This week, I invited author Andrea Hayes, to write a guest blog for the site about reducing stress in your life. You can check out more of her brilliant tips in her new book, My Life Goals Journal.
Do you dream of creating a change in your life but feel stuck or unsure where to start? Why wait for your dreams to come true? Start making them happen now and 2017 could be the best year of your life.
A journal is the perfect place to manifest change and is an excellent place to begin. I’m a big believer in setting goals, so first, set your intentions for the year ahead. Use your journal to define what you want from life and begin to take control to make your dreams come true. The simple practice of writing forces you to reflect on your life, and writing down your thoughts can be a cathartic process that helps you to clarify exactly what it is you want. Making changes in life is not about one-off actions, it is about forming new habits to transform your life.
At this time of year we can put a lot of pressure on ourselves, maybe we didn’t follow through on our new year’s resolutions, maybe money is tight or maybe we just feel overwhelmed. But how you talk to yourself and how you get yourself back on track are totally within your control – if you set yourself a goal, I promise you can make it happen.
Here’s some advice from My Life Goals Journal to you get you started on overcoming your mental blocks and forming new habits that will transform your life. These strategies worked for me and I know they can work for you too.
Stress Free Living
Everything in my life becomes more difficult to manage when I allow stress to take over. Our minds are always working, processing our thoughts and opinions, and we know that if we believe statements and repeat or think them often, our subconscious minds will accept them to be true.
Therefore the way we view situations and deal with them is essential for our wellness. Recognise the full value of how you react to stressful situations in your life.
You can control your reactions and how you manage situations.
You will find this a little difficult if you have programmed yourself to look at things from a negative perspective, so this month make a conscious effort to look upon every situation in your life in a more calm, confident manner with an inner trust that things are unfolding perfectly for your higher good. Think positively – no matter how bad things might feel, everything has a positive aspect and often, when you look back at stressful situations, you will find that they caused you to change your route and that your new path brought you somewhere much better than you had originally planned to go.
The way you think can determine the outcomes of many situations in your life – are you choosing positive and beneficial thoughts or projecting negative and fear-based thoughts into your future?
The good news is that with persistence and focus you will find it easy to find positives in every situation. You will begin to acknowledge when you allow stressful thoughts to filter in and at that point you can start to say stop.
If you are still struggling to think positively during times of stress, here are some simple ways to help you change your viewpoint and begin to see the positives in every situation.
1. Every time you catch yourself thinking stressful or negative thoughts, stop, take a moment and imagine deleting that thought and replacing it with a positive one. There’s no milk for your coffee? Delete the negative feelings of disappointment, pour a glass of water and think of how good it is to cleanse your system.
2. If you catch yourself catastrophising about the future and predicting a negative outcome or attaching failure to a situation that hasn’t happened, stop, take a moment and begin to imagine yourself in the future and see that situation working out perfectly with the best possible outcome. Visualise success and allow that feeling to really sink in for a minute or two and then believe that to be true.
3. Monitor your language. If you hear yourself talking in a negative or pessimistic way, stop, take a moment and make a decision to keep your conversation positive or choose to say nothing at all. This will help you remain calm.
4. Surround yourself with positive people and live in a positive environment. It is easy to identify the people whose negative mindset can be draining and stressful to be around. Make a conscious effort to avoid these people. If you find you fall into stressful thought patterns in work stop and take note. Put a positive quote or uplifting image as your screen saver on your computer as a reminder to stay positive and avoid the negative nellies!
5. Breathe – centre yourself during moments of increased tension and allow yourself thirty seconds to stop. Begin by taking a deep breath – there is no greater gift we can give ourselves than the power of our breath connected to our consciousness. Breathing in slowly, think of things that bring you joy and, breathing out slowly, think of people or situations that fill you with love. Breathing in again, acknowledge that there are times when you need to just stop, and breathing out, admit that today you can choose your thoughts. Reach for positive ones. Taking another deep, healing breath in, and allowing the fresh air to balance your energies, then breathe out and consciously release stressful negative thoughts and energies. Spend a few seconds longer in this sacred space and then, when you’re ready, continue on with your day.
6. Consciously smile more, and every time you smile remember that, from today, you are leaving negative stress-related thoughts behind you and forming new patterns towards positive thinking and behaviour. When in doubt, smile it out!