We have access to time- and labour-saving devices beyond the dreams of any previous generation. Yet stress, anxiety and depression seem more common problems than ever before.
Do you recognise yourself in any of these common patterns? Feel overwhelmed by the pressures of modern living Can't say noDifficulty setting (and/or achieving) your goals Can't switch off at the end of the day Have problems finding time for the things and people that really matter Repeated procrastination Beset by interruptions, emergencies and deadlines
If stress, depression or anxiety is making your life a misery, then try these quick and easy tips to help you find relief.
Every week make sure you have something enjoyable to look forward to. It could be seeing friends, a night out at the movies, or even just a night in relaxing completely. As well as enjoying yourself, you'll have something that you can look forward to and it helps the week along.
Don't compare yourself to others who are apparently in a better or worse position than you. If people seem to have more material possessions than you do, that's OK – it may be that they're heavily in debt to be able to "afford" them. And on the other side of the coin, don't feel guilty that you are in a better position than others. You may hear about famines and disasters and wonder why you can't be grateful for your own circumstances. Just accept that your circumstances are unrelated to others' situations and address yourself only to matters you can have some control over. Even better, rather than just feeling guilty about those who have less than you, why not join a voluntary association and do something practical? As well as keeping your mind off your own problems, the warm feeling you get from helping others can lift your mood and boost your self-esteem.
A certain way to feel worse about your problems is to continually brood about them. You need to "switch off" and forget them from time-to-time. This could be through a hobby that you enjoy, a movie (with a happy ending!) or just listen to some relaxing music. The perfect excuse to sing, dance or even play air-guitar. Don't choose anything too heavy or emotional; that defeats the objective. Music is excellent for relieving stress, depression and anxiety, and it's definitely a better tonic than watching TV.
Do you sometimes feel as if you're 'burnt out'? It's a common problem in modern society. We do a full day's work, and then may come home to DIY, housework, meal preparation, elderly parents and/or taxi duties for the children. Everyone knows it's good to spend quality time with the family – but have you considered whether you're spending quality time with YOU? At work, have at least a 20 minute break each day. At home, schedule periods of rest and relaxation into every day. It's important for your mental and physical health. You'll perform better and feel better.
Often feelings of depression are triggered by a sense of being in a rut, with the same pointless activities and routines day after day. This isn't what life should be about. Although some sense of security and predictability is helpful to reduce stress, new experiences and achievements give sparkle to life. Do something outside your comfort zone. Take a course, learn a new skill – for instance a language or a musical instrument. Join a club, or go on an activity holiday – even just a long weekend break. These needn't be expensive activities. Check in your local library, you'll often find free activities that can just give you the change of scene you need.
If you apply the above tips as often as you can, perhaps even just one a day, you'll soon see a big difference in the way you feel.
By Joy Healey and Chris Green Professional Life-Coach
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