The desire to reduce stress is a common goal for most people. We are so entrenched in our routines, habits, and ways of doing things we rarely stop and consider new ways of dealing with the stresses of daily living. Well, I have a few ideas that may help you in this area. I call it simplifying your style.
Your style is the way or manner in which you say and do things. It’s expressed in your actions and tastes.
By simplifying your style, you are setting up how you are going to respond to stress-producing events in advance. In other words, you are making a decision based on your desire to reduce stress in your life.
I call it simplifying your style because this strategy strips away all the unproductive, unreasonable, and sometimes insane ways we deal with common daily events and simplifies it. That’s it. No complicated analysis is necessary. Just use your common sense and look for ways to simplify your way of doing and responding to things.
Any measures that you take to reduce stress will benefit your health tremendously. Your body will function better and you’ll have more energy to do the activities that bring you joy. You’ll also reduce your chances of getting cancer and other ailments like heart disease. Most medical experts agree that stress plays a central role in producing these abnormalities. If you read medical reports about the causes of various diseases, stress is often on the list. When you reduce stress, you increase your body’s ability to fight off disease and other illnesses including the flu.
How much stress do primitive tribes living in remote jungles have on a daily basis? These tribes, who have had little or no exposure to modern living, obviously have a simple way of living but they also have a simple way of thinking. Simple thinking has nothing whatsoever to do with intelligence. In fact, simple thinking and living is a shared value of many geniuses. People who have never studied these cultures would immediately presume that these tribal people lacked intelligence and that their way of living was despicable.
I felt the same way until I watched a documentary that showed an anthropologist interviewing members of a primitive tribe. (I don’t remember where the tribe was located.) The anthropologist asked the tribal members what they thought of our way of living in comparison to their own. They told the interviewer that they thought our way of living was insane and that we must not be too intelligent. If you look at our modern society and compare it to people who are living a much simpler existence, who is really living the better life? I think the answer is somewhere in the middle. Both simple (or primitive) and modern societies can benefit by learning from each other.
You can implement the strategy of simplifying your style to reduce stress in many areas. Your goal is to set up new ways of handling issues that bring about stress because of the negative emotions that they create. For example, if it’s your habit to argue with anyone who doesn’t share your political views, you are creating a lot of stress in your body. And you are doing it for no meaningful purpose or constructive end. Here are 9 areas where you can simplify your style and in doing so reduce stress.
1. Stop Arguing
Arguing is a waste of time. No one ever wins. If you win an argument, the other person feels slighted and annoyed by you. If you lose, you feel this way about them. You’d be better off playing a game of tic-tac-toe.
The first thing that two quarreling people will say when another person asks them to stop arguing is, “We are not arguing! We are having a discussion!” Any so-called discussion that gets competitive and/or heated is an argument.
Simplify your style into being a person who does not argue. You do this because you recognize the senselessness of arguing and your desire to reduce stress in your life.
2. Stop Giving Your Unsolicited Opinion
Closely related to arguing is the compulsion to give your opinion when you haven’t been asked for it. The outcome is always the same. People instantly become resistant and defensive when someone gives their unsolicited opinion. They don’t want to hear it and they resent you for giving it even if you are right! This is especially true if your opinion is, or might be interpreted as criticism.
On the other hand, if someone asks you for your opinion the entire game changes. The asker is now receptive to your opinion and they will listen and consider it. They may still get mad, however. Therefore, I would suggest that you give your opinion in a limited and tactful manner.
There’s a fine line between giving your opinion and offering a suggestion in a situation where some serious damage might occur. In these situations, I have found that asking carefully worded questions about the issue of concern works best.
Don’t allow the giving of your opinion to slip into an argument. Some people will lead you into an argument by asking for your opinion. If you sense this, don’t give it. If you discover that this is happening after you’ve given your opinion, end it there.
Simplify your style into being a person who doesn’t give your opinion unless you’re asked for it emphatically. You do this to improve your relationships and reduce stress in your body.
3. Stop Reacting When Others Speak Angrily
When people talk angrily about something, our tenancy is to react to their anger by getting tight, defensive, and stressed. Unless the anger is directed at us, there is no logical reason to react this way.
You are not responsible for the other person’s anger or the damage that it may be causing to their body. The same is true if you become angry –- no one else is responsible for causing it or getting rid of it.
If a co-worker, friend, or family member insists on vocalizing their anger about something, don’t allow yourself to be drawn into it. If possible, politely excuse yourself.
Modify your style into being a person who does not react to another person’s anger. You do this because you know that it will reduce stress in your body and protect your health.
4. Stop Requiring Perfection of Yourself & Others
Perfection is an impossible objective. Why drive yourself crazy trying to achieve an impossible goal? No baseball player can bat 1000. No one can write the perfect article, book, song, poem, or speech. In reality, the drive for perfection gets in the way of creativity.
Some of the most creative endeavors are a deliberate break from perfection and conventional thinking. The personal computer wasn’t brought about by the quest to perfect the existing systems. It was created by ignoring the pursuit to perfect the current computing methods and striving for innovation and practicality instead.
