How To Relieve Stress
By Leo Gura - February 26, 2014 | 9 Comments
The top techniques for relieving the worst kinds of stress.
Hey, this is Leo from Actualized.org, and in this video I’m going to talk about how to relieve stress.
Feeling The Pressure
Welcome back. How to relieve stress? Let’s get into this. All of us are stressed, right? Who is not stressed in this modern, crazy world? With all the stuff we have on our plates, we are living a relly twenty seven hour day cycle in only twenty four hours. We’re trying to cram it all in there, we’re so overwhelmed.
Our bosses are driving us mad. Our clients are driving us mad. Our spouses are driving us mad. Our girlfriend or boyfriend is driving us mad. Our kids are driving us mad. Our tasklist and our calendars are driving us mad. Our emails, our phones are blowing up. How do we get peace in this life?
It can be hard, right? Especially now, when everything is on, everything is interconnected. We’ve got the internet, we’ve got cellphones. We literally are always at the beck and call of somebody else, twenty-four-seven, whether it’s your parents, or your business, your career, your boss. Somebody is always nagging your for something.
How do we relieve this stuff? How do we relieve the pressure that we put on ourselves from these lofty goals we have? Especially if we’re out there, living an ambicious life, the kind of life that we here at Actualized.org are espousing. The charged kind of life, where you’re not just sitting back on your couch, watching television all day. Where your life is about going out there and living something bigger. It’s about contributing your greatest gifts.
It’s about fulfilling your full potential. It’s about learning and challenging yourself, living on the edge. I tend to find that when you’re doing that, you’re going to get stressed sometimes, right? You get stressed from the gym workouts, you get stressed from the meditation sessions you do. You get stressed from staying on your diet. You get stressed from pushing your business forward. I feel all that myself.
It’s good to have some techniques. What I’m going to give you here are some techniques and some understanding of what is causing your stress, so you can start to get a handle on this.
It Comes From Within
First of all, the most important point. If you take away one thing, I want you to take away this. Stress, even though it feels like it’s coming from the world, is actually coming from yourself. You are putting stress on yourself. All of your stress, I don’t care how bad it is, is self-created.
This is actually a deep point. This is an advanced self-development point. I’m sure most of you will not be able to appreciate it. If you’ve been doing personal development, if you’ve been following along with my videos, really thinking about this stuff, then you’re starting to get a sense of this inner-outer world distinction that I talk about.
You start to get a sense that it’s not the circumstances that are creating the feelings in your life, but it’s your reactions to those circumstances. This is something that’s been echoed literally for millennia, from western old-school ancient philosophy, from the ancients stoics to the ancient Greeks and Romans, eastern philosophies, modern self-help gurus.
If you study this material, you start to understand that there’s something to this idea. At first it kind of just dawns on you that maybe there’s something true to this. AS you start to actually take responsibility, take ownership of what you’re feeling in your life, take ownership of your feelings and your thoughts, and you just commit to taking full responsibility for it, not blaming anything outside yourself, and you start to become more conscious, and you start to become more aware throughout your day of really what is going on. What are you thinking. What are you feeling? Why is this happening?
It dawns on you that you are creating all of it. Your ego is creating all of it. The struggle that you’re facing in your life is being created by a need to uphold your self-image, to live up to your ego. This is entirely avoidable if you go through the personal development work that is necessary.
Right now, maybe you’re just getting introduced to this idea and it might seems a little bit like “Woah, I don’t know what he’s talking about, this doesn’t apply to me.” First of all, I guarantee you that it applies to you. It applies to every human being, because we all have the same basic biological psychology.
The deeper idea is here: I want you to start to say to yourself “OK, maybe there’s something to this.” Just open your mind to it. Start to be a little more aware of how you are responsible for the stress you are creating in your life. You are responsible for both the good and the bad. By responsible, I don’t mean that you’re guilty and blameworthy, and that you need to be judged for the stress you’re creating in your life. Just the fact that you’re creating it, or allowing it.
