There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and killer stress. Busy people get to experience it more often, so much so that they grow accustomed to having sour moods, low energy, and actual physical pains.
No matter how hard you try, who you run to for help, or what book you read, you can never permanently erase stress in your life. After all, humans are hardwired to be stressed in the presence of threatening and nerve-wracking situations. You can, however, lessen its effects by making a few adjustments in your mindset and lifestyle.
Did you know that 'stressed' spelled backwards is 'desserts'? You can reverse the negative effects of stress, too, by munching on some sweets. A study conducted at the University of California reveals that the controlled consumption of sugary beverages has a regulating effect on the brain's production of cortisol - also known as the stress hormone.
The experiment took two weeks before measurable results were attained. So rather than avoiding sugary foods like the plague, try indulging your sweet tooth every once in a while. Of course, this strategy isn't for you if you have diabetes. But even if you are free of any chronic disease, you should still focus on getting healthy sugars from sources like honey, bananas, beets, and natural fruit juices.
Make rest a priority
Stress can be a brutal cycle. The more stressed you become, the more your work performance diminishes. And as you achieve poor results, you'll be more pressured to work even harder, making you lose self-confidence and experience even more stress in the process.
The only way to break this vicious cycle is to stop overexerting yourself. Take note that, in order to sustain productivity, you need to be mentally and physically fit. Make sure you're eating right and getting enough sleep. To help distract you from stressful situations, improve your energy, and recharge the mind, you can perform mild aerobic exercises like yoga, jogging, and cycling. These activities stimulate the production of endorphins, which is the body's natural antidote for stress.
Stop trying to be first
Simply put, waiting in a queue can truly test your patience, especially if you constantly feel the need to speed up your life. It doesn't matter if you're standing in line to an ATM machine or staring at a sea of red taillights in a traffic jam. The more you see other people getting what you want ahead of you, the more impatient and frustrated you might become.
It's not just in queues, either. As children, we were taught to compete and go for gold to get the best things in life. But no matter how competent you are, there will always be someone who is better than you in a certain criteria. In situations where you can't be the first, look for other opportunities to experience pockets of happiness instead. Learn to find gratification in the joy of others - let someone cut ahead of you in line, overtake you on the road, or be the first to attain financial independence. Life is a journey, but you shouldn't make it a race.
Don't wait until the last minute
People are rather curious creatures. They try to be first in things that don't count, yet they have no problem being last when it comes to their responsibilities. If you keep waiting until the last minute to finish important tasks, you're setting yourself up for the very stressful ordeal of catching up. Not only will you be more physically drained, you'll also perform much worse by rushing your work.
If you're a freelancer or self-employed, then you may have more control over your time than most employees. But since there's no one to supervise or motivate you round the clock, it may be harder to stick to a schedule and easier to give in to procrastination. That said, try having an 'accountability buddy' whom you can share your accomplishments with, receive encouragement, and pinpoint your flaws. There's no specific way of doing this, but the fastest strategy is to leverage social media and professional networks like Facebook and LinkedIn.
Finally, stressed individuals tend to think that the opinion of others are more important than they actually are. Take note that the words of other people say are meaningless - except if you let them affect and change you. More importantly, your happiness should not rely on what other people think. Although it's great to have the approval of others, nothing could ever be more valuable than having self-belief.