100 Ways to Overcome Stress

by Jonathan

overcome stress

Stress comes in many forms and enters our lives through a multitude of channels. How can we deal with such a pervasive force?

Clearly, there is no singular solution to such a complex issue, but there are simple steps that work well in the war against stress.

Every single day dozens of people come to this blog looking for ways to overcome or counteract the stress they are experiencing. I hope this helps!

100 of my favorite stress busters

1. Forgive yourself for every mistake you’ve ever made.
2. Forgive others for their offenses against you.
3. Stop obsessing over things you can’t control.
4. Take breaks often to clear you mind.
5. Do one thing at a time.
6. Stop over analyzing and start doing.
7. Stop judging what others do or don’t do.
8. Learn to say no and really mean it.
9. Only add to your “to do” list after crossing 2 things off.
10. When you buy something new, get rid of something old.

11. Give yourself some sincere approval.
12. Stop being a perfectionist and move on.
13. Let go of trying to control everything.
14. Don’t get emotionally invested in every little thing.
15. Quit agonizing over decisions you’ve made. It’s a done deal.
16. Remember that almost everything is temporary.
17. Ask yourself: Will it matter in 3 years? If not, let it go.
18. Find reasons to laugh out loud several times a day.
19. Stop taking things personally, it’s not always about you!
20. Use Touchstone Triggering to enhance the positive.

21. Don’t compare yourself to others. Life is not a contest.
22. Smile at everyone!
23. Start every conversation with a positive thought.
24. Don’t worry about things that haven’t happened yet.
25. Quit reacting like everything is an emergency.
26. Exercise every single day!
27. Don’t trade sleep for work.
28. Eat for nourishment not for comfort.
29. Express gratitude for the small things you appreciate.
30. Choose walking over driving whenever possible.

31. Do things that connect you with the earth.
32. Put up a bird feeder and become a bird watcher.
33. Don’t watch the news, especially when you are eating.
34. Listen to music that calms your soul and carries you away.
35. Get an answering machine or service.
36. Alarm clocks are rude, learn to wake up naturally.
37. Go to the beach or river and soak up the negative ions.
38. Do something nice just for you every single day.
39. Do something nice for someone else every single day.
40. Tell the people you love how you feel daily.

41. Count your blessings every morning and every night.
42. Eliminate unnecessary commitments.
43. Don’t allow others to make you feel pressured.
44. Stop creating unnecessary drama in your life.
45. Take 10 slow, deep breaths every hour on the hour.
46. Help others whenever it is within your power to do so.
47. Consciously relax every muscle in your body at bed time.
48. Turn off the “problem solver” 2 hours before bed time.
49. As soon as you wake up, do a gratitude review.
50. Play with your children or pets every day.

51. Laugh at yourself.
52. Be early for everything so you don’t feel rushed.
53. Make peace of mind a high priority in your life.
54. Find ways to express your creativity regularly.
55. Do an hourly brain dump for 30 seconds. Let it all go.
56. Hang out with happy, light hearted people.
57. Never complain. If something bothers you take action.
58. Don’t use words like stressed out, worried, or pressured.
59. Never rush through a meal. Savor every bite.
60. Maintain you energy levels and you will stress less.

61. Reduce spending and work toward being debt free.
62. Lighten your material load. More stuff = more stress!
63. Practice unplugging from the electronic world.
64. Read for pleasure and relaxation.
65. Exchange massages with someone.
66. Inhale calm, exhale tension.
67. Identify and eliminate energy drains.
68. Don’t flog your adrenals with more coffee, get some rest.
69. Actively interact with positive people as much as you can.
70. If it’s not your problem get out of the way (like tailgaters).

71. Get a hobby that completely captures your focus.
72. Never respond to or repeat gossip, it will backfire.
73. Only project positive thoughts into your future.
74. Be realistic with the demands you put on yourself.
75. Take care of your health, 90% of illness is stress related.
76. Don’t over focus on potential (imaginary) problems.
77. Maintain an optimistic perspective.
78. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
79. Be reasonable about scheduling your time.
80. Accept that everything takes longer than you think.

81. Use applied focus sessions to create more free time.
82. Stop trying to do everything yourself. Get some help.
83. Never argue with ignorance it will only frustrate you.
84. Adopt a stress free attitude because it’s all perception.
85. Remember that negative life lessons have great value.
86. Counter stress with anti-stress actions like squeezing stress balls.
87. When you’re feeling down take time to help other people.
88. Get rid of anything or anyone that makes you miserable.
89. Control over expectation to avoid disappointment.
90. Remember; first come the fear then the blessing.

