effort to stay connected to the people who make your life brighter. Take the time to call, write, or see each other in person. Youll be happier for it.
Offer sincere compliments. Think of the things you admire and appreciate about the other person and then tell them. This will not only make the other person happier, it will encourage him or her to be an even better friend or partner. As a practice of gratitude, it will also make you value the relationship more and feel happier.
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/ Start A New Pet Project
The dog runs deep for a reason. Interacting with animals promotes the release of serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin, all of which elevate your mood and keep low times on a tight leash. Were not saying you need to get a pet though they pay for themselves in #content but make use of the borrowing economy. Sign up to walk someone elses dog or look after someones cat.
Fake It Till You Make It
In other words, smiling can trick your brain into believing youre happy which can then spur actual feelings of happiness. But it doesnt end there. Dr. Murray Grossan, an ENT-otolaryngologist in Los Angeles points to the science of psychoneuroimmunology , asserting that it has been shown over and over again that depression weakens your immune system, while happiness on the other hand has been shown to boost our bodys resistance.
Whats crazy is that just the physical act of smiling can make a difference in building your immunity, says Dr. Grossan. When you smile, the brain sees the muscle and assumes that humor is happening.
In a sense, the brain is a sucker for a grin. It doesnt bother to sort out whether youre smiling because youre genuinely joyous, or because youre just pretending.
Even forcing a fake smile can legitimately reduce stress and lower your heart rate, adds Dr. Sivan Finkel, a cosmetic dentist at NYCs The Dental Parlour. A study performed by a group at the University of Cardiff in Wales found that people who could not frown due to botox injections were happier on average than those who could frown.
And there are plenty more studies out there to make you smile . Researchers at the University of Kansas published findings that smiling helps reduce the bodys response to stress and lower heart rate in tense situations another study linked smiling to lower blood pressure, while yet another suggests that smiling leads to longevity.
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Proven Ways To Worry Less And Feel Happier Right Now
Getting worked up over a mixed message from your boss or a 3-pound bump on the scale isn’t going to solve a problem. But being told to “stop worrying” is about as effective as trying to control the weather. Instead, you can use worry to your advantage, advises Kimberly Medlock, a professional organizer, time-management coach, and author of What Not to Do at the Office: 44 Annoying, Time-Wasting and Unproductive Habits in the Workplace. “Learn how to recognize worry, and then replace it with thinking,” she says. “Worry is when your thoughts are stuck on the problem. Thinking is when you are focused on finding a solution. Worry is useless and counterproductivethinking is progress.”
Follow these tips to switch off your worry response.
Worry with purposeChances are, your problem isn’t that you have too many worries but that you have too few strategies for dealing with them, says psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, MD. Sit down with a sheet of paper divided into three columns, he advises, and list all of your worries in the first column. In the second, write down the worst thing that can happen if what you’re worried about comes true. In the third, list three or four strategies for dealing with “the worst” and circle the one that you think you can handle. Then do it! An actionable game plan is almost always an antidote to worry.
Imagine the best-case scenario
Get Help If You Need It
There are people who can helpyou may just need to ask for it. Can you delegate some of your responsibilities? Can you accept ask for additional support from friends? At times, this can make a big difference in how you feel. And sometimes stress can be overwhelming in a way that becomes difficult to handle alone. If you think you may need more help than these tips can provide, I urge you to speak to your doctor or another professional who can help.
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Stop Focusing On What You Dont Have Instead Of What You Have
The easiest way to stop focusing on what you dont have is by not watching television commercials. Marketing teaches us to focus on what we dont have, and advertising campaigns spend millions of dollars convincing us that we must have what we dont yet have.
Can you think of a marketing campaign that teaches you to enjoy what you already have without buying something to enhance it? Odds are you cant.
In a world dictated by Super Bowl commercials and Facebook ads, it takes stalwart focus to recognize what you have more so than what you dont have. If you want a stress-free life now, get stalwart, and stop letting other people dictate your focus.
Tips From Pat Blumenthal Psyd
Relationship conflicts, work issues, parenting concerns we all deal with stress. Its a normal part of life, but if it builds up too much or for too long, it can take a toll on you. Even good stress caused by happy events, such as having a baby, buying a new home or starting a new job, can be taxing.
So its not unusual for people to tell me as soon as they walk in my door: Im really stressed out and Im having trouble with this. As we talk more, we start to see the impact that stress is having on their life: theyre developing other symptoms, such as anxiety, depression or sleep problems. Theyre acting differentlyavoiding going out or doing things they used to enjoy, sleeping too much or too little, eating too much or not enough, or overusing alcohol or other substances. In general, theyre less happy and not their normal selves.
If you notice any of these changes, it could be a sign of stress that needs to be addressed. If these changes are interfering with your responsibilities, such as getting to work or taking care of your family, then its critical to get some help.
Here are five things you can do to get back to less stress and more happy:
Get a complete physical
Talk to someone
Take a deep breath
Get better sleep
Find your happy place
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