I recently asked my fitness community: What stresses you out?
And many of you responded with “Life."
While I understand stress, lack of time, and the daily pressures, it saddened me that so many of you seem stressed across the board. I know life isn’t always smooth sailing, but there are many things you can do to shake up the status quo and get out of your stressed out state.
As soon as you're in the control seat—taking action—you feel better than if you were to sit around and ruminate. (Negative thoughts and moping won't help you alleviate stress or get you out of your funk!) While officially I am a fitness professional, I also consider myself to be in the inspiration business.
I hope I can inspire you today with a few of my tips:
1. Make an irritation list.
I just heard about this tip from Jack Canfield, co-creator of The Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books. Yep, that’s right. Not a grocery list, not a To Do list, an irritation list! Is something bothering or frustrating you? Write it down on your irritation list. It could be anything as small as “that stack of unread magazines I never get time for” to an actual person who is causing drama in your life, just write it down.
First you're going to feel better just getting that junk out of your head and on to paper. Now, your task is to figure out what you can do to make that list smaller. Your goal is to get as many things you can off of that list. Less to be irritated about means less to be stressed about. See what you can cross off this list!
2. Take stock.
This one may be a little depressing at first—especially if you don’t like the way your life is currently going—but ultimately it will land you on the greener side of the fence. First, write down how you want your life to look. What would your life look like if you felt happy and fulfilled? (Your mood will probably improve just by writing it!) Next, write down how your life currently looks.
Now, here’s the tough part. How far apart are those two visions? If they are far apart, take heart. You just need to make a To Do list that will get you closer to your ideal vision for your life. Change can be hard at first, but it also can be empowering! Write down everything you can think of to change things in your favor to the life you really want to live.
3. Don’t compare your life to others.
You have no idea what their journey is all about. Comparing yourself to others takes the focus off of YOU, and that’s where your focus should be. Plus, comparing yourself to others is never accurate because things can look a whole lot different on the surface than they are in reality. You can idealize someone and wish you had some aspect of someone else’s life, but you probably don’t have the entire story.
Comparing your life to others is losing valuable energy that could go into getting your own life to where you want it to be. Don’t waste your mental energy on comparisons. Think about what you love about your own life and how to create more things in your life that you love!
4. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful.
Clutter weighs you down in many ways. Don’t hang on to things or relationships just to hang on to things. Filter everything with the question: Do I really love it? If you don’t, recycle or donate and fill your home only with the things you love the most. Spend your time doing as many things you love as you can. Imagine looking around your home, your closet, your garage, your desk and liking everything you see?
5. Do a goal check.
We're now closing in on the last few chapters of this year. How are you doing on the goals you set for yourself in the start of this year? If they've gotten away from you, how can you get back on track? Toss guilt, self-loathing and beating yourself up out the window, and just start over. Give yourself a fresh start. If it helps, start with the end in mind and think about how you want to feel when this year concludes. What do you have to do to get there?
6. Make a gratitude list or keep a great experience journal.
It’s so easy for our minds to get stuck on what isn’t going right and get stuck in a stressed-out tailspin. Don't let your brain live in a depressing space. If you do guess how you will feel? Choose instead to focus on what’s going right in your life. What do you love about your day? What are the small things you can take a second to notice?
Gratitude lists and journal immediately put your brain in a positive place. Even if you just write down one thing a day, that's a start. If you are feeling motivated, keep a daily list of all the things you are grateful for and consider journaling about the best part of your day! You may just surprise yourself at how much you truly have to be grateful for and it will put things in perspective. Plus, you will consciously be spending time in your happy place—that along will make you feel so much better!
7. Take some time for you.
I have three kids. I am constantly traveling and my schedule is crazy, but I find time to recharge. What helps you feel revitalized? It can be anything: yoga, a walk in the park, a phone call with a good friend, a mug of tea, or curling up on the couch with a good book.
It’s essential for your well-being, mood and outlook. If you know someone who could benefit from these tips, please share this article them. Giving to others—by the way—is a real mood booster!