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Eric asked me to try to write about how I’ve achieved my awesome new level of calm in life. He’s not quite at my level yet, so he figured it would be best if I tried to explain it. We both feel that it could be helpful to a lot of people. I’m not entirely sure how I did it, there was a lot that went into getting less stressed. I’ll see if I can break down some of the important points at least.
One of the things that helped tremendously was letting go of the competition mentality. I don’t need to do as much or earn as much as anyone else. I’m not in competition with anyone. All I need to do is my personal best, and I need to enjoy doing it. When I stopped looking at other people to see if I was doing “enough”, it took a lot of pressure off my shoulders.
I also looked at what stress gets me. When I’m stressed I can’t think or communicate clearly. It makes me feel sick. It causes me to waste time. Why would anyone want that? Few things are so pressing that they can’t wait a few minutes. I give myself time to think and process, then act or speak. I do far better that way.
I also remind myself that I need to enjoy life. I need to work and do chores, sure, but that’s not all life is about. If you’re not enjoying life, you’re doing it wrong. So I learned to just relax and enjoy. I even found ways to make tasks like cooking and cleaning something to be happy about. I look for the good in everything. I look for ways to make things less stressful and more enjoyable.
Stress doesn’t do anyone any good. We cause ourselves more stress than we need. And there’s another important point: We cause ourselves most of our stress. It’s not other people like we think, it’s actually us. We see reasons to be stressed and angry in everything. You need to let go of that. Most of your stress is your own fault. Look at things differently and a lot of the stress melts away and you’re far happier.
A good example of looking at things differently is to realize that most things aren’t as big as you make them out to be. You can go from a stressed out “I have a TON to do” to calm, when you list things out and realize you only have to do four tasks, and none of them take more than 15 minutes. Thinking about the actual time it takes to do things can relieve stress too. That “full day” of stuff to do may actually only be an hour or two when you really think about it, and the stress goes away. You can also think of your most dreaded tasks (like changing the cat litter) as just some little thing you’ve got to knock out of the way so you can do things you enjoy. It helps a lot.
I’ll try to write more on the topic when it strikes me. In the meantime, feel free to ask questions about my process, maybe that will help spark my mind. I would love to help others find the peace that I’m finding. It makes my life so much better!