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7 Days To Stress Less

September 19, 2014 3 min read

Day 1 - Get a Day-planner When you're constantly trying to remember to do things, your mind is never in the moment. You may have trouble sleeping because you're constantly trying to plan the next day. You may have difficulty getting things done because you can't prioritize. Making lists can relieve a ton of stress. If you jot down everything you need to get done the next day before you hit your pillow, you can sleep easy knowing that you're not forgetting anything. If you don't have one, get an agenda and plan a date and time for even the simplest things like doing laundry and getting groceries so you don't have to think about it until you need to. Day 2 - Get a Goal There's nothing more stressful than feeling like you're not moving forward. If yesterday looks like today, and today looks like tomorrow, you're inevitably going to get anxious. This anxiety can express itself through irritability, poor work ethic and overall dissatisfaction. Setting goals gives you something to work towards, and the progression towards those goals can be immensely satisfying. Start with a list of small, achievable goals that can be reached by the end of the week, like finishing 2 litres of water in a day, or organizing your closet. Then make a list of more long term goals, like starting a business or buying house. Then, actively work towards these goals every day this week - even if it's just passing up on purchasing an expensive coat, or picking the colour of your future kitchen. Working towards tangible goals lets your mind escape from the daily grind and remind you what you're working for. Day 3 - Get Outside In a study led by Peter Kahn at the University of Washington, participants in an office setting were given three views: a window, a digital display of the window, and a blank wall. When stress levels were increased artificially, the participants with the window were able to return to a regular heartbeat significantly faster than the other two test groups. This means just looking at nature can decrease stress. At work today, when you're confronted with something particularly stressful, take a minute to go for a walk. Take note of how much more centred you feel when you get back, and make a conscious effort to get out more often. Day 4 - Get Decluttered Organizing your apartment/office/pantry can be very therapeutic. There's something about getting rid of the excess that just makes us feel clean. If your desk is a disaster, chances are, so are your thoughts. You'll be surprised how much more efficient you work when you're in an organized space. Day 5 - Get Involved "Overthinking without being able to resolve anything draws us deeper into a feeling of being overwhelmed," says Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, author of Women Who Think Too Much. Staying busy can stop your stewing and put your energy into something healthier. Join a yoga class. Buy a cookbook that will challenge you. Take a Spanish class. Sign up for something today that you are interested in and take the time to truly let yourself enjoy it. Day 6 - Get a Plant There's a reason we love the spring, and it's not just because it marks the end of winter. In a 2008 study in the Netherlands, hospital patients who had indoor plants in their rooms reported significantly less levels of stress than the control rooms. Find something bright and cheery but realistic (if you're a succulent, you're a succulent). Brighten up you're apartment and watch it curb your mood. Day 7 - Get a Journal It's easy to sink into a negativity hole when you're stressed out. When you're constantly looking at things worst-case-scenario, you miss a lot of the positives that could pull you out of your slump. Buy a journal on day seven and write down the highlight of your day before you go to bed each night. Keep it to one sentence so it doesn't feel like a chore. When you're forced to reflect on the positives, you'll begin to notice them more and more. Over time, it can entirely transform your attitude.

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