Sadly, it is impossible to erase stress from your life for good. However, decreasing the amount of stress you feel is a perfectly doable task. The matter is, much stress comes from sweating the small stuff. How to stop stressing over the little things?
Do breathing exercises. Breathing exercises are a perfect way to calm yourself down right here and now. For example, diaphragmatic breathing (deep breathing from the diaphragm) helps cope with physiological stress symptoms, such as high blood pressure and tachycardia (heart rate above normal).
Find the reason. Breathing exercises will help you calm down when you need it, but they won't prevent you from stressing over the little things in the future. To solve the problem, you need to understand what caused it. Are you a perfectionist? Do you have an anxiety disorder? If you can't find the reason yourself, try consulting a psychologist.
Make a list of things that annoy you. According to research, the simple act of writing down the little things that stress you out helps put them into perspective and makes them seem even less significant. Once the list is ready, throw the paper away. You will be surprised to notice that some of the former triggers don't bother you anymore.
Think about something else. We aren't saying “Stop thinking about it”, because when someone is actively trying not to think of a polar bear they are more likely to think of one. You can't just stop thinking about something, but you have the choice to think about something else. Pleasant thoughts will replace stress-inducing ones.
Find a distraction. If stress-inducing thoughts keep creeping their way in, don't beat yourself up over it. Find an activity that will distract you. For example, meditation and regular exercise have been proven to lower stress levels. Spending time outdoors and reading can also help alleviate stress (just imagine how useful reading outdoors is).
Build a support system. You don't have to cope with your anxiety all by yourself. Ask people you trust to stop you when you start sweating the small things. Your friends will keep you in check until you're able to do it yourself.
Get over the fact that there are things you can't control. In the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton”, Aaron Burr says, “I am the one thing in life I can control.” That's true. There are a lot of things and situations that are beyond your control. You can't prevent these uncontrollable things, but you can learn to effectively handle something you can't change without enduring too much stress.
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