“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.” ~ Steve Maraboli

Sometimes, no matter how enlightened we become, we are still plagued by stress. Stress comes in many shapes and forms, but it’s a general feeling that makes us feel confused and paralyzed by negative emotions. In the busy modern lifestyle, many people are unable to shake off the stress that comes with the whirling activity.

Stress should not be confused with motivation or growing; in life we will all experience constrictions that help us grow, or move onto the next stage in life. These constrictions are the destinies of our life playing out, and helping us become who we need to be.

Stress on the other hand, is unneeded negative emotions that keep us in a state of worry, and slow down our work. One does not need to sit and meditate in order to live a stress-free life. Just a few practices can slow down the hectic worrying and leave you happier and more productive in the long run.

1) Minimize technology

Technology has taken over many of our lives; making everything easier, and also a lot more hectic. Because we have the ability to get many more things done at once, we are also held to higher expectations of productivity. With everything moving faster and faster, it’s hard to call a time-out and take some time away from this manic frenzy of the technological world.

Turning off technology can be a surprisingly refreshing breather. As long as you’re not an EMT worker, or expecting a business call, most people have the power to turn off their phone, without missing anything too important. Let your loved ones know that you are going on a technology cleanse and turn off your phone for an afternoon, a day, or even a week. You will instantly feel calmer, and free to get things done, or do what you really want with your day.

2) Do what you love

“One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.” ~ Bertrand Russell

Feeling productive doesn’t feel as good as when you’ve been productive in things that you care about. Along with the work that’s needed from you, there should also be a balance of doing things you love; whether it’s spending time with loved ones, painting, playing ball, or working for a cause close to your heart, etc.

Making time for hobbies, and projects that we are passionate about, makes our lives more fulfilling, and keeps us from getting stuck in the vicious 9-5 cycle.

3) Make work and play separate

Many people choose a profession based on what they like to do, and what will fulfill them. And they’ve got the right idea. Our passions and talents lead us to our purposes and jobs in this world. But it is equally as important to keep our passion going outside of our professional work.

stressed lifeI love writing; it is one of the most passionate feelings of mine that I cannot live without; and so I try to write for a living because this is where my passions and talents have led me. But every once in awhile I remember that although I have turned my writing into a fulfilling job, I also have to continue writing for myself.

And so I continue writing poetry and other such writings to stay in touch with the play side of my now working talent. This not only keeps my creativity flowing but feeds my soul with the food it needs.

4) Get rid of toxins in your life

Much like a healthy food diet, the diet for a stress free life sometimes requires a detox. In order to live fully and stress free we must look at the influences in our lives; whether it be the relationships we allow in our life, our habits, our environments, even our belongings. Relationships that are detrimental or unsupportive will bring a person down to an extreme degree, until they are constantly being filled with stress from this outside influence.

People who suck energy or bring us down with negative words and energies should not be allowed to have an influence in our lives. The same with habits and environments; look at your typical day and decide which habits and environments are working toward giving you a healthier lifestyle, and which are not. Removing these toxic influences will slowly empty your life from unneeded stress points, allowing you to focus on what’s really important to you.

5) Let it out

stress-quoteA big part of stress comes from holding things in for too long. Some people are afraid to let out negative emotions, and this causes the negativity to build up inside, until one day it must burst.

This is responsible for a lot of stress, depression, and health problems in many. Others are afraid to let any emotions bubble up, even if it may be positive emotions or personal truths and expression.

Speaking our truths, and having creative outlets, allows us to release in a healthy and constructive way. Even those who claim they are not creative are able, and should take part in creative outlets. These releases are less about the artistic outcome, and more about the therapeutic and de-stressing effects it can have on us.

6) Don’t listen to the “I should’s.”

Many people accept too much work on their plate, or work that is not meant for them, because they feel they “should.” Taking on too much responsibility that is not ours causes us much unneeded stress in our every-day life.

From the party we feel we “should” attend, or the extra project we “should” take on; the person we “should” see, or the things we “should” buy; these “should’s” eat up our precious time and add more stress to our lives.

Creating our own responsibilities, and learning to say no to others workloads are important for our transition into a stress-free life. Look at your “plate” of work and prioritize your work-load, putting unnecessary “should’s” at the bottom, or off the list completely.

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