20 Easy Ways To Eliminate Stress From Your Life

20 Easy Ways To Eliminate Stress From Your Life (Part 1)

Guest article by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits

You often see articles on ways to unwind and relax after a stressful day, which I always find useful, but for me the most important advice would be to get to the source of the problem, and cut stress out before it even happens. You can do that by careful editing of your life, and changing certain habits, you can eliminate most (not all) sources of stress in your life.

I don’t believe that a stress-free life is possible. Stress is a response to challenges in life, and a life without challenges is too boring to contemplate. However, I do believe that most of the stress in our lives is unnecessary, and that it can be eliminated by taking some simple (and some not-so-simple) steps. It can’t be accomplished overnight — I’ve been eliminating stressors in my life for a while now, and I’m still not done, but I think it’s a worthwhile goal.

Let’s first take a look at an example — it’s a little extreme, but it exemplifies the typical stressors in people’s lives. Let’s say Fred gets up in the morning, waking up late, and now has to rush to get ready. He’s so rushed that he spills his coffee on his shirt and has to change, a nicks himself shaving. He heads out the door and then has to go back in the house because he forgot his wallet. He gets in the car and realizes he forgot his keys.

Now he’s on the way in to work and is in the middle of rush-hour traffic — and his temper starts to flare after someone cuts him off. He’s honking at people, cursing, and arrives to work late and in a bad mood. He snaps at someone and is surly all morning. His desk is covered in piles of paper, and he can’t find that report he needs to work on. His inbox is overflowing and his email notification is going off, and he sees he has 36 messages to respond to. He knows he’s late on two projects and his boss isn’t happy. He’s got to finish 5 tasks before the 11 a.m. meeting, and he’s got meetings all afternoon.

You get the idea. His day does not go well, and he hits rush-hour traffic on the way home. He gets home late, exhausted, completely stressed, his mind still on his late and as-yet uncompleted projects, his still-full inbox and email inbox, and all the stuff piling up that he has to work on tomorrow. The house is a mess and he snaps at his family. His kids have not put things away exactly where he told them to put them away, so he begins to yell at them. He has a quick, greasy dinner in front of the TV and zones out before falling asleep late. Again, this is a bit extreme, but you can see through this illustration some of the things that stress people out. There are many more, of course, and I won’t cover all of them here.

Here then are some easy ways to eliminate stress from your life:

  1. Identify Stressors

    This is the most important step of all, as identifying the things that stress you out in your life is the first step towards eliminating them. Make a Top 10 list, and see which of them can be eliminated, and start to weed them out.

  2. Eliminate Unnecessary Commitments

    We all have multiple commitments in life, but we might be taking on unnecessary ones which can only lead to stress. Consider each of the commitments that you have and the amount of stress they provide, and the value you get out of them. Edit brutally, and take steps today to remove the ones that stress you out the most.

  3. Stay Away from Procrastination

    We procrastinate, of course. But allowing stuff to pile up will stress us out. Find ways to take care of stuff now (form a Do It Now habit) and keep your inbox and desk clear. See 20 Procrastination Hacks for more ideas.

  4. Get Organised

    We’re all disorganised to some extent. Even if we’ve organized something, and created a great system for keeping it that way, things tend to move towards chaos over time. Take time to get things in your life organised, starting with your desk and the papers in your home, and moving on to other areas.

  5. Don’t Be Late

    Being late is another source of stress. When you know that you are running late, you tend to rush things and that leads to stress. Make a point out of being on time all the time.

  6. Don’t Try to Control Everything

    Are you a control freak? If you are then you are bound to become frustrated because no matter what you do you cannot control everything. So give up your aim of trying to control everyone and everything around you.

  7. Don’t Multitask

    We hear a lot about multitasking these days and how you should learn that, but if you want to be free from stress, give your aim of multitasking. You will only end up being frustrated and stressed.

  8. Eliminate Energy Drains

    If you’ve analyzed your life and found things that stress you out, you might have also noticed things that drain your energy. Certain things in our life just cause us to be more exhausted than others, with less value. Identify them, and cut them out.

  9. Avoid Difficult People

    Dealing with difficult people will only lead to you being stressed. Do everything that you can in order to avoid them.

  10. Simplify Your Life

    Simplify your routines, your commitments, your information intake, your cluttered rooms, the mass of stuff going on in your life … and have less stress as a result.

Summary: 20 Easy Ways To Eliminate Stress From Your Life (Part 1)

Simplify your routines, your commitments, your information intake, your cluttered rooms, the mass of stuff going on in your life … and have less stress as a result.

Continued in 20 Easy Ways To Eliminate Stress From Your Life – Part 2

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