These are actual tips I found online for how to reduce stress:
- Walk in the rain
- Tell someone to have a good day in Latin
- Throw a paper airplane
Are you kidding me? Is this what passes for advice these days?
If we’re going to get a handle on stress we need more than superficial tactics or silly ideas. We’ve got to get to the root of the problem — our own inner psychology.
Once we do that, then we can eliminate our stress — and stop it from ever popping up again.
If you’re tired of worthless advice and want a practical system for eliminating stress, here are three easy steps you can take to dramatically reduce your stress.
Step 1: Change how you view stress
Do you know someone who’s always calm in stressful situations?
It can be tempting to think those people are “just wired differently,” but people who manage stress well often feel the same fear and anxiety as everyone else. They just react to those feelings differently.
Most people react to stress negatively. They see it as a bad thing, try to fight it, and as a result the anxiety they feel snowballs.
But that doesn’t happen if you learn to view stress as a GOOD thing — which it often is. Feeling a little stress can be a sign that we’re pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone. It also gives us energy and motivation to get things done.
And there’s more. You know that feeling you get when you’re “in the zone” and performing at your peak? That doesn’t happen without at least a little bit of stress.
If you practice viewing stress as a good thing, it won’t lead you to feeling overwhelmed. Instead it’ll help you be at your best.
Step 2: Stop stress in its tracks (by mastering “inner-stress” control)
When we face stressful situations most us immediately tense up. We forget to breath or we start taking short, shallow breaths.
We’re usually not aware this is happening, it’s an automatic response. One that makes us feel even more stressed-out.
But if we take control of our breathing, we can reverse those effects. We’ll start to feel more calm and in-control.
This is something I learned from retired Navy SEAL commander Mark Divine.
A few months ago he taught me his “box breathing” technique.This is the exercise he used while deployed overseas to keep himself calm in life-threatening situations.
Here’s a clip of Mark describing the technique.
Learn how Navy SEALs handle stress
This may seem overly simplistic, but the truth is if you control your breathing, you control your stress.
Don’t believe me? Test it yourself.
For the next 24 hours, pay attention to when you get stressed. Is your breathing short, choppy and shallow?
When that happens, use Mark’s box-breathing technique. Take deep controlled breaths in through your nose and let your body relax. You’ll likely feel a significant drop in stress.
Step 3: Stop stress before it starts
The words we use when we talk to ourselves have a massive impact on how we feel.
Here’s an example: When we say things like “I never have time to do what I want,” we reinforce the belief that we never have time for ourselves. We then feel even more stressed and annoyed.
But we can dramatically change the way we feel just by changing the words we use when we talk to ourselves.
This isn’t an overnight fix. But by changing our language, we can reduce our stress and gradually eliminate the beliefs that caused that stress in the first place.
Here’s how to do this:
Step #1: Think about the last time you felt really stressed about something. Maybe you were on a tight deadline to finish a big project, or needed a break from your kids. Take a moment to write down what you told yourself in those moments.
Maybe it was something like:
- “I HAVE to finish this. I won’t take a single break until I do!”
- “I can’t handle this much work!”
- “I am so stressed right now! I don’t even know where to begin.”
Step #2: For 1 week, notice anytime you use language like this. Then alter your negative language into something more positive.
- Instead of “I’m so busy”, try “I’m human. Everyone struggles with this.”
- Instead of “I’m going to fail”, try “I’ll be fine. Even if I fail, I’ll still be ok.”
- Instead of “I am not the kind of person who….”, try “What if I tried to do…”
BONUS Step: How to eliminate worry with the Worry Vault technique
New sources of stress will always pop up in our day-to-day lives.
A few years ago, I stumbled across a simple technique for eliminating these little stressors and worries. You can learn it in this free bonus video: “Eliminate 99% of Your Worries With This One Simple Technique.”
In the video, you’ll learn:
- How to stop worrying about what you can’t control
- Simple ways you can clear your mind and sleep better every night.
- My “Worry Vault” technique — so you never have to stress about little things again.
I bet you can find at least 3 things you could put in your “Worry Vault” today and never stress about them again.