13 Additional Sure-Fire Ways to Live a More Relaxing Life

by Henrik Edberg

This is a follow-up to my article 14 Sure-Fire ways to Live a More Relaxing Life that I published a few months ago.

It´s the rest of the tips I came up with during those brainstorming-sessions but then lay forgotten for months in the depths of a overstuffed folder of blogging ideas.

I hope you can have some use of them to decrease stress and negativity and to relaxify your life.

1. Change your way of looking at life. You can choose how you look at things and how you react. As Holocaust-survivor and psychologist Viktor Frankl says in one of my favourite quotes:

“Between stimulus and response is the freedom to choose.”

To help changing a negative or neutral outlook at life have a look at Take the Positivity Challenge.

2. Do what you really like to do. It might be playing with your children, fishing, playing video games/board games/water polo, collecting something, writing or painting. Or something entirely else. Whatever it is, do it on a regular basis. And perhaps try to find time do it more – and/or in a better and more focused way – than you do today. Immersing yourself in such a joyous activity is a great and rewarding break from the stress of your life.

3. Have a good support-group. Don´t listen too much to people that are very negative or overly critical of you. It can really drag you down and the negativity is most likely more about them and their life than you (don´t block out all criticism though, it can be both valid and useful). If the situation gets really bad try to find ways to spend as little time as possible with such people. Or put an end to the relationship.

4. Finish what you started. An unfinished task or project can create a lot of underlying anxiety and stress. It picks and picks at the back of your mind even if you aren´t consciously thinking about it. There is an uneasy feeling that you just can´t rid of. Fully finish what you have started. And your mind will relax.

5. Schedule breaks into your calendar. A jam-packed calendar full of meetings and appointments back-to-back can become overwhelming and exhausting. You may have to schedule breaks into your calendar to be sure to actually take and enjoy them. Otherwise you may get stuck in a never-ending loop of thinking that “I´ll take a break later…”. That “later…” will, of course, most often mean never.

6. Educate yourself. Good information can lift the fog of anxiety when faced with a problem or the unknown. If you prepare by reading a bit about what you are about to face then you may not only find some useful solutions that have worked for others before you. You may also discover that the problem is perhaps not as gigantic as your mind is trying to fool you into believing.

By educating yourself you can also set your expectations about the world and how it works to a reasonable level and work better with less disappointment after the initial enthusiasm has dissipated. Knowing what problems you might run into when, for instance, starting a new project can soften the emotional blows and arm you with a few potential solutions.

A third advantage of self-education is that it can help you improve your life and your work in many different ways. Not only by helping you find ways to increase productivity and such things but also if you want promotions, a raise in pay and new opportunities, challenges and other upsides at work etc.

7. Outsource. If you have a lot to do, don´t do everything yourself. There are only so many hours in a day and, at least sometimes, you cannot do everything yourself. Figure out ways to get good people to exchange their time for your money (or some other value like your time or knowledge) so you can do more of what you really like doing. Or just get some more sleep.

8. Find a solid solution (or two) for beating procrastination. You can find 7 good methods here. And an effective and simple little tip right here. Try some of these tips and see what actually works for you. If you need more ideas, consider picking up Brian Tracy´s Eat that Frog! 21 great ways to stop procrastination. As always with Tracy, it has some good and solid advice.

9. Do just one thing at a time. Single tasking and focusing on doing just one thing at a time not only decreases stress but from my – and many other´s – experience gets things done a whole lot quicker than if you multitask.

10. Take a vacation. It’s not very healthy to work all the time. Just about everyone needs a vacation where you just let go of everything. Much-written-about author Tim Ferriss even suggests that you take mini-retirements once in while.

11. Stop reading. Don´t become a self-help junkie. Don´t become an information junkie. You don´t need more information (and faster) all the time. Instead, give you brain a break, sit down at a pub or café and just watch the world while sipping a coffee or a beer.

12. Get off the internet. It’s easy to become a RSS/Email-junkie. Or a Reddit/Digg-junkie. That’s when you check these endless information sources maybe 5, 10 or 20 times a day thinking: ”What’s new?”. Get off the internet once in a while or as much as you can. Bunch emails/RSS-reading and similar tasks. Disconnect your internet-connection for at least a while each day or week. It not only calms the mind but also lets you get more of the most important stuff in your life done quicker and easier.

13. Create a space of silence and stillness. When working block out as many distractions as you can. Besides unplugging your internet-cable and phone-cord also make sure your door is shut. If you can you might even want to lock the door while you work for a specific block of time (perhaps an hour or 90 minutes). This might feel a little uncomfortable at first but it really increases your focus, clarity of mind and puts you in a productive state of well-being.




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{ 11 comments }

Jaan June 3, 2007 at 1:01 am

Great list, and some good tips. I’m still the RSS junkie though :P .

Tantowi June 3, 2007 at 3:54 am

Live like the other half—for an hour or two
Check out a house thats for sale in a pricey neighborhood, or test-drive a luxury car—maybe a convertible?— like you mean it. At the very least, you’ll get some great decorating ideas, and maybe you’ll even discover a “gently used” BMW in your price range.

SpiKe June 3, 2007 at 11:13 am

Good article, i’m all for cutting back on the endless stream of information/media that comes our way. Besides being distracting, we become less influenced by their effects. When you have 1000′s of songs to download, why bother listening and fully appreciating that latest album you got?

Organize IT

imran khan June 4, 2007 at 5:28 pm

I found this article very special and interesting. I would like to thank for your tips and advices and they are worth following.

Henrik Edberg June 4, 2007 at 9:44 pm

Jaan and Imran: Thanks for your kind words.

Tantowi: That´s a good suggestion and sounds like a a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing.

Spike: I totally agree, it certainly gets harder to fully appreciate things and thoughts when there is always something new you can read or download just around the virtual corner.

jenjen June 4, 2007 at 10:40 pm

Great tips – btw, this blog was the 84th one I added to my rss feed collection, so obviously I can use the help.

Pat June 5, 2007 at 3:09 am

I agree with each one on the list, especially with education. Our knowledge regarding a better life depends on how much information we have and we can easily increase our knowledge by educating ourself.

Alex June 6, 2007 at 6:58 am

Very nice tips.
I agree that we need to have enough of what we like to do. Stress is one major factor that affects our performance and we can’t let it accumulate.

Henrik Edberg June 6, 2007 at 1:28 pm

jenjen, Pat and Alex: Thank you for your positive comments, I really appreciate them.

Rise June 6, 2007 at 10:11 pm

Good entry. I feel 9-13 suits well for our generation and can be summed up as ‘slow down’. I sometimes wonder if people take time to go back to their bookmarks to think over them. Same goes for the blog posts.

Henrik Edberg June 8, 2007 at 10:23 am

Rise: Thanks. Slowing down is a important part that is often overlooked today. I´m hoping that will change, possibly as the information-overload finally becomes too large.

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