Giving up the need for perfection is a clear-cut way to reduce stress. Simplify your style into being a person who doesn’t require perfection by knowing that it’s a fool’s quest.
5. Stop Trying to Please Everyone
Trying to please everyone is insanity or a least it can bring it about. If you consider all the variations of personalities and likes and dislikes of people, it should be obvious that trying to please everyone is impossible and a waste of time.
Imagine how much it would reduce stress in your life if you would simply quit trying to please EVERYONE! If you were to just focus on pleasing yourself, the other people around you would reap the benefits because you’d be more fun to be around. If you are constantly in a frenzy trying to please everyone around you, it’s unlikely that you’ll be in good spirits.
Modify your style into being a person who does not try to please everyone. You do this because you know it will lift the weight of the world off your shoulders and reduce stress in many areas of your social life.
6. Stop Trying to Make Everyone Like You
Do you like everyone you meet? No one does. Frequently we don’t even know why. Perhaps it’s just a feeling. Knowing this, why should you expect everyone to like you?
I think that many of us have the most trouble with this when it comes to family and friends. We naturally want close family members and friends to like and even love us. The hard truth is that sometimes your relationship with certain people will never be as close as you want or need. What’s the answer? Find other people to achieve the closest you want.
When we join a group that participates in an area that we identify with strongly we expect to have an easier time of getting along with the members. In many respects, you will, but personality differences will still be a factor. Your mutual interest in a specific area provides a solid foundation, which can result in unusually close relationships. But it’s unreasonable to expect that your common interests will produce a close relationship with everyone in the group. If you join an organization with broader objectives like a fitness club as opposed to a vegetarian group, you may find more people who you get along with well.
Simplify your style into being a person who does not try to make everyone like you, but rather a person who relies on just being yourself. You do this because you understand the impossibility of making everyone like you and in doing so reduce social stress.
7. Stop Grieving About Past Mistakes
Grieving about mistakes you’ve made in the past is a ridiculously clear waste of time. The only possible outcome is that you’ll feel depressed in the present! And when you feel depressed, you greatly reduce your ability to take constructive action today that will improve your future.
All we have is the present. There are no guarantees for tomorrow. If we hope to make the most of the present, we must be in the best possible state of mind. To do that we must keep our focus in the moment and on what we want to experience. When we think about the things we want, we bring about positive feelings that will energize us and not depress us.
Adjust your style to being a person who doesn’t grieve about mistakes in the past but rather rejoices in what you have today and what you intend to manifest in the future. You do this because you know that by not grieving about past mistakes you reduce stress and increase the likelihood of positive results in the future.
8. Stop Worrying About What Might Happen in the Future
This is a big one for most people. The problem is that by worrying about what might happen in the future, we actually create the conditions for manifesting it. This has happened to me so many times that it’s impossible for me to ignore the reality of this manifesting stuff. The same has been true of positive things that I strongly wanted to happen in the future.
The other aspect of worry is that most of it never comes true even though we usually give it an extraordinary amount of attention. In the book and movie “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, which centers on the Law of Attraction, one of the teachers tells how it has been proven scientifically that it takes a lot more negative thoughts to bring about bad results than it does to manifest positive outcomes. This explains to me why most of what we worry about never comes true. Either way, you look at it, worrying is a waste of time. It’s also very damaging to your physical and mental health.
Simplify your style into being a person who doesn’t worry about what might happen in the future, but rather a person who imagines living the future that they want in the present. You do this because you know that according to the Law of Attraction, you bring about what you think about and it will reduce stress in your body and life.
9. Stop Researching & Analyzing So Much and Start Doing
Researching and analyzing things to make the best possible decision is a good practice if it leads to a timely decision to act! If the research and analysis go too far and decisions are postponed, this is a stress-producing problem.
There seems to be a decision-making style continuum. On one end of the continuum, there are people who never research or analyze anything. Their decisions are poor more often than not. On the other end, there are the people who investigate and examine everything. The problem is they often take a ridiculous amount of time to come to decision, if at all. At the center, there are people who do a predetermined amount of research and analysis. They make timely decisions based on the information they gathered and their gut feelings. The people at either end of the continuum don’t rely on their gut feelings or intuition in their decision-making.
The deciding factor is courage. The person who does no research or analysis makes decisions blindly, so little courage is required. The person who researches and analyzes things to the nth degree usually lacks the courage to make decisions. The person who does a predetermined amount of research and analysis makes timely decisions based on the information at hand and their gut feelings, which requires considerable courage. The best practice then is to model your style after the people in the center of the continuum.
Modify your style by being a person who does a predetermined amount of research and analysis and then makes a timely decision based on the information gathered, gut feelings, and courage! You do this because you know that it will reduce stress and improve your productivity.
If you think about the people in your life you admire, many of them probably have the style that I am encouraging. You might look at them as being cool. In contrast, who are the people who you consider not so cool? They are usually argumentative, opinionated, easily aggravated, perfectionists, overly eager to please, negative, worriers, and procrastinators. They are a bore! Choose to be cool. This style will reduce stress, enhance your health, and earn respect from others.
Simplifying your style in any area of your life will usually reduce stress.