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Follow Your Passion

There are multiple deadlines to meet at work, and you only have one day to finish them all. The bills are piling up and payday is still weeks away. To top it off, your 8 year old won’t eat his veggies and the youngest is throwing tantrums. Sounds familiar? These scenes could be straight out of your life. When life throws curveballs at you, your body’s natural response is to get stressed. These curveballs don’t all have to be negatives, in fact many of them would be positive. You can get stressed because of a new job, because you are just about to get married, or your kid is starting his first day in school. Stress can be caused by a single life-changing experience such as the death of a loved one or a divorce, or it can be caused by an ongoing event in your life such as disliking your job or being unemployed for long.
We actually need healthy amounts of stress in order to get things done and in order to get stimulated in our daily lives. Just imagine a world without stress. It would be stressfully boring. But too much stress can cause our health to decline and so stress that affects our lives too much needs to be managed. The good thing is that stress isn’t really that hard to deal with. There are simple ways by which a person can deal with stress and regain control over his health and life.

 Spend some time by yourself. Some quality time by your self is one of the most effective stress busters. Go for a few minutes of walk, treat yourself to that yummy slice of cake and piping hot chocolate drink, grab a mani-pedi or drive by the countryside during the weekend. By spending some alone quality time, you are allowing yourself a break and at the same time you’re also “rebooting” your system, getting rid of the clutter in your thoughts to enable you to make better, clearer decisions. You might also want to take this time to be still—avoid the stimulation from iPods, cellphones, computers, emails… a little stillness can go a long way in getting rid of stress.

Revisit your passion. Remember the activities that you loved doing before work and family got in the way? You know, that activity that you simply can’t get enough of and lets the whole world melt away when you were at it? Find some way to do that again. If you reorganize your time, there will always be space for it. Was it mountain hiking? Try to find a hiking community near you who can propose community schedules for you to choose from. Did you use to enjoy fishing? Then unwrap the fishing pole in the garage and fill the cooler with some snacks, take yourself to the nearest river or lake.

Take up exercise or relaxation activities. Exercise does wonders to lift a person’s mood up. Exercise encourages the release of endorphins in the brain, the chemicals responsible for feelings of happiness. A 20 minute jog daily can help clear your mind, elevate your mood, improve your circulation, and help you sleep at night—not to mention it protects you from diseases and helps you get better at sex! You can also try relaxation activities to still a stressed mind such as visualization techniques, tai’ chi or yoga.

Cry, Laugh. If you feel emotions overwhelming you, don’t bottle it up, cry! Like a dam that is filled with too much rainwater, sometimes we have to open the floodgates to relieve stress. There’s no shame in crying, it’s a natural stress response from our body. After crying you’ll feel just a bit lighter and you’ll be able to see things in a more positive light shortly thereafter. On the other side of the coin, you can also try and laugh your stress away. Laughter is indeed the best medicine when it comes to stress, so rent a movie featuring your favorite comedian, visit a comedy bar or read some jokes over the internet. You’d be surprised at what a single bout of laughter can do to keep stress away.