Sunday, August 14, 2011

Finding Your Calm in a Stressful World

This last week with 500 point swings in the Dow in both directions seemed like adding a bucket of fuel to our already full "stress buckets".  I believe that the effective management of stress is a key to our mental and physical health.  We all must find the best ways for us to manage the things we worry about, many of which we are not in control of.  Here are a few ideas you might try to see how you can lower your "stress temperature" and find serenity in a world that seems crazy sometimes.

If you don't manage stress, it will find a way to manage you. Stress can be very invasive in your life. It loves to be in the driver's seat and you hand over the keys without fail on a regular basis because you feel defeated by it.

You might blaming the boss, the car mechanic or your spouse for your stress. You can't control what other people do or say, but you can manage some of the smaller irritations in your world in order to reduce your stress.

Here are some stress triggers that you have the ability to bring under management:

Clutter – The more "stuff" you have, the more time and attention it requires to maintain. One way to reduce that demand is to eliminate some of the stuff that you don't really need.

Start room by room and take a critical look at the time demands of your stuff. Pledge to give away or throw away at least two clutter items from every room. And don't just do this once, do it once a month.

Buy Less – You brought that clutter into the house, so don't bring in more. Before you buy a new wok or 26-piece baking set, think about how often you would actually use those items. Do you have any other kitchen equipment that can double for the same purposes?

Magazine Perfect Housekeeping – Unless you can afford a full time housekeeper, you need to accept that clean is good enough. Save the frantic furniture polishing and baseboard wiping for quarterly cleaning or preparing for a party. Remember that rooms in magazines look so great because no one lives there to mess them up.

Clothes Horse Needs Taming – Buying clothes is a kind of closet clutter addiction that can get out of control. Clothing isn't just something on a hanger. You have to wash, mend, press or take it to the dry cleaners.

If you have an over-stuffed closet, it's actually harder to get dressed in the morning. Too many choices become stressful - as does not being able to find the other shoe, so you waste time changing outfits.

Trim down the closet. If you need help, ask a fashionable friend or hire a wardrobe consultant to work with you. These are just a few ways to manage stress by dealing with the things in your home. You can apply the same strategy to the “stuff” in your office.

One other thing that may be helpful is to pay attention to your habits when you feel stressed.  Do you shop or eat when you are worried?  Both of these can cause real damage to your budget and your health, causing more stress!  So, simplify, simplify, simplify to reclaim your inner sense of calm.
What do you do that helps you lower stress?