Have you ever wondered how certain people seem to get so much stuff done whilst you are left behind?
Did you wonder how do people find so much time to do the things they want whilst you are seemingly working your butt off and being left with little time?
Then stick with me for a couple of minutes because I am going to help you!
Don’t be offended by this but – we all have the same 24 hours, and it is our responsibility how to spend our time.
On my Article “More time equals More Life” I have already gotten into the subject of how to optimize the way you spend your time, if you haven’t read the article go check it out now. This article is covering the aspect of Stress and how to cope with it effectively.
Debunking the Myths surrounding Stress
To get a better understanding and insight on this topic, we first have to define what stress means. Per Definition (this is from Wikipedia), stress is a psychological and physical reaction of living beings which is caused by specific external circumstances.
This reaction enables them to respond and cope with the special demands. So by only reading the definition of stress, we can now say that stress is something positive – it brings up solutions to situations that trigger an emotional or physical reaction within us.
To underline the positive nature of stress, we can also take a look at evolution: stress plays a central role in adapting physically and psychologically to changing environmental conditions.
Now take a second and think about how humans, animals and plants have evolved over time to adapt to the environmental conditions!
In hot and dry areas you have plants that only need small amounts of water and can last for long dry periods without dying; in rainy and humid places you have completely different plants that are perfectly suited to survive the different condition. Wherever you go in this world, the people, plants and animals have adapted to the outer circumstances.
This is how powerful and positive stress can be!
Responding to stress the right way
You probably know these kinds of people who say “I work so much, I am so stressed!”.
The problem is not that they work too much and neither that they are stressed – the problem is how they respond to the stress. It is reported that Mahatma Gandhi has been working more than 16 hours a day – at the age of 70!
Now if you ask yourself how could that be possible, the answer is simple: focus.
Focus is the ability to concentrate on one single task at hand – and no other things!
If you can work with focus then you can deal with so many things because you go from one thing to another without wasting time thinking what you should and could have done else.
Without focus, your mind resembles an uncontrollable raging fire. With focus, your mind is more like a candle that provides light.
This is why it is so important to develop the ability to be focused. It is not easy, but it can be done. All it takes is action and dedication, you can compare it with a muscle you train in the gym – it only gets stronger if your regularly exercise it.
The same applies to focus. There is no person who is focused all the time, but this skill is learnable.
If you want more insight on how to respond positively to any situation, go and read my Article on being responsible.
Mastering the Art of Relaxation
Another great way to deal with stress is to simply take some time out to relax. Don’t try to evade stress because the more you try to run away from it – the more it is going to find you.
This is not what you want, because it is going to make you a nervous wreck. There is no such thing as a life without stress, and if you have stuck with me until this point, you have learned that stress is actually something positive.
Now how can you relax?
Well, first of all, you have to understand that relaxing means avoiding any unnecessary efforts. I’m going to show you a simple exercise on how to relax in a couple of lines.
Maybe you have noticed that certain people seem so tensed up all the time, their shoulders are way higher than they should be and their jaw is pressed together. In a relaxed state, our body posture is not tense at all.
So if you encounter this sign, it’s a warning that the person feels stressed.
Exercise: close your eyes and tell your eyes to let go (yes, this sounds and looks weird but hey, it helps!). You will start to notice that the more you tell your eyes to let go, the more they will start to relax. The eyes work tirelessly, so do yourself a favor and give them some timeouts!
Have you ever looked at a sleeping cat?
They look like a limp bundle of furriness and if you try to lift them up, they will not put in any effort in activating their muscles.
This is what relaxing means – become like a cat!
Cats probably are the masters of relaxation because obviously that’s all they do. If you want to learn how to master the art of relaxation then simply study the habits of a cat.
If you feel like that would be a waste of time, try to use only those muscles and parts of your body which you actually need to perform the task you are doing. Let the other body parts rest and relax. Imagine being a lumpy sock – just hanging out here!
Take regular breaks
I don’t know if you are into any kinds of sports but if you are – you are probably aware of the fact these highly trained athletes take regular breaks.
Boxers, for example, usually fight twelve rounds of three minutes each. Between the rounds they have a BREAK.
A Football game is played over 90 minutes but is divided into two half-times with a BREAK between them.
I could go an and on with different kinds of sports and how they implement breaks but that would probably annoy the hell out of you, so I think this makes the point pretty clear.
Decide the tempo of work that you feel comfortable with and don’t let anybody tell you differently.
Go for a speed you can maintain over the long term and regularly schedule breaks – it will incredibly increase your output! When you take a break, make sure that you are actually using the break to relax and not get some other useless stuff done!
Warning: This means no reading emails or checking the latest Facebook posts – simply relax and enjoy your timeout!
Most people are afraid of doing nothing, but taking some scheduled time (we’re talking about reasonable amounts here – like 10 to 15 minutes per day) of doing absolutely nothing is something incredibly peaceful.
This way you can take some time out of thinking and probably overthinking. You are giving your mind some time to calm down and replenish.
Afterwards, you will feel so much more energized to challenge and conquer the tasks ahead.
Exercise: get comfortable and sit back, put your middle fingers up and screw anything for the next 15 minutes. Do nothing and simply BE there. We are human BEings so take your time to actively BEing.
Bonus Tip – Set up a Schedule
Take time for the things that really matter in your life.
Plan your weeks and days.
Don’t try to get too many things done because simply doing more doesn’t mean getting more done. Learn to seal yourself off and spending some time with yourself.
In my Article “More Time equals More Life” you can get a detailed approach to setting up your individual schedule.
The Bottom Line
Stress is something positive.
We have debunked the myths surround stress being something negative. It is not about not being stressed at all or trying to avoid stress – it is much more about responding to stress the right way.
You can be highly efficient if you learn to take breaks and relax properly.
Being active is as important as being inactive, so learn to take the initiative but also learn to just let go.
Try to develop focus so you can concentrate on one thing at a time, this will lead to you being more efficient and getting better results in your daily business and life.
Stress is caused by being “here” but wanting to be “there” – Eckhart Tolle