Have you ever tried a "stress" remedy that backfired? The vacation, for example, that left you needing a vacation. Or the massage that came straight out of The Twilight Zone and left you feeling tense. I know I'm not the only one.
Yet there's one anti-stress remedy that's rarely talked about, even though it works minor miracles. It's the one we've all had to learn repeatedly. Here it is: Make better decisions!
Better decisions: Hard to make, easy to live with
As an example, a friend I'll call Teresa told me again just recently how much she loved my suggestion to take one day a week to wrap up loose ends.
"Life has become so much calmer," she said. And the gush in her voice reminded me to get back to following my own advice.
If you want to find out in a hurry what would lower your stress, jot down your responses to the sentence stem, "Life has become so much calmer since I ..." Write all the things you would have to do for life to become calmer, even if you haven't actually done them yet.
Let your thoughts pour, and evaluate afterward. In case it helps, here's the list I came up with for myself:
"Life has became so much calmer since I ..."
- Started and ended each day with a life-giving routine (prepare the coffee, read something inspiring, count my blessings, etc.)
- Took time each day for silence
- Got off the computer most nights by 7:30 pm
- Turned off the news, long before bedtime
- Minimized my time on social media
- Started trusting my gut, even more than my doctors
- Called in a professional organizer (I did this in January—it helped even more than I thought it would)
- Learned to clean up the kitchen as I go, instead of leaving it all for after dinner
- Started taking on one less thing each day, instead of one more
- Stopped doing for others what they could and should be doing for themselves
- Made mutual respect and mutual enjoyment a measure of my relationships
- Decided not to take other people's foibles personally—and sometimes not take them at all.
Now it's your turn!
What is it time for you to start doing—or stop doing? What decisions would smooth the rough edges off your day, maybe for a lifetime? Do it. Keep making the decisions that will make this a breakthrough year.