91. Don’t stress out trying to get everyone to agree with you.
92. Stay away from the negative what if syndrome.
93. Seize every opportunity to be encouraging to others.
94. Live in the present instead of longing for the past.
95. View challenges as opportunities to minimize stress.
96. Unchain Yourself from conventional thinking myths
97. Multitasking creates stress and lowers productivity, don’t do it.
98. Believe that if it doesn’t kill you it will make you stronger.
99. Harness the anti-stress Power of Your Emotional Vocabulary.
100. Life isn’t always fair but it is still a gift, practice gratitude.

Letting go of Stress

When stress continues over a sustained period of time it can have devastating results. Recognizing the value of eliminating stress doesn’t do us much good if we don’t have the right skills to actually do it. So, is there a way to lessen the effects of stressful situations and to eliminate the harmful cumulative effects that are interfering with our ability to create the life we really want?

This is a great video with some excellent tips on how to overcome stress and anxiety. Jon Mercer spent more than 25 years dealing with his own severe anxiety disorder. Now he is an anxiety coach and his EasyCalm video series has helped more that 30,000 people worldwide. This is the first video of his 10 video series.

EasyCalm Video Series

Here’s the link to learn more about Jon Mercer’s  EasyCalm videos series.

Okay, there’s mine!
How about sharing some of your favorite anti stress strategies.

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{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandra Lee

This is exactly what I needed to hear/read today. And it’s in your unique style and approach, which I really appreciate. Thank you so much!

It seems like stress is the topic for September!

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Sandra and thanks for being here. For months now I have noticed that the phrase “how to overcome stress” has been at the top of the list for “terms searched” in google that brought people to my blog. I thought it was time to answer the call.

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Frank Jovine

Nice post Jonathan, but can I add 101?

Bourbon and diet coke next to a warm fire.

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hey Frank, we could easily add another 100 simply by changing the drink order to suit everyone’s personal preference, but it is certainly a valid addition.

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rob white

Observing my parrot, Shakespeare… he gets my nerves calmed every time. Because he does not have any sympathy for my plight, he helps me see how petty we (humans) can be.

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Too true Rob, If we were put in situation where survival was the primary focus, it’s amazing how many other things wouldn’t matter anymore.

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Zeenat{Positive Provocations}

HI J!
Such a wisdom filled post! All your 100 de-stress fixes are awesome! You have worded each with such few words…and such massive impact…wow! I love them all.
Infact you know since you asked about our personal methods of destressing..I just did an article on it a few weeks back. There i mentioned ( in short):
-laughing lots,
-eating chocolate,
-Play lots,
-Dream your big big dreams while you are awake and
-Hug lots :)
There are many many more…but essentially these are my fun quick fix de-stress tips :)
But your hundred are the ones that have the long lasting feel to them.
Lovely article..
Much Love,
Z~

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Z and thanks for the encouragement. I think it’s cool to see how other people keep the stress monster under control and I appreciated your article. I actually had a pretty vivid mental image of you laughing and eating chocolate while reading it.

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Dia

Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for the list! My favorite out of all of them is number 49 about showing gratitude. There is nothing like going over our gratitude list every day. Thanks for sharing

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Dia, I agree that gratitude is one of the best ways to create a positive mental shift. It’s one of my favorites also.

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Nea

Great list, Jonathan. I love that you started it off with a bang–forgiveness. Resentments toward ourselves and others do indeed eat away at us and cause chronic stress.

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Nea, I had this post loaded and ready to go, but had planned to add some outgoing links to stress articles on other blogs (like yours) before publishing it. The next morning my DSL internet connection was down (still is) and it was late afternoon before I took the laptop and went searching for a hot spot. Long story short, never got to add those links, just had to hit publish.

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Tim Brownson

Is that all you have, just 100? ;-)

This post must have taken a shed load of work and as somebody that hates list posts (normally) I tip my hat to you Jonathan.

Good work fella!

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Tim, it’s rare that I do a long list like this . I usually prefer a more detailed look at only a few points. This one was just kinda happened. I was listing some ideas and before I knew it I had over 40. So I thought “why not.”

Stress is really taking a toll these days and yet it is usually the simple shifts that help the most. The hardest thing was making them all one liners.

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Jarrod

- Breathe
- You have survived 1000s of days already, today is no different
- If someone else has passed this challenge so can you
- You are already complete inside
- Happiness is always your choice

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Jarrod, after reading your comment I started wondering how many days I have already survived (really more like thrived in my case). Wow, over 21 thousand.

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Chris

I like #84 – perception really is everything! Once I was feeling stressed in traffic. I felt angry and frustrated. Then I changed the soundtrack in my head and watched everything with with a classical score playing… soon it was entertaining… graceful… peaceful!

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Good job Chris, perception really is the bottom line for most things.

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Kate

Hiya,
There are some fantastic ideas in here!
My favourite stress buster is a long walk, on my own., somewhere green where I can hear birds or insects, not roads!!

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

I’m with you Kate. Fresh air and nature is a powerful combo.

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Robin Easton

Dear Jonathan, I rarely print out articles, but this is one that I did print out as it is SO useful for me right now. I am going to pick something from this list each day and do it. I feel almost as if you wrote this list for me and where my life is at right now. LOL! :) So thank you from my heart, because I can use it.

I agree with what Chris said, #84, that is something I think about everyday. I am trying to shift my perception in so many situations. Because I sense it is only an “off” perception that causes a high percentage of stress.

Oddly, I’ve been thinking about doing a list, just this last week, just haven’t decided on the subject. So it was cool to see you do this one.

You guys have a great R and R and say hi to the water for me. I miss it here in the desert!
Hugs and sooo much gratitude, Jonathan.
Robin

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Robin, I completely agree that perception is the key. In fact, many of the suggestions here are based on a slight tweak in perception.

The other factor that has a huge influence on how we view almost everything is how big or small our focus is. When we focus too much on ourselves our world begins to constrict until everything is about us. This narrow mindset tends to foster negative responses like being easily offended, frustrated, upset and feeling neglected. Selfish people are rarely happy people. Lots of stress involved in those kind of feelings.

On the other hand, the larger our viewpoint, the more universal our focus becomes. From that vantage point we encourage love, compassion, fellow feeling and joy. Obviously a much more harmonious mindset.

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Stephen - Rat Race Trap

Hi Jonathan, I almost stressed out trying to read your 100 stress busters :-)

Boy did I learn this one. It took me until I was about 30 to give up on it:

91. Don’t stress out trying to get everyone to agree with you.

I wish I could convince more people of this valuable advice (oops did I just break 91?):

42. Eliminate unnecessary commitments

My favorite – I can spend hours doing watching them:

32. Put up a bird feeder and become a bird watcher.

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Stephen, trying to convince everyone to see things “our way’ is really just an exercise in futility that create frustration, which of course leads to stress. Plus, it’s really an ego trip based on needing to prove that we are right. I struggled with this for many years myself. What a HUGE relief when I finally just let it go.

We actually honor others by accepting the fact that they have a perfect right to think and believe anything they want even if it seems like foolishness to us. Sharing our thoughts and giving them the opportunity to consider our viewpoint is completely different as long as we let them decide for themselves whether to accept or reject what we say. Arguing is guaranteed to produce stress.

We love watching the birds! In my opinion, nothing is more entertaining than animal.

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Linda

I love this list. These are my favourites:
4. Take breaks. I always come back to my lap top with a fresh attitiude when I take a break.
34. ‘Don’t watch the news…’ I’d add this:
PERIOD! If it’s out of my control, why get stressed about it? On holiday I never watch the news and I feel so much better for it.
71. ‘Get a hobby…’ I guess this is it! Blogging is addictive!

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Linda, my family has taken #34 to a whole new level. We don’t watch TV at all. We own a TV and DVD player, so it’s not like we are being deprived. We just refuse to allow the talking heads, commercials, and programed stupidity into our home. The other day some guy called and wanted to make me a great deal on hundreds of channels over a dish network. When I explained why I didn’t want it he just could not relate. I’m cool with that.

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Andrea DeBell - britetalk

Hi Jonathan! That’s an impressive list. For me the most effective way to release stress is mindfulness. Number 5 (Do one thing at a time) pretty much sums it up in my world.

When I’m focusing on the future and all I have to do and places I have to be, life is stressful. When I bring my awareness to this moment and the task at hand, life is automatically manageable.

If I take life in small doses, one moment at a time, one task at a time, than life is beautiful, relaxing, and rewarding.

Loving blessings!

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Andrea, I feel exactly the same way. It is kinda ironic that so many spend the majority of their time stressing over past or future when all we really have is right now. Life happens in the present and that’s where we need to live it. Obviously, we benefit from reviewing the past and setting goals for the future, but the majority of our attention should be in the here and now.

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Nadia Ballas-Ruta

Hi Jonathan,

That is an impressive list. I don’t know what impresses me more…what you wrote or the fact that you could actually come up with 100 ways to handle stress. That is so awesome.

