Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Live the Stress Free Lifestyle

Stress is absolutely terrible for you.

It causes a myriad of health problems ranging from high blood pressure to decreased immune response and increased likelihood of the onset of a fatal disease like cancer to, worst of all, hair loss!

No one likes feeling stressed, so why do we do it to ourselves?

I know what you're thinking. "Go suck an egg Arun! I don't CHOOSE to be stressed! There's just so much going on around me that I have no choice!"

Allow me explain before condemning me to the dreaded punishment of egg sucking please.

I pretty much NEVER stress. Sure I have a lot of concerns, problems, and tasks I need to complete, but in any case, I generally never let this abundance of "stuff" stress me. If I do start to feel a little stressed, I immediately come up with multiple reasons for why I shouldn't be worrying. In fact, sometimes I'm probably TOO cavalier about certain things, but that's a much better fault to have than to be over stressed.

On the other end of the spectrum are people who almost ALWAYS feel stressed. A lot of them have the same profile: commonly not physically fit, they don't sleep well, often irritable, always in a rush, and always complaining about how much stuff they have to do.

The first thing I've noticed is that people who are very stressed are generally not good time managers. To them it seems like they are since their plate always seems full, but they're really not. I've found two keys to great time management.

Key 1: Have a routine. When you have a routine, everything that MUST get done everyday gets done automatically. Why don't we stress about the time it takes to brush our teeth and take a shower? Because it's something that, regardless of everything else, MUST GET ACCOMPLISHED everyday! Since it's built into our schedule, we don't even think about it.

Start building certain tasks into your routine, and do them at the same time everyday. Make them automatic and you'll be surprised how much you get done and how much less you worry about it.

Key 2: Eliminate dead time. This is the wasted time that always ends up being unproductive, between activities. If you have to go grocery shopping, don't come home after work! Do it all while you're out and you'll save the dead time you would have wasted puttering around.

When you block together all of your tasks for the day, all the "dead time" gets banked up and you have a lot more free time at the end of the day.

For example, I have to get gas and go shopping at Costco exactly once a week. So, every Monday after work, I go to Costco on the way home and accomplish both tasks in one go. Even if don't NEED to go that day (like if I have enough groceries for a few more days and a half tank of gas), I go anyways because I know I won't have to worry about gassing up or shopping for the rest of the week.

Instead of going out or just hanging out in the cafeteria when I take lunch during the day, I go do my cardio workout, then eat as I work afterwards. After work, I go straight to the gym to lift weights.

I block all of these tasks together and consequently have way more time at the end of the day for my own fun activities.

I would STRONGLY suggest including daily exercise in your "block" of activities. Exercise is not only great for you physically, but mentally it's a great stress reliever. Furthermore, there are great physiological benefits to exercise such as increased levels of dopamine and norepinephrine which contribute to positive emotional state.

Another key to managing stress is to use lists. I make a list of things I want to accomplish EVERYDAY. I make a big, ambitious list in the morning, and split my tasks up into smaller items so I have more lines to cross off. Psychologically, it feels better getting to frequently cross off "to do" items.

I find it really relieves your mind of the burden of having to remember all the things you have to do when you write them down. Now, I just focus on the task at hand and don't worry about having to remember anything since it's all jotted down anyways.

"But Arun, what about the times when there really is just too much to do!"

In that case, you need to prioritize (maybe even make a list of your priorities!) and acknowledge the fact that not everything will get done and there's nothing you can do. If it's beyond your control, why worry about it? All you can do is put forth 100% of your effort, and anything that remains incomplete, is what it is.

You should also EMBRACE deadlines. The beauty of deadlines, is it provides a mental "finish line" where you know that after that point, everything will be over, regardless of the completeness.

Lastly, remember the good ol' cliche: "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!"

If, during the course of the day, someone an asshole to you, brush it off. They're actions are obviously not worth valuing and should thus not affect your emotional state. If anything, THEY should be the ones who are more stressed as they are expending needless negative energy in being an asshole.

If someone forgets his tickets and glasses to a certain football game, and you have to go all the way home to get them for him since he's out mountain biking somewhere (can you tell this happened to me this weekend? :), oh well. It was an accident, and at the end of the day, the only difference is you might have a little less gas.

No Biggie.

Hop on board the stress free train, and ride Life the way it was meant to be experienced!

1 comment:

phuckpolitics said...

When I start to feel stressed out, I just smoke some cannabis and rub one out.

That's just me though.