No doubt about it - we live in an increasingly competitive and stressful world. In many subtle and not so subtle ways it affects us all and it's not unusual for people to lace their conversation with phrases like 'Stressed out', 'Anxiety syndrome', 'Panic attack', 'Burned out', and more. That's today's reality.
The question is, how do we go about dealing with that kind of world? What can we do to minimize the prolonged, unhealthy effects of a stressful environment? How can we prevent stress, anxiety and burnout from becoming a way of life?
Well, first we need to take a good hard look at what exactly is stressing us out and perhaps do a bit of repair work on our perspective of the situation. A good way to do that is by reviewing some very basic and constructive advice that has always been available but is often forgotten in our daily scuffle to get ahead.
For the most part, the advice is based upon common sense and can often provide clarity and guidance in stressful situations.
That said, study the list below to see if it contains something that will work for you. At first glance, these suggestions may appear deceptively simple but each will, nonetheless, require dedicated effort and discipline.
1. Don't try to please everyone. It's impossible, debilitating and very stressful.
2. Stop living your life according to the beliefs, opinions and prejudgments of others. Its your life, not theirs.
3. Create dependable friendships with people who can be counted on to support your effort to change, learn and grow.
4. Try to make changes gradually. Doing so will help you to maintain a more positive outlook as you progress. Attempting to change too much too soon often leads to disappointment.
5. Establish priorities that are consistent with your own values.
6. Examine your beliefs and goals. Are they unrealistic or unattainable?
7. Accent the positive and learn from the negative.
8. Focus on the present. The past cannot be changed. The future hasn't arrived yet. That leaves you with now. Now is the time to create the future you desire.
9. Are you a workaholic? If so, try to create a more balanced lifestyle. By so doing, you'll minimize a lot of stress too.
10. Choose a goal that you can be proud to work toward and which enhances and maintains your self-respect.
11. Don't forget to take short breaks throughout your workday.
12. Think ahead. Always have a plan B in case plan A does not work.
13. Mistakes happen. If it's your fault, admit it and don't waste time and energy with excuses.
14. Take the time to exercise regularly. Exercise is a good stress-buster.
15. Improve your relationships. Give up those that lead nowhere and drain your energy.
16. Pace yourself. Know your limits. If you feel you can go the extra mile and it's a worthy goal, then go for it...but don't obsess or overdo. Sometimes, less is more.
17. If a situation or workload appears overwhelming don't panic. Instead, analyze the problem and divide it into smaller, more manageable parts to be completed in an orderly manner.
18. Trying to be king of the hill is ok so long as it remains a game. When it becomes a stressful, obsessive and competitive desire to win no matter the cost, you've got a problem.
19. A little humor can often diffuse a tense situation.
20. Don't take yourself too seriously. Lighten up...your friends and co-workers will appreciate it and you'll feel better.
21. Continual worry or guilt solves nothing. Take action by changing what you can, ignoring the rest and concentrating your effort on creating a better future.
22. Choose work that: (a) you enjoy (b) you are capable of (c) produces results that are helpful to and appreciated by others.
23. Get plenty of sleep and rest. Sleep deprivation is a major cause of burnout, stress and anxiety.
24. Listen to soothing, relaxing music that provides the space you need to pause, reflect and regenerate.
25. Unreasonable deadlines can be very stressful. Try to establish a schedule that is realistic and manageable.
26. If a problem or situation is too complex for you to handle, seeking the aid of a qualified professional counselor or doctor may provide the help and guidance that you need.
*********** About the Author: Bill Reddie is the owner of Channel 1 Records, a company that has been producing music for stress relief and stress management since 1972. Further information regarding the beneficial effects of music and its potential for relieving stress, anxiety and burnout may be found at: