People’s lives become chaotic the minute they decide to be. People’s lives become happier the minute they decide to be. Be the latter. For fast-acting stress relief, slow down and consider the following…
1. Know what you’re trying to achieve and why.
Lack of direction creates stress. And it’s lack of direction, not lack of time, that’s the problem when it comes to personal achievement. Everyone has the same 24-hour days and 7-day weeks. Whenever you want to achieve something keep your conscious clear. Focus and make sure you know exactly what it is you want and why. No one can hit their target if they don’t know what their target is.
2. Do less by focusing exclusively on what’s important.
The essence of personal productivity is to do the important things rather than the urgent things. In other words, put first things first. Focus on the essential and eliminate the rest. (Marc and I discuss this in detail in the Simplicity and Productivity chapters of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
3. Think progress, not perfection.
Don’t worry about perfection; you’ll never achieve it. Instead, focus on the progress you’ve made and the progress you intend to make today. Progression is not automatic or inevitable. Every step of personal growth requires sacrifice and work. Every step is part of an ever-improving, ever-ascending life path. Every step is an accomplishment that should be celebrated. You know you will never get to the absolute peak (perfection), but when you celebrate the journey this truth only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.
4. Cleanse your heart every night.
Just as your body needs regular washing because it gets dirty every day, so does your heart. Because every day, people hurt you, offend you, forget you, snub you, step on you, or reject you. But if you choose to forgive these people and let these things go at the end of each day, you cleanse your heart. You wake up the next morning refreshed and free of negativity. Refuse to carry old regrets, mindsets, and distractions into each new day. Read The Happiness Project.
5. Purge untrue thoughts.
You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be. Behind every stressful feeling is an untrue thought. Before the thought you weren’t suffering, but after the thought you began to suffer. When you recognize that the thought isn’t true, once again there is no suffering. When you change your thoughts, you change your life.
6. Expect some stress, accept it, and let go of it.
The most important journeys that lead to the most wonderful places are usually the challenging ones you must endure the hard way. Stress is but a wall between two peaceful gardens – the garden where you are and garden where you want to be. You must scale the wall that’s in your way, gathering lessons as you climb, before letting go as you descend to the other side. You will only lose if you never climb or you never let go.
7. Be kind to your body.
A good workout is the best stress reducer, and a fit, healthy body is the best fashion statement. The pursuit of optimal fitness is a journey, a constant struggle, a lifestyle. It’s a gradual process where intensity during each exercise session, what you eat every single day, and patience over years is what’s required. But as you know, the longest journey always begins with a single step. It’s all about taking that step and then stepping one day at a time, committing yourself to a daily intake of 30 to 60 minutes of uninterrupted exercise and a reasonably healthy diet. Read Eat to Live.
8. Do one nice thing for yourself every day.
Put yourself at the top of your priority list. There is no person on Earth who deserves your kindness and attention more than you. When you love yourself first, everything else falls into place. So treat yourself every day. Give yourself something special – like laughter, good conversation, meditation, quiet reading, an hour to work on a passion, a long walk, etc.You are worth it.
Organize, don’t agonize. Keep your space ordered and your schedule under-booked. Create a foundation with a soft place to land, a wide margin of error, and room to think and breathe… So you have the flexibility to explore the possibilities for happiness in each and every day.