I HATE STRESS! I think the worse part of stress is the fact that once you’re done stressing over something, the situation didn’t seem so bad in the first place. I’m an extremist and I tend to stress over the dumbest things, and here are just some techniques I use to get rid of all of the MADNESS in my life!
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; take 10 minutes to think about what stresses you out during the day. What weekly occurrences stress you out? What people, activities, things cause stress in your life? Make a Top 10 list, and see which of them can be eliminated, and start to weed them out.
Procrastination: We all do this, 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.
Disorganization: We’re all disorganized 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. But disorganization stresses us out, in terms of visual clutter, and in making it difficult to find stuff we need. Take time to get things in your life organized, starting with your desk and the papers in your home, and moving on to other areas.
Late: Being late always stresses us out. We have to rush to get ready, rush to get there, and stress out the whole time about looking bad and being late. Learn the habit of being early, and this stress disappears. Make a conscious effort to start getting ready earlier, and to leave earlier. This also makes driving less stressful. Time yourself to see how long it actually takes to get ready, and how long it actually takes to get somewhere. You’ve probably been underestimating these times. Once you know these times, you can plan backwards so that you show up 10 minutes early each time. It’s a good feeling.
Controlling: We are not the Master of this Universe. I know we sometimes wish we were, but acting as if we are is a sure way to get stressed out. Trying to control situations and people cannot work, and only serves to increase our anxiety when it doesn’t work. Learn to let go, and accept the way that other people do things, and accept what happens in different situations. The only thing you can control is yourself — work on that before you consider trying to control the world. Also learn to separate yourself from tasks and to delegate them. Learning to let go of our need to control others and the situations around us is a major step towards eliminating stress.
Multitasking: Having multiple tasks going on at the same time might seem productive, but in actuality it slows us down from actually focusing on a task and completing it — and it stresses us out in the meantime. Learn to single-task.
Eliminate Energy Drains: If you’ve analyzed your life (in Step 1) 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. You’ll have much more energy and much less stress. Happiness ensues.
Avoid Difficult people: You know who they are. If you take a minute to think about it, you can identify all the people in your life — bosses, coworkers, customers, friends, family, etc. — who make your life more difficult. Now, you could confront them and do battle with them, but that will most certainly be difficult. Just cut them out of your life.
Simplify Life: Simplifying, of course, is a major theme of Zen Habits. 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.
Unschedule: Create more open periods of time in your life. It’s not necessary to schedule every minute of our lives. Learn to avoid meetings, keep wide open blocks of time where we either work on our important tasks or batch process the smaller ones. When someone asks to schedule a meeting, first try to get it done through email or phone … if that doesn’t work, avoid having it scheduled. Ask them to call you and see if you’re free at that time. You will love having an open schedule.
Slow Down: Instead of rushing through life, learn to take things slow. Enjoy your food, enjoy the people around you, enjoy nature. This step alone can save tons of stress.
Help Others: It may sound contradictory to add more tasks to your life by trying to help other people (you’ve got enough to do), but if you were to add anything to your life, this should be it. Helping others, whether volunteering for a charity organization or just making an effort to be compassionate towards people you meet, not only gives you a very good feeling, it somehow lowers your stress level. Of course, this doesn’t work if you try to control others, or help others in a very rushed and frenetic way — learn to take it easy, enjoy yourself, and let things happen, as you work to make the lives of others better.
Relax Throughout The Day: It’s important to take mini-breaks during your work day. Stop what you’re doing, massage your shoulders and neck and head and hands and arms, get up and stretch, walk around, drink some water. Go outside and appreciate the fresh air and the beautiful sky. Talk to someone you like. Life doesn’t have to be all about productivity. You should also avoid using online activity too much as your de-stressing activity — get away from the computer to relax.
Quit Work: This one’s drastic, and probably too drastic for most. But in most likelihood, your work is your absolute biggest stressor. Getting out of your 9-to-5, automating your income, and finding something you truly love to do, that you’re passionate about, will create a positive life and much less stressful one at that. Give it a little thought before dismissing it — there might be possibilities here you haven’t considered.
Simplify Your To-Do List: I’ve written about this before, but attempting to do everything on your long to-do list will definitely stress you out. Learn to simplify your to-do list down to the few essential tasks, and you will enjoy the process much more.