Choice And Consequence
This is a big shift to make in your mindset. Up to this point, you probably have not been this conscious of how much you have been responsible — not blameworthy, responsible — for the stress you’ve been creating. That means that if you’re stressed at work, realise that you are putting yourself into that environment. You chose to work there. You chose to take those projects on. You chose to start that business. You chose to be in that relationship. You chose to be in your marriage.
All these things are conscious choices, or maybe unconscious choices, but you made them. You always have the option of backing out of them or tinkering with them to make sure they’re working better for you. You might be saying “Well, yeah, sure, I chose to be in my marriage, but I didn’t want my marriage to be as stressful as it is right now.” Granted, but take responsibility.
You’ve got to stop this making of excuses where you say “Well, I did choose this, but I didn’t choose the bad parts of it.” No, you chose that thing and it comes with the good and the bad. In fact, that good and bad, ,that distinction, it doesn’t exist in the external world. It only exists in your mind.
The Core Problem
The reason I’m hammering on this idea, and I’m going to go into more practical techniques you can use to reduce your stress, is because this is hitting at the root cause. I don’t want to just give you little band-aids over this wound. This wound is coming from the fact that you’re not recognizing the cause. Once you start taking responsibility for these things, then you’re going to start to see opportunities. Opportunities are going to open up for you.
Windows are going to open up for you. You’re going to say “Maybe I shouldn’t be working so much on that job. Maybe I should be taking on that new project, because actually what I want is some peace time with my family. I want some time to myself. I want some time to go fishing. I want some time to go read that book that I wanted to read. Maybe that book I wanted to write. Maybe start that blog I’ve been dreaming of starting.”
Starting to realise that — maybe you start to realise that relationship you’re in, that marriage you’re in, is not really healthy for you. It’s too stressful for you. It’s time to change it. There’s nothing wrong with making changes. Start to realise that. Start to realise how you’re creating your own stresses.
As far as how to actually reduce your stress and relieve it, here are some ideas. Another distinction I want to introduce here is that there are good ways to relieve stress, and bad ways. What does this mean?
A good way is a healthy way. It’s a way that’s going to empower you, it’s going to enrich you, and it’s going to put you in a stronger position than you were before. A bad way is a disempowering way, which is basically a crutch that is maybe relieving stress in the short term, but it’s actually robbing you of your life and your potential and energy in the long run.
Maybe it’s creating even more stress down the road, on a long-term basis. Bad is like using a credit card to pay for that impulse purchase that you’ve got. It might be fulfilling in the beginning, but it’s really not smart long-term. This is what I mean by good and bad.
Here are some good ways. Number one: exercise, physical activity, sports. This is huge. Go into the gym, great way to relieve stress, whether it’s strength training, cardio. Sports, whether at the gym, or team sports, getting involved in sports somehow is a great way — I find that after high school and college we tend to fall out of the whole sports scene — but it’s a good way to get yourself back and into doing something that’s really fun and stress-relieving.
Get yourself into some sort of league sport, whether it’s soccer, softball, or even just mentoring kids and being out there in nature and fresh air, moving your body. This is important. This starts to release chemicals into your brain that actually start to make you feel better, to relax you. Just the fact that you’re moving your body puts you in a flow state and gets you out of that self-consciousness mode.
Even simple things, like going for a walk and taking a hike, taking a lazy bike ride, those can all be great ways to unwind. Another one is reading. Reading books, reading something high quality. Another one is meditation and yoga. I’d probably put this at the top of the list. If you get involved with meditation, at the beginning it can be tough to build that practice, but the long-term benefits of that are just amazing.
Right now, I’m about six to eight weeks into my meditation practice, where I’m doing meditation every day for an hour. The effects I’m seeing on stress relief are just incredible. I highly encourage you to get involved with meditation, if you’ve — even if you’ve tried it, but you haven’t built a habit of it, I really encourage you to build that habit. I have other videos that will tell you how to do that.
Next: listening to music is a great way to unwind, slow your mind down. Another great way is family time. Create some quiet time with your family, whether it’s around the dinner table, playing a boardgame, just having a conversation, going for a family walk, going to the baseball game, some sort of family activity. Whatever that is, just having time to do that, so that you’re not bothered by this stuff, that can be really rewarding.
It’s going to relieve your happiness and relieve your stress. If you have some sort of creative hobby that you engage in, or think about picking one up, whether it’s learning how to play the guitar or the piano, maybe arts and crafts, maybe you’ve got some sort of writing project you want to work on, maybe you’ve got your car you want to work on — you’re a mechanical, tinkerer type of person, you want to get your hands dirty.
Whatever that is, have some sort of creative hobby in your life. At least one you like to engage in and you’re building skill in. It’s going to be a great way to relieve stress for you. Those are some good ways.
Do Not Do
Now let’s talk about some bad ways. These are ways you do not want to use. Gambling — do not gamble, whether it’s online or here in Las Vegas or anywhere else, don’t gamble. It’s a bad way to relieve stress. It’s also not very smart for you financially. Shopping, compulsive shopping — this has been a problem actually for me. Sometimes I will get compulsive about my shopping and go on Amazon, start buying shit that I don’t need.
Stop that. Stop buying stuff. The buying is not making you happy in the long run. It’s just a short, little stimulus, a little excitement, but it’s not doing anything for you positive in the long run. Smoking, drinking, drugs — any kind of chemical addictions or abuses you’re partaking in, definitely cut those out. Those are not helping your stress in a healthy way. They’re also destroying your body, which is going to start to show and manifest itself in all sorts of bad days as you age and grow older. Get that out of your system right now.
Video Games — not a good way to relieve stress. It’s kind of a low-consciousness way to do it. Internet browsing — also not good. Television — also not good. If you’re addicted to watching negative news cable news can be very addictive. Even reading the newspaper, just being too plugged in into that kind of stuff, being plugged into gossip.
Get that off. Get that off your whole radar. This is preventing you from living that kind of extraordinary life that you are capable of living. Stop all that stuff. It’s actually probably creating more stress down the road for you. That smoking that you’re doing, those drugs you’re taking, that overeating that you’re partaking in, that compulsive shopping, that internet watching, that TV watching — it might relieve some stress right now, in a minute, in the hour, but it’s actually building up other stresses.
Guilt, procrastination, laziness, lack of productivity, all of that is being built up over days and weeks and years. That is destroying you. That’s creating more and more stress. It’s creating a lower quality life for you.
Those are my ideas on how to relieve stress. Pretty simple. These have been well documented. A lot of these ideas that I’m sharing with you have actually been scientifically proven, with studies that have been done. Go ahead and commit to taking some action.
Number one, I want you to identify what is causing you the most stress in your life. Just be conscious of it. Don’t judge yourself for it, just let’s identify it. Is it your work? What specifically at work? Is it your relationship? What specifically in your relationship? Identify that and take responsibility for it. Don’t blame it on anyone else.
Even at work, don’t blame it on your boss. In your relationship, don’t blame it on your spouse, or your girlfriend/boyfriend. Take responsibility for it. That’s number one.
Number two, I want you to commit to one thing that you’re going to do that’s going to start to relieve your stress. What is that going to be for you? Are you going to have to start playing some sports? Do you want to do some exercise? Do you want to maybe read some more? Set aside some family time? Set aside some time for listening to music? Pick up a creative hobby that you’ve been dreaming of picking up but you just haven’t taken any action on? Commit to one of those. Whatever’s going to fit with your personality and your life right now.
The last thing is, I want you to really look and identify one bad thing that is a crutch you’re using. It’s one of these bad stress relievers that you really need to pull yourself out of. Gambling, shopping, smoking, internet, television — identify one of those and commit to pulling yourself out of it.
For most of you, I can bet television is something that you can pull out of right now, cut out, and that’s going to give you a huge quality of life improvement. Try television, if you don’t know. If you have something else, maybe drugs, shopping, that you’re addicted to, pull yourself out of that. Those are going to be some great ways for you to start to get a handle on your stress.
This is Leo, I’m going to be signing off. As always, please comment. I want to hear what you think about this and other ways that you have found for relieving stress, what’s worked for you. Go ahead, like this and share this, please. I really want to spread this content around. I think it’s useful. If you find it useful, share it with your friends and your colleagues at work or whoever.
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