As for me, I view stress like I view fear. A bully that just wants to torment me for no good reason. So I hear it out, see if there are any merits and if there are, I heed them and then I ignore the rest. Worse case scenarios are not as bad we think.

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Nadia, I was actually surprised how easy this list was to do. I did 40 or 50 almost as fast as I could type, took a break and made it all the way to 80 in the next session. I let the last 20 or so ruminate for a day or two, but there they were waiting in my brain once I started up again.

I love the bully metaphor, that really lays it out nicely. Sounds like you’ve got a great approach to dealing with both fear and stress. Thanks for sharing that with us.

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Marion

Jonathan

Thank you for “Alarm Clocks are Rude” I have never come across that before and I love it. It also made me smile :-) I have been practicing waking up naturally and early – it is such a better way to start the day

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Marion, maybe it’s because I am sensitive to noise pollution, but I will only use an alarm clock if I need to leave for the airport at 3:30 AM. or some other extremely rare situation along the same lines.

In fact, I dislike alarm clocks so much that I can’t really sleep if I know that such rudeness awaits me. I’ll wake up every 5 minutes and look at the clock so I can get up and disable it right before it goes off. Either way, I am better off without one. I just tell myself what time I want to get up and that’s usually when I awaken. If that doesn’t work it tells me that I need to start getting more sleep.

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Lauren

Dear Jonathon,

I love your numerous ideas for handling stress.

What I especially like is many of these things aren’t ordinarily things we’d think about in terms of the stress aspect.

I’m happy that I do a lot of these things already. While I am sometimes occupied with the busyness of life, I limit it and ensure I have relaxation and do things that feed my heart and soul.

If I find myself feeling negative, I become aware as soon as possible, acknowledge it, and then turn it into something that feels good.

Experiencing the good in life is a habit I’ve cultivated (just as we often learn to focus on the negative as a habit). It’s changed my life – for the better!

Thanks for the great post with so many good ideas for de-stressing.

Warm regards,
Lauren

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Greetings Lauren, sounds like you have found one of the rarest gifts in life – balance! You can always feel the sense of being grounded and centered form those who work toward balance. Thanks for being such a good example of this rare quality.

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Elmar Sandyck

Awesome list! I’m definitely guilty of multitasking! Sometimes it’s a good thing, and now I realize most of the time it’s not. How long did it take you to list these down? I really enjoyed reading this. Seriously thinking of printing this out and putting it in front of my desk!

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Elmar, as busy people, I think we all slip into multitasking mode on occasion. And for some mindless chores it can work (or at least it seems to). It didn’t really take that long to do this list. For some reason about 80% of it just flowed onto the page once I got totally focused on it.

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Farnoosh

Jonathan, this is so much for one read – so much to digest and think over and reflect upon….I love it. Thank you SO MUCH for adding punctuality in there (the link love is sweet)! and thank you also for promoting such a wonderful message. Stress is the culprit for many illnesses and depressions and to uplift ourselves is to heal ourselves….

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Farnoosh, to be honest, punctuality is a challenge for me and I really appreciated you article. I always try to squeeze too much into my day, but I’m working on it. Much of what I write is a reminder for “self.” If we find ourselves rushing to be on time, that’s stress we don’t need in our lives.

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Marko

Great work Jonathan… Posts about stress and self-confidence are my favorite on your blog.

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Thanks Marko, those are certainly aspects of life the have a big influence on everything else.

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Mark

Jonathan,

Terrific article, I like #100 best be grateful. If you are grateful then you cannot be complaining or obsessing.

The way I relieve stress, I simply pray.

Mark

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Mark, gratitude has a real positive balancing influence on our overall perspective of life, that’s for sure! Thanks for mentioning prayer, it’s one of my personal favorites also.

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Carla Fiscina

Dear Johnathan, many thanks for this interesting post. I guess, every reader of yours can find something special for himself in this long and thoughtful list. I’d add my favorite stress remedy: a cup of herbal tea, of course :)
Best wishes!

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Carla, a relaxing cup of herbal tea is also a nice compliment to many of the items listed her. So, for stress reduction which herbal teas are your favorite?

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arina nikitina

Wonderful, wonderful post, Jonathan! Sometimes I think I love working too much, so it shouldn’t be THAT stressful. But later on, realization sinks in, and even the things we love doing do cause certain degrees of stress. This article would surely find its way as my favorite thing to read (or think about!) when I am on the verge of being too burdened. Of course, I’d add my own stress buster that works every time, all the time – watching one or two hilarious movies. The experience always brings great relief!

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Arina, I know what you mean about work because I go through the same thing. Whenever we spend too much time on one single endeavor it tends to take away from other important aspects of life. The resulting imbalance creates stress.So, a balanced approach is always a good preventative measure against stress.

I don’t watch any kind of network or cable TV programing, but we do own a DVD player along with a nice collection of funny movies and even some old sitcoms. Like you, I find that laughter works wonders.

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Betty Nabukeera

Share with the one you trust about your problem or situation.

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Betty, that’s a good one.

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arina nikitina

101. Find a pond in the countryside and just sit there and relax.

102. Sit in the backyard on a warm night, drinking tea.

103. Listen to Asian instrumental songs.

104. Draw something and use crayons to color them.

105. Listen to James Taylor!

I just thought of adding my ideas. LOL!

Really great post. My concern is that I hope making the list up to 100 didn’t give you stress! LOL!

And year, 106… LAUGH!

Cheers!

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Arina, thanks for making those additions. For some reason this was a fairly easy list to compile, no stress involved at all. It just flowed out of me. Kinda surprising actually.

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Ananga

That’s quite a list – I’m impressed! I think my all time favourite is No. 3 Stop obsessing over things you can’t control.

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Ananga, that’s one of my favorites also. It is such a colossal waste of time and energy.

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Rocket Bunny

I find myself on the tread mill or calling a friend that makes me laugh. I think surrounding myself with happy upbeat people allows my stress level to resume a happy medium level.
I try not to over think a situation but find a positive in every negative experience.

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Bunny, stress is one of those pervasive thing that can build up without us noticing until it reaches that tipping point. Then we need to actively look for ways to get it back within bounds.

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Varun

Hi Jonathan , I was feeling tense before reading this so I start working on my positive sides. Well, I know it will take time but I think this article can lead to the less stressful life.

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

That’s excellent Varun. Yes, it does take time to build new habits, but it is well worth the effort.

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desyree

Hi Jonathan, Congratulation for the brilliant 100 ideas in handling this matter. I like your point #5 and #8. For #5, I found myself multitasking and its hard to say No for the point #8. So I got plenty of works from others and being stressed. I wish I really meant it when I say NO.

-Kind regards

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Desyree, if you consider what is at stake by always saying yes (like your peace of mind) it makes it easier to say no and mean it.

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Konnar

Thank you so much! This is really improving my life. My work is seeming to slow down and it helps me mentally. I’m not really sure what a gratitude review is though.

Thanks again!

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Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hi Konnar, a gratitude review is when you take time to think about (mentally review) all the things you are grateful. If you do this daily it will change your perception of life and stress.

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mourissa

Hi Jonathan, i love the whole list but 14 and 25 are my favorite.
This is so nice. I always wondered how possible it could be to live without stress!
Thank you so much

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Daniel

Hi Jonathan,

No. 21 “Don’t compare yourself to others. Life is not a contest.” Is a big one for me.

It took a long time to understand that I am who I am. A couple of years ago I finally realized what I really want to do in life, and what are my real passions. Only then I stopped comparing myself to others understanding that my achievements in life are based on my own past action and my own personal growth, which cannot be compared to others.

Have a great weekend,
Daniel

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Grace

I just love you #12, I am a perfectionist and I get to be so stressed with that. Now, I am learning to really stay calm and be a little loose.

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Mohammed Ikram

Thanks You, it helped me instantly will try to continue applying these steps in my daily life :)

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denynacy

I always feel about my past think about my present and worried and worried about my future, i used to blame and scold myself for no reason. like i am stupid, idiot, bad etc.i try to overcome my problem after going through these steps. thank you so much.

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Marie

Out of all these tips, I think I can use numbers 4, 5, and 51. I can probably apply them on my work since this is where I really get most of my stress load. With too much stress faced, I badly need ways to just get them off my head. Sometimes I forget how to relax and just feel good. Reading these tips somehow made me feel relaxed though.

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prashant m vadukar

Thank you very much for providing information that is very useful to all human kind.

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Yolonda

Hi Jonathan, I found this very interesting. I came across this as I was looking for ways to reduce stress, manage your emotions and stay motivated. This is a question for an online class that I am taking. So thanks for your list it will help me out.

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rachid

I think that stress is a way to know we are alive. So we should celebrate our awareness of our life and congratulate ourself on our achievements.
Thank you Jonathan fot these useful tips .

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Jean

Good things to keep in mind when you are having a stressful day or activity. Just as what most people say, it’s all in the mind.

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cissy

95 really worked for me thx alot

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