Take Control of Your Life!
Six easy ways to cut stress and feel in charge at work and at home
You know how it is: Youre cruising along, feeling that all is well, when wham! everything falls apart at once. Your dishwasher breaks, the lawn becomes infested by grubs, work stress gets worse, and your kid needs 50 cupcakes by tomorrow morning! Its all too much you feel like youve lost control of your life.
Surprisingly, while we expect to be thrown off balance by the big crises in life (an illness, the loss of a job, the end of a relationship), experts believe its more often the steady pileup of smaller annoyances that makes us feel really powerless.
Fortunately, there are ways to put yourself back in the drivers seat. Here are the top six:
Slow downBefore you can attack a mound of tasks, work on short-circuiting the gut-churning anxiety that sets in when you have an overwhelming amount of things to accomplish.
One great trick: Pay close attention to some detail in your surroundings, such as a leaf on a plant at your office or the pattern on your curtains. This is a form ofopen-eye meditation, says Laura Berman Fortgang, author of Living Your Best Life. It slows down the stress hormones coursing through your veins, and helps you focus and start thinking more clearly.
Breathe deeplyLong, slow breaths send oxygen throughout your body, which relaxes you and, in turn, helps clear your head. Try one- or two-minute deep-breathing sessions each morning and evening.
Cut back on the coffee Caffeine makes you jumpy, says Fortgang, and that can increase feelings of being out
of control. Keep reducing your intake gradually until youre down to one cup in the morning.
Break down big jobs Huge projects can feel utterly paralyzing, notes Marion Kramer Jacobs, Ph.D., author of Take-Charge Living. But cut them up into bite-size tasks and suddenly they seem manageable. In other words, dont plan on organizing your tax records from the last seven years just figure out what to do with one folder.
Assert yourselfSay no to doing things you dont really want to do. Yes, it can be difficult, but paring down your obligations is essential to reclaiming control of your life.
And finally, lighten up. Sing in your car, watch feel-good movies and laugh at the silly things your kids do. Try to shrug it off when things go wrong, suggests Fortgang. The more you make light of life, the less pressure youre bound to feel.