Let’s face it: stress is something natural. Sometimes we lose the ability to deal with it in a constructive way. Used to work/consume/keep going til you drop? It’s not enough to reach goals. Some part of you also want to live, feel alive, experience life fully, instead hopping from goal to goal without walking the path. It’s easy to get trapped in anything that makes you feel less of what you don’t want to feel….. The good news: suffering motivates to find better solutions, so here we go.
Here are 11 Life-Changing Habits that can Recover your Quality of Life. What you don’t need is another To-Do-List to fit into your busy schedule but rather new possibilities to be discovered and enjoyed.
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11 Habits to Enjoy More and Stress Less:
1 . Find an Exercise Routine that suits you
Walking or cycling in Nature is easy, fun and effective. If you like the Gym, perfect! Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong? If you have motivation problems, make appointments with a buddy. Obviously, don’t wait until you feel like. Just do it, 5-7 times a week, no matter where you are! After a month or so you will love it. Walking at sunrise has another benefit: the early sunlight has a special positive effect on your hormones and you can do it anywhere.
2. Eat and drink well
What nourishes you is daily fruit and vegetables, some whole grains and enough water. Reduce the empty foods such as white flour and sugar, bubble drinks, alcohol. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Most importantly: it’s not only what you eat, but how you eat. Take your time. Don’t do anything else like screening messages or preparing the next thing on your schedule. Chew, notice the taste. Enjoy!
3. Slow down!
Not easy but simple: make a conscious effort to concentrate on walking and talking slowly. You will learn “get out of the head” and to “be here now” and notice what is really around you. Check it out! It works.
If you are in a hurry, walk slowly!
4. Pause regularly!
You don’t have to smoke, drink coffee or check your instagram to take a break! Your break doesn’t have to be long. You can use the scientifically proven breathing technique described below as an instant relaxation technique. Drink a glass of still water. You can recharge quickly. It costs nothing but awareness and signals you that you take care of yourself, you care, you do what has to be done and you are OK. When short breaks are taken regularly, they become a habit that will strengthen you immensely and make your work more efficient. You not only feel better but you also feel better about yourself.
5. Relax your Muscles
Many of us are “brain-workers” and pretty detached from noticing tensions body until they becomes really painful. Spend a moment to screen you body and consciously relax tense muscles (e.g. in the neck or stomach) area. Learn some stretching exercises, get a massage every once in a while, take a hot tub, relax consciously before sleep. Easy and feels good.
4. Improve the Quality of your Breathing
Start becoming aware of the quality of your breathing throughout the day. Take some deep inhales here and there and exhale with a sigh. Experiment with belly breathing training your diaphragm which has huge relaxation benefits and is super easy. Or go for e.g. Wim Hof’s guided breathing exercises, super effective. Acidity in the body, lung capacity and concentration and focus is affected positively. Simple.
5. Introduce a Hobby into your Life
Listless and no time? All the more important now to do something regularly that is not goal-oriented, but simply relaxing. Play! Sing, dance, paint, play backgammon or mini-golf. Mountain-Biking, climbing, nature photography, it doesn’t matter. The main thing is to get out of your head, switch off and discover the Fun!
6. Change your Self-Talk
How do you talk to yourself? How do you deal with the Monkey in the Mind? Criticism can be constructive, deluding oneself can trap you. Turn “Crap, I did it again!” into something similar to “Despite the fact that I just freaked out, I’m getting better at recognizing what triggers me.” Interesting!
7. Change Perspective
Step aside and look at yourself from a distance. Acknowledge your small victories. Stop judging yourself and others! Yes, that’s a challenge. You love challenges! There is always room for more, better, faster. But if you don’t master your mind, Monkey Mind will rule over your life. Unknown possibilities!
8. Become aware of what triggers you
Observe what exactly triggers you during the day like a detective with a torch. I call this the “imaginary torch of awareness”. This is not so easy. Practice this habit like a game. Never judge what you observe. Sometimes it is simply unfulfilled expectations or a subtle thought pattern that leads to your emotional reactions. You will get better and better at recognising and at not judging these mechanisms. Be surprised what you find!
9. Become aware of the possibility of a gap between the trigger and the reaction.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”Viktor E. Frankl
Notice the trigger, the physical/ emotional reaction in the body without judging this reaction! Interesting. You no longer identify as a victim of some external triggers but as the owner of a body that feels those reactions. Now, you can start dealing with things differently.
NOTE: this is already the fine art of self-coaching
Allow for a little space between the trigger and any response to it. That takes discipline. It’s like learning a new language where you have to allow for a longer pause before responding. Slowly, slowly you will no longer feel like the victim of stress, anger or panic, but learn to take the reins in these cases. You might need support of a specialist to retrain your mind and learn this ability. You got the Power!
10. Get enough Quality Sleep
Healthy sleep sometime requires to adjust other habits such as regular eating times, reducing stimulants such as alcohol, social media, TV, going to bed at a certain time, getting up early. Train how to switch off. Maybe even learn how to power-nap. Energizing!
Talking with friends and family is important. Talking already has a healthy effect on your overall well-being. By sharing with others, you can let go of the heavy burden of stressful situations more easily. If you notice that you are stuck and constantly revolve around yourself, have the courage to turn to a counsellor, coach or therapist to seek professional support. It doesn’t have to be so hard, on the contrary. It can be great fun to return to your own power. Meaningful.
What is it that really holds you back from doing what is really good for yourself (and others), fear or love?
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