A more relaxed life starts in your mind and requires you to think differently about certain things. You first have to realise you’re allowed to make choices. These tips will help you to bring more calm to your life and relieve stress. Take it from me: all of this can make your life a lot more enjoyable.

Take Care of Yourself (sleep, eat, rest)

Do you get enough sleep and at the right times? Do you eat well? Do you get enough exercise? Do you have enough time to relax, to ‘switch off’? If you answer ‘no’ to any of these questions, you need to change your lifestyle for greater calm. Your physical fitness has a major effect on how you feel. If you don’t take care of your body, you will automatically experience more stress than when you are rested and fit. That’s why one of the first steps when tackling stress is: take good care of your body, especially when you feel like you don’t have the time to do so.

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Photo by elizabeth lies on Unsplash

Recognise and React to Warning Signs

Stress does different things to different kinds of people. While one person may suffer headaches, another will experience pain in their neck and shoulders. Others have trouble sleeping or feel like they are always in a hurry. Some become cynical or develop a temper. It is essential that you learn to recognise your own warning signs and react appropriately when required if you want a calmer life. It is only when you know how stress affects you that you can react in an effective manner.

Keep Your Head as Empty as Possible

What things are currently fighting for attention inside your head? Most of us have a lot going on in our minds at any given moment. If there are too many bits of information demanding your attention, it can result in a permanent kind of background noise, like when there are too many tabs open in your internet browser. With a mind full of stuff it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Train yourself to write down things that occupy your mind instead of storing them in your memory. The emptier your head, the more space you will have for the stuff that really counts.

‘Good Enough’ is Good Enough

Try experimenting with lowering the bar in terms of what you demand of yourself. Chances are that others will not even notice – if you’re a perfectionist, your personal standards are probably a lot higher than what others generally expect from you. ‘Good enough’ is good enough: this is true more often than you might think

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Photo by Ava Sol on Unsplash

Cancel (and Don’t Feel Bad About it)

Make yourself familiar with the noble art of cancelling stuff. You don’t have to stick to your appointments simply because they are in your diary. It’s okay to cancel things, as long as you do this diplomatically and in a timely manner. And who knows, the other person might be just as relieved as you are when you do…

Take a Breather

By becoming more conscious of how you breathe you can lower your stress level in a matter of minutes. Breathing deeply slows down your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure, which results in a less troubled mind. You can delay or even eliminate your stress response simply by doing a few breathing exercises. It helps just to breathe calmly in through your nose and out through your mouth for a few minutes. For a deeper form of relaxation try breathing in less frequently but more deeply using the 4-7-8 technique: inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds and exhale for eight seconds. Sounds simple, but it works like a charm.

There are always more tips and ideas in our Wellness & Self Care section for you to try, and don’t forget to join the conversation over on TikTok, Instagram, Threads, Facebook and Twitter.

Thijs Launspach
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Thijs Launspach is a psychologist, TEDX and keynote speaker and author of Crazy Busy: Keeping Sane in a Stressful World.

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Thijs Launspach is a psychologist, TEDX and keynote speaker and author of Crazy Busy: Keeping Sane in a Stressful World.

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