Exercise: This is common advice for stress relief, and that’s because it works … but it’s also a stress prevention method. Exercising helps relieve the stress buildup, it gives you some quiet time to contemplate and relax, and just as importantly, it makes you more fit. A fitter person is better equipped to handle stress. Another important factor: being unhealthy can be a major stressor (especially once you have to go to the hospital), and exercise can help prevent that.
Eat Healthy: This goes hand-in-hand with exercise as a stress prevention method, of course. Become healthier and a major source of stress will disappear. Also, I’ve found that greasy food, for me, puts me in a worse mood and can contribute to stress levels immediately.
Be Grateful: This might not be as obvious as some of the others, but developing an attitude of gratitude (I sound like a preacher with that rhyme!) is a way of thinking positive, eliminating negative thinking from your life, and thereby reducing stress. Learn to be grateful for what you have, for the people in your life, and see it as a gift. With this sort of outlook on life, stress will go down and happiness will go up. That’s a winning formula.
Zen-like Environment: Take time to declutter your desk (as mentioned above) and even once you do that, continually edit your desk and working space, and the things in your home, until you’ve created a simple, peaceful, Zen-like environment. It will be much less stressful to work in an environment like that than a more cluttered and distracting one.
PRAY: I cannot stress enough how importatnt this exercise is, sometimes it’s as easy as talking to GOD…trust me…he’ll calm you down and sho you the way!
Okay, so it’s a new year and a NEW YOU! Like most of you many people bring in the NEW YEAR different ways because it gives everyone a chance to start over with a clear mind, clear conscience, and a clear spirit.
This year for the fourth year in a row I will be participating in the Daniel Fast. The Daniel Fast is a 21 day fast a great way to bring in the NEW YEAR!
Here’s a quick breakdown of the Daniel Fast:
Answer: The concept of a Daniel fast comes from Daniel 1:8-14, “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, ‘I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.’
Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, ‘Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.’ So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.”
The background of the Daniel fast is that Daniel and his three friends had been deported to Babylon when Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians conquered Judah (2 Kings 24:13-14). Daniel and his three friends were put into the Babylonian court servant “training program.” Part of the program was learning Babylonian customs, beliefs, laws, and practices. The eating habits of the Babylonians were not in complete agreement with the Mosaic Law. As a result, Daniel asked if he and his three friends could be excused from eating the meat (which was likely sacrificed to Babylonian false gods and idols).
So, a Daniel fast is eating only fruits and vegetables for a certain amount of time and abstaining from meat products. Some people use a Daniel fast as a dieting method. Some people use a Daniel fast instead of fasting from food entirely. The Bible nowhere commands believers to observe a Daniel fast. As a result, it is a matter of Christian freedom whether to observe a Daniel fast
ALL FRUITS; these can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Fruits include but are not limited to apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, figs, grapefruit, grapes, guava, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, strawberries, tangelos, tangerines, watermelon
ALL VEGETABLES; these can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Vegetables include but are not limited to artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chili peppers, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, ginger root, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions, parsley, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, scallions, spinach, sprouts, squashes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, watercress, yams, zucchini, veggie burgers are an option if you are not allergic to soy.
ALL whole grains, including but not limited to whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, oats, barley, grits, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas, rice cakes and popcorn.
ALL nuts and seeds, including but not limited to sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, sesame. Also nut butters including peanut butter.
ALL legumes. These can be canned or dried. Legumes include but are not limited to dried beans, pinto beans, split peas, lentils, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, black beans, cannellini beans, white beans.
ALL quality oils including but not limited to olive, canola, grape seed, peanut, and sesame.
BEVERAGES: spring water, distilled water or other pure waters.
Other: tofu, soy products, vinegar, seasonings, salt, herbs and spices.
Foods to AVOID on the Daniel Fast
ALL meat and animal products including but not limited to beef, lamb, pork, poultry, and fish.
ALL dairy products including but not limited to milk, cheese, cream, butter, and eggs.
ALL sweeteners including but not limited to sugar, raw sugar, honey, syrups, molasses, and cane juice.
ALL leavened bread including Ezekiel Bread (it contains yeast and honey) and baked goods.
ALL refined and processed food products including but not limited to artificial flavorings, food additives, chemicals, white rice, white flour, and foods that contain artificial preservatives.
ALL deep-fried foods including but not limited to potato chips, French fries, corn chips.
ALL solid fats including shortening, margarine, lard and foods high in fat.
BEVERAGES including but not limited to coffee, tea, herbal teas, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol.
