Six hacks to reduce your stress now
Stress is a major issue in the USA and internationally. If you have felt stressed recently, you are not alone.
Prescriptions for anti-anxiety and stress “reduction” drugs such as Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin – have increased by 17% plus since 2006 to over 94 million annually (source: New York magzine). The generic form of Xanax, has increased in popularity over 23% as well, making it the 11th most prescribed drug overall.
The great news is that there are hacks you can do that do not require a prescription or to take medications that are designed to reduce or even eliminate your stress.
Click below to watch the video “6 Hacks To Relieve Stress Now.”
To illustrate the concept I talk about in the video, recall a time from your past when you had to go somewhere and arrive by a certain time (that was quickly coming due).
Maybe it was the airport, a meeting, or somewhere you had to by by a specific hour (or else). You start getting ready and you look up at the clock and it seems like time is going by faster than normal.
Maybe you are about to leave, but you realize you don’t have our car keys. You start rummaging around where your keys “should” be, yet they are not there. You feel your heart beating faster and your blood pressure increasing.
The more you pressure yourself to find your keys and leave on time, the worse you think. Your memory becomes murky and you can’t remember where you had your keys last.
All while at the same instant, time seems to accelerate.
You might feel even more tension in your body and might notice that you are breathing lighter and faster.
Then, by sheer luck, you find your keys under a bag. You rush out, get in the car and start driving.
Maybe you feel a little tense and maybe a little jittery.
Then you arrive to where you had to get. Maybe it’s the airport and you pass through the screening and you sit down you see you’re early.
Congratulations! You arrived on time. All is fine.
You take a deep breath and you feel this wave of relaxation going over your entire body. You relax instantly completely and you feel great everywhere. You feel filled with a pleasant equanimity throughout your body and your breathing slows down as well as gets deeper.
This story illustrates a situation most can relate to. We’ve had a place we had to get to and we’ve found ourselves rushing to get there. Then, when we get there, we feel relaxed and like a weight was lifted from our shoulders.
While it appears that the stress relief was reliant on external events, in fact, it was entirely how you reacted to and interpreted the events.
This is great news because it means that you can do some mental tricks, or hacks to simulate the stress relief part of the above story, so that you have even more relaxation and stress relief now.
Quick Self Analysis
Before I share the hacks, let’s do a quick self analysis. From 1 to 10, 10 being the most how much stress do you feel on average daily?
And, on an average day, from 1 to 10, how much do you attribute your mental state of being upset or stressed to things that are going on around you? For example, feeling stressed because someone else said, did, or looked at you a certain way.
Now, look at your scores. Regardless of what your score is, my goal today is to help you reduce your stress 5% 10% or ideally make a massive stress reduction by applying these hacks.
Hack #1: Accept responsibility
Viktor Frankl taught the importance of recognizing the space between stimulus and response as where our freedom to make a choice is. And, that choice that we make is going to ultimately determine how fantastic a life we have.
Be conscious of this and accept that whatever is going on around you may continue to happen. However, you can accept responsibility and say, “I am going to be relaxed with the equanimity regardless of what other people are doing or saying or the circumstances.” This will help to immediately reduce your stress.
Hack #2: Do something fun
For example, I love singing. Not that I am a professional singer, but I love to do it so I made a playlist on YouTube. I can put it on and by singing the songs I feel happier, more joyous, more lively, and with a instant greater amount of equanimity (and lower stress).
Find something for you that’s easy to do that you can do anywhere and do it. You’ll have more fun, be happier and it will reduce your stress.
Hack #3: Reduce or stop engaging stressors
To illustrate this hack, I’ve had instances where in some of the other companies that I lead that an individual (who is experiencing an upset emotional state) says that they need an answer right now. They have some type of issue and they say that they need me to respond right then and there.
Many times, in the past, I would engage them with the focus on solving whatever the issue was. In most cases, doing this actually increased my stress and often the other person wasn’t even in an emotional state where they were ready for solving it.
The solution I found and my recommendation for you is to communicate that whatever the issue is, that it is important (and it should be important to you). Let the other person know that you need some time to find a solution. Then, calmly think about what the best win-win solution would be, get feedback from others, and focus closely on the facts.
I find that when I do this, I’ve reduced or eliminated the stress associated with solving issues and the solutions identified are much more effective. It also saves a lot of time.
Hack #4: Connect even more with this infinite positive energy in the universe related to equanimity and feeling great
To illustrate this hack, we’ll do a quick guided visualization together.
Prior to where you start to relax even deeper, if you’re doing something that needs your attention please complete it.
Then, visualize yourself as if you’re relaxing on a big comfortable inflatable floater in the pool or on a big soft beach towel on the soft sand on the beach.
As you feel the sun slowly warm you from your feet to your head, you notice each part of your body relaxing even deeper. Continue enjoying your pleasant deepening relaxation until you are completely present and all muscles in your body are even more deeply relaxed.
Now, visualize exactly what you most desire related to whatever it was that was stressing you before.
Maybe it was a scenario where you needed some type of result. See the scenario going exactly as you most desire in as many details as you can imagine. See yourself enjoying this ideal result.
Now, connect with all the even more positive ways you feel now that what you desired has gone exactly as you most want. You likely feel very happy, peaceful and with equanimity.
Allow yourself to connect with those feelings and experience them more and more.
The more you do this, you’re going to feel even happier and your stress will get less and less or ideally disappear completely.
Hack #5: Expand the positive feelings you have even more
This hack is a continuation of hack #4. You have already visualized and experienced the outcome you most desire. You have connected with the positive feelings you associate with already achieving what it is you desire.
Now you are going to expand these positive emotions to feel even better, happier, with more equanimity (and much less stress.
Start by asking yourself, “Where do I feel most relaxed?”
Once you have identified the location, allow yourself to expand the positive feeling starting in that place, more and more, throughout your body.
Then, ask yourself, “what color is/are the positive feelings of relaxation in my body?”
Allow yourself to then increase the intensity of the color, where it radiates brighter and fills more and more of your body with the light of relaxation and peace.
Expand the light of relaxation even more where you are glowing like a radiant sun, positively affecting those around you and bringing them even more joy, peace, love, clear thinking, and equanimity.
The more you connect with and expand the feeling and color of the equanimity and peace in your body, the more your stress will be reduced or eliminated.
Hack #6: Consider the concept that we are here to evolve
I define the meaning of why we are here is “To have the greatest human experience while also transcending it.”
Whether you agree completely with or a variation of the above concept, you can choose to see all experiences as positive.
E.g. things that go differently as we had thought are learning experiences (and help us grow and evolve). Those that go as we wanted we can be thankful for and appreciate.
As such, we can reduce our stress by accepting and flowing with all things however they turn out.