Stress is one of those pesky little things that unfortunately all of us have to deal with every once and a while. Some of us, however, may feel stressed-out more than others. In fact, if you’re anything like me, then you know what it’s like living with constant feelings of stress and anxiety.
This is no way to live. And that’s why I’m happy to tell you that there are actionable steps you can take to seriously reduce the stress levels in your life.
So sit back and relax, because here are 10 of the most effective ways of creating a truly stress-free mindset (so that you can start living your best life!).
1. Focus on the present moment
You’ve heard it before (probably a thousand times), but I’m gonna tell you again – mindfulness is key! When it comes to living a stress-free life, this is seriously where it all begins.
Mindfulness means actively grounding yourself in the present moment. Too often, we spend our days locked up in our minds either ruminating over the past or worrying about the future. This leads to a constant underlying feeling of stress and uneasiness. The only antidote to this is bringing your attention fully to the present moment.
Ask yourself: How am I feeling right here, right now?
2. Exercise regularly
Exercise has been proven time and time again to reduce stress and increase your happy hormones. It’s basically a one-stop shop for feeling good and getting those anxiety levels down!
The best way to start implementing exercise into your daily routine is to not think of it as a chore and instead think of it as a tool to improve your mental health.
And remember – you don’t have to do a super intesne workout either! Even just going for a 20 minute walk can make a world of difference when you’re having a stressful day.
Ask yourself: what type of physical activity would suit my taste and my daily schedule?
Related Article: 4 Ways Your Physical Health Can Heal Your Mind
3. Stick to a daily routine
This one tends to be hard for many people (including myself), but it’s essential in helping reduce stress on a day-to-day basis. Here are the 3 main reasons why:
#1 – It reduces the number of decisions you have to make during the day (= less chance of “decision fatigue)
#2 – It helps make you more efficient and wastes less time (= less overall stress)
#3 – It helps you stick to daily habits that make you feel GOOD (such as going to bed at a certain time, eating at certain times, etc)
Ask yourself: what daily routine would help me be the most efficient, while also the most calm?
4. Focus on one thing at a time
If you’ve ever had one of those days when you just have LOADS of stuff on your to-do list, then you’ll know that multi-tasking only makes things worse.
The truth is, when we try to do too many things at once, it usually backfires. Not only are we actually less efficient (because we’re splitting our focus), but we also get more overwhelmed! Try giving yourself a break and just focus your attention on one thing at a time.
Ask yourself: What items are the MOST pressing? What items can wait until a bit later?
5. Simplify your schedule
Despite what we may want to beleive, we really can’t do it all.
In fact, one of my favourite sayings is “you can do anything, but you can’t do everything”. This is great life advice. Honestly, sometimes you just need to make a compromise with yourself.
Ask yourself: what items can I cut from my to-do list? (yes, it’s supposed to be hard!).
6. Work on your confidence
Sometimes we feel stressed at work or at school (or in other areas of our lives) because we don’t think we are good enough.
We think that we won’t be able to get something done on time or that it won’t be good enough. This can cause significant amounts of stress.
Working on your confidence is a great way to get to the core of the problem. I actually have some free journal worksheet for self-love (and consequently self-confidence) that you can sign up for below! And you’ll also get other worksheets that help with productivity and more!
Ask yourself: What areas in my life could use a little self-esteem boost?
7. Use the 5-4-3-2-1 rule
The 5-4-3-2-1 rule was created by Mel Robbins and it’s a strategy that can help reduce procrastination and ultimately lead to reduced stress.
Basically, this principle just involves counting down from 5 and just doing whatever you don’t feel like doing when you reach 1. Almost like a ‘ready-set-go’ for your goals!
This rule does work IF you really commit to it. It’s not a magical cure-all for procrastination, but with practice and commitment it can really help!
Ask yourself: what do I really need to do but really don’t feel like doing?
8. Trust that things will be okay
Obviously, this one is much easier said than done, but it’s all about creating a gradual mindset shift.
Next time you find yourself stressing about something, try to accept the fact that most likely, things will work out. And if they don’t go super great, you’re strong enough to handle it!
This is a principle that was extremely helpful in helping me reduce stress in my life and overcome anxiety.
Ask yourself: what’s the worst that could happen? (hint: it’s probabaly not that bad, and you’ll very likely be able to handle it!)
Related Article: How to Let Go of Things You Can’t Control to Live Anxiety-Free
9. Focus on things that bring you joy
If you spend some time focusing on things that bring you joy, you’ll have less time to think about the things that make you stressed.
You’ll also generally feel happier, which will lead to more mental resilience when dealing with stress.
Ask yourself: what makes my soul light up?
10. Take time to reflect on the things that make you the most stressed
We are all so different, and what’s stressful for one person may not be stressful for the next.
This is why it’s important to identify what is causing stress for you and think of ways that will help you to reduce that stress in your life.
Ask yourself: what are my particular stress-triggers?