Remember, READ THE LABELS!
“Having started a dozen businesses over the past couple decades, the one that motivated me was vision. If you cannot have a vision of where you want to be in ten years, twenty, or however many, then you will not succeed. This comes along with a basic business plan, but in that plan, don’t just think now, but think as far down the road as possible.”
“The biggest mistake people make is not looking far enough ahead in your market. So many businesses are losing ground to new technologies as example, so think ahead on how to better utilize these new technologies. With the current recession, how many planned for it? Every business will go through cycles of growth and market demize, just as we are all now seeing, so again, think ahead, have vision beyond today is one of the keys to success.”
“I think it is because of lack of planning and focus on what you are doing.”
#2: Surrounding Yourself With People Who Don’t Believe In Your Idea
“Another mistake would be surrounding yourselves with people (whether by accident or because they’re family, etc) who don’t believe in your idea. You need to be around positive feedback all the time.”
“Yeah, I totally believe surrounding yourself in people who dont believe you will succeed is bad. Especially when they bag out your idea, without actually giving their opinion. I have alot of people who with my current start up like that, so I choose not to speak with them. It makes you more determined I guess too.”
“Letting the negativity of those around you bring you down and “steal your dream”.”
“Also, (the) people that surround you affect your decision, so be wise and careful.”
#3: Not Having Enough Money
“I think this is big for those businesses that have the incentive to only reap the benefits and not focus on the longevity of your venture. Taking out $10k now may prevent making $100k in a few months. Mindsets should not be “Yeah I own a buiness I make this much” but rather “Yeah I own a business, we invested in XYZ and were able to afford this new service/expand here/etc” Also, too many people plan on the basic expenses of starting up, and don’t think about the increased expense that come with a more successful, growing, developing business.”
“In my personal experiences, I didnt look enough into the current market for my idea just see what is already out there, and underestimating the amount of capital needed to start the business.”
#4: Doing It All Alone
“Lots of CEO personalities think they have to be the answer to all problems, and this is not the case. Their pride and mindset of “I must live up to this role” is skewed and they may fail to tap the most important and valuable resources that surround them in their management team and affiliates.”
“Trying to do it all by yourself and not asking for help is also one of the reason why people find it hard to start a business. I mean, you can always have skilled people working for you for costs that is right on the budget. You just have to have the proper resources and people and your business will be up and running in no time.”
#5: Not Seeking Mentors
“I think having a mentor – a much more experienced entrepreneur that can give you some valuable advice is so IMPORTANT…especially when you are a young and overly ambitious… and with so many challenges to meet on the way to success.”
“Having a mentor is extremely important since my mentor advised me that creating a successful business will take a lot of time, effort, patience, dedication, and a clear plan and vision.”
#6: Losing Momentum
“Being satisfied and content with functioning can lead to “big headedness” and false hope that it will always be this way. You need to constantly improve your product/service, research your around-the-clock changing market and competition, and promote innovation and forward progress amongst your management and team.”
#7: Not Marketing Your Business / Expecting People To Come To You
“A few mistakes that I personally made was the lack of focus on a targeted marketing plan, and the miscalculation on future expected growth.”
#8: Not Looking At Your Competition
“I think it is a big mistake to start a business without really understand the market.”
#9: Being Overly Enthusiastic and Not Having Realistic Goals
“A few mistakes that I personally made was the lack of focus on a targeted marketing plan, and the miscalculation on future expected growth.”
#10: Not Thinking Survival
“Too many people think that so long as everything is done “textbook” and they have the proper set up, and plans down on paper, that they will succeed. Also, many people have the idea that it is easy to keep it up after they get an initial consumer base. Not true. small businesses are small fish in a big pond, constantly competing against emerging and growing bigger competitors that have the backing, both monetarily and resourcefully, to push them out of the picture.”
#11: Doing It Just For The Money
“If you want guaranteed income, go out and apply for a job, do your day to day task, and collect the check. Many times people try and look for the most lucrative, profitable idea that they can score an easy amount of money in so they can “live the dream”. A true Entrepreneur lives the dream by constantly growing and changing to address their market and benefit those who use their product/service. You need to cover costs and have the right to strive for wealth, sure, but that will NEVER come unless you sacrifice first and realize that the longevity and future potential for your business to weather the conditions presented from changing needs and business priorities, is first and foremost, or else you have simply wasted your time and effort to have your 15min and now are snuffed out thereafter.”