By: Odun Ishola

Finding an effective way to reduce stress is always a hot topic. A simple Google search of “how to reduce stress” yields a whopping 487,000,000 results. The fact of the matter is we’re all on the lookout for best practices to achieve the ultimate goal of becoming the most relaxed versions of ourselves.  I’m sure we’re quite aware of the usual advice to eat well, exercise and get enough sleep. However, putting those straightforward recommendations into practice can be challenging.  Sometimes, you have to be inventive in order to keep your stress levels from skyrocketing. I’m the type of person who’s constantly stressed, and over the years, I’ve come up with some creative coping mechanisms to keep myself in check.

  1. Set your clock ahead: Being late sets a bad precedence for the rest of the day. We typically become flustered and unfocused when we’re late. To avoid this, set your clock ahead 5-10 minutes and fool yourself into being early. Yes, you’ll know you’ve set yourself up, but the visual image of being late will propel you into action.
  2. Make your bed every morning: A cluttered mind is a stressed mind. A cluttered space is a stressful space. Taking the time to tidy up a bit helps to relieve anxiety caused by an overabundance of stimuli in an environment. As I mentioned before, getting enough sleep is an incredibly important part of reducing stress.  Having a clean, freshly made bed to snuggle into at the end of a long day guarantees the much needed rest you need.
  3. Say “no” more often: One thing we all have to realize is that we don’t owe anyone anything. Especially your time. If you’re unable or unwilling to commit yourself to a situation, SAY NO. Don’t feel obligated to perform every little favor that’s asked of you. This isn’t about being rude; it’s about being authentic and pragmatic. There’s nothing more liberating than being real with yourself and others.
  4. Stop lying– A little white lie here or there never hurt anybody, right? WRONG! This isn’t about morality; this is about getting rid of extra information to remember. How many times has this happened: You tell a small lie, and one month later, someone brings it up, you can’t remember the details of that lie, and you start scrambling, so you don’t get caught. The stress of keeping up with the snowball effect of a lie can be overwhelming at times. The easiest way to avoid these nerve-racking situations is to be truthful. Whoever said “the truth will set you free,” knew exactly what they were talking about.
  5. Stop ranting online. “I usually don’t rant on Facebook, but…” *insert long, drawn out diatribe about some obscure issue. * We’ve seen these posts; you’ve probably made one of these posts. Initially, it’s a huge sigh of relief to get it all out there in the open. Cathartic, one may say. But then it takes a turn for the worse when you don’t get the validation you want, and turns into a huge argument that you insist is a “discussion.” Or even worse, you do get that validation, and it opens up a thread of more ranting and seething with no resolution. Ranting online is a double-edged sword that leads to undue stress. In the long run, it only prolongs the amount of time you spend thinking about what bothers you.

Are there any unusual tips you have for reducing stress? Leave a comment below, I’d love to know!