Many people on the planet today live stress filled lives. In fact, the World Health Organisation has dubbed Stress as the health epidemic of the 21st Century. That’s not surprising as  the harm it can cause to our emotional and physical health is pretty substantial. If not dealt with, stress can ultimately lead to depression and anxiety.

There can be various sources of stress; financial, work, family , health etc. but understand this, stress cannot be comparmentalised. Having stress in one area of your life will impact on others. If you’re having issues at work, you’re going to bring them home. If you have issues at home, they will impact your work productivity. 

However, I want to make one thing clear….

Everyone has the right, and the ability,  to lead a rewarding, fulfilling, stress free life.

The problem is that many people don’t live life the right way. They live reactively as opposed to proactively.  When you live reactively, you’re letting circumstances dictate your emotions, and eventually  slide into being a victim and feel helpless to change. 

 Being pro-active is about  taking control. I now want to share with you tips on how to do that.

Stress Buster#1 – Be a Time Thief 

People complain about how many things rob their time; reading and answering emails, making phone calls, paperwork, meetings, compliance requirements, taking care of the kids.“These things take all of my time!” I’ve heard people say. Actually, they don’t. You let them by not prioritising, but more on that later. Anyway, while we’re on the subject of theft, why don’t you do a bit of stealing yourself? How about you steal back that time. You want 10 minutes for yourself? Take it. To do what? Well…., how about nothing. Well, do something, but not work. Take a deep breath, hold it for a second, then let it out slowly. Then look at the sky, see that cloud? What does it resemble?  Go for a walk down the street and back, can you hear any birds? how many? What colour shirt is the guy walking past you wearing? Guess what? You’ve just practiced mindfulness and de-stressed your brain. And it only took 10 minutes. 

Sure you could have maybe answered two more emails in that time, made a phone call, worried about something. But…. you get my point right? 

Stress Buster#2 – Take off the Hero Hat

Learn this equation: Perfection Complex + Slaving Away = Cardiac Arrest. Who doesn’t want to be successful? whatever your version of success is. Thing is, at what cost? Overachievers tend to put all the attention on the goal they’re trying to reach, when it’s not actually all about that. They judge themselves that way and think others are doing the same, when that’s not the case. While it’s great to be driven to achieve , it’s not good to constantly be trying to avoid failure and measuring yourself by whether you succeed or fail at something. This is called being motivated by fear and it’s not a good place to be. When you’re trying to do too much you stretch yourself too thin and get stressed out. 

Stress Buster#3 – Log off!

Technology is meant to improve our lives, freeing up our time by being more efficient. While technology has certainly helped us to do that, it also means we have less time. Because we are constantly connected through our devices, that “free” time we’re meant to have, we actually don’t. The clear distinction we had between work and home has become somewhat blurry. We can now receive work emails after work. With the Cloud, we can now work at home. Great, if it’s time to work. But maybe it’s time to spend time with your kids. Did you know, you can actually switch off the email on your phone or even put it in flight mode? God forbid that someone might not be able to contact you for an hour or so! 😀 One of my clients used to hand over his phone to his partner whenever it was his turn to take care of the kids.

Stress Buster#4 – Get your sh*! together 

Throughout the day, ask yourself this question; “What is the most important thing I can be doing right now, in the most effective way, that is going to get me the closest to my goal?” Getting pulled in multiple directions will not get you where you want to be. Just look how it turned out for Braveheart! If you’re aren’t focusing on the things that are the best use of your time, you will have to play catchup later. It’s more tempting to work on the easier stuff first in order to avoid the hard stuff. But then you may not have enough time to finish what you started.  And we know what that leads to don’t we? More of the big S word! I remember times in the past when I spent hours working on the right fonts and images for my newsletter when I didn’t even have any content yet and then had to cram to get it out on time!

Don’t ask yourself what you feel like doing, ask yourself what you need to be doing!

Stress Buster#5 – Do What you Like and do it Like you Mean it!

Why do you do what you do? Does your work , your life, have meaning for you or are you just going through the motions? It’s important to take time to reflect on the direction your life is headed. Are all parts of your life in balance? Don’t wait for the proverbial crisis to get you to ask the important questions. If the life you’re living is not congruent with your current values (  emphasis on current as our values do change over time ) that conflict can induce stress. It’s because you will feel a disconnect and that things are out of sync. If Formula One cars have time to take a pit stop, so do you! I’ll tell you something, nothing can get in the way of someone who is on purpose, has a vision that inspires them and are totally committed to it.

As common as stress is, you don’t have to buy into it. We can all be in control of our own lives, and be happy and fulfilled. That in turn has a positive impact on those around us, i.e. the world.  For me, one of the saddest things is to see someone who is convinced they are a victim of circumstance rather than the master of their destiny. It all starts with the decision to say yes and we have to say it every day. Are you?

About David Mazzotti

David Mazzotti is a certified Life Coach and owner of Brighter Path. He is a "Midlife Makeover Coach" helping clients create a midlife that is fulfilling, meaningful and fun