How to reduce stress and anxiety? 5 steps to reduce stress and anxiety in our daily life.

How can we reduce stress and its causes?

Stress has become part and parcel of our life and it is important that we know how to reduce stress and anxiety in our daily life so that we may focus on our tasks more mindfully.

Through the last few centuries, humans have made tremendous progress. Both in terms of civil structures and technological growth.

This fast paced growth in technology has led to drastic changes in our way of life. Our bodies, on the other hand, have not been able to keep pace with that rapid change and as a result, they are still stuck in the times when humans used to hunt to survive.

The way of life that we lead now goes hand in hand with stress and our bodies as a result are not capable of handling it effectively.

Definition of stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.

Such demanding circumstances and high stakes situations are everywhere in everyone’s life. It doesn’t matter if you are a student studying for an exam or a professional athlete or a guy working a deadline on a job.

Everyone suffers from stress and thus, as a result, we need to know how can we reduce stress in our daily life. This article explains what stress can lead to and the five steps in which we can better manage it in our daily life.

Is stress bad?

Stress is a natural response and it brings our attention to the circumstances at hand. Every animal in nature feels stress. It is a natural symptom of the body to a circumstance called a ‘stressor’ that you might encounter.

In response to stress, your body releases hormones. These hormones, like Adrenaline and Cortisol, bring your body in a state of fight or flight.

In this state, our body enters a panic mode and that enables us to focus on the task at hand.

So that must mean that stress is a good thing right? Why should we reduce stress when it helps us focus?

Well, short term stress is a good thing. Short-term stress is completely natural. The problem we face is that we tend to stay in a state of stress for longer periods.

Staying in stress for such long periods is not natural and has adverse effects on our bodies. Therefore this long term stress is where all the harms associated with stress arise.

What are the harms of long term stress?

It is proven that long term stress is the cause of obesity. It causes weakening of our immune system and even leads to several types of cancers.

Stress can also cause several other types of other diseases as well. Diseases that range from blood pressure to even in some cases premature death. The stress in our life doesn’t stop there. It induces in us a need for instant gratification.

Our mind starts to crave things or experiences that provide us instant positive feedback and in this way, we distract ourselves from the issues that we face in hopes that they will reduce stress.

reduce stress
Theperfect advise 5 steps to reduce stress and anxiety

Impulsive cravings of instant gratification might urge you to go to the refrigerator to get some food. They might push you go out shopping or get a cigarette or even open your phone to watch some entertainment.

These instant gratification choices compound over time and lead to unintended consequences. You can read more about it in our blog post about long-term philosophy.

What is the cause of this stress?

Let us think for a moment if the stress is all external or is it internal?
We think about the things that cause stress and most of them are external, right? It’s money, grades, job, relationships and all those things are the external factors in our life.

If we introspect deeply we will find that the stress we feel isn’t something external. By saying that the stress is caused by outside forces you start to blame things outside your control for the stress you feel and perceive yourself as a victim.

The stress isn’t something outside our control. The stress we feel depends on our internal situation.

Living with a victim mindset inhibits our ability to act proactively. This way, we are unable to take responsibility for our circumstances. Think about it. Two people in the same situation feel completely different. One might be really stressed and the other might be completely calm and confident.

For example, a presentation might be very stressful for you and yet for your co-employee, it might be nothing.

By this we may realize that the stress people feel depends on person to person and not the external factors they are dealing with. The stress we feel in summary depends on how we view our circumstances.

Understanding stress as an internal situation

Your thoughts lead to your choices. These choices, when made each and every day start to feed on each other. As a result, when you settle in a routine, these choices start to repeat each and every day. These repeating choices over time become your habits.

The habits that we make guide our behavior and emotional patterns. Over the course of the past several months of our routine, we have built our subconscious programming. Every day we have a few emotional triggers that we feel. They cause us to have an emotional response to feeling a certain way at particular times.

reduce stress 
5 steps to reduce stress and anxiety

These emotional triggers are accompanied by past thought-patterns. The negative thoughts that we experience lead to even more negative emotions.

This way the cycle of negative thoughts and emotions continues and we continue to feel more and more miserable.

Thus it is said that- Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s problems but it does take away today’s peace.

How stress shapes our reality?

Most people try to hide their flaws or even deny their existence. This approach never deals with the root causes of our problems. Instead, it keeps us distracted as the problems keep getting worse and worse.

People think that by avoiding situations that trigger stress and anxiety they will be comfortable and lead a peaceful life. In this way, they get busy in symptom management instead of focusing on growth and recovery.

reduce stress
5steps to reduce stress and anxiety

This method of avoiding situations that trigger stress response makes our life more and more restrictive. By avoiding anything that triggers stress we cage ourselves into a prison of our own making. It leads to the point that we feel boxed up by our circumstances into a comfort zone that keeps shrinking.

Thus, the act of running away from our circumstances, like discussed before, is a choice which when repeated forms a habit.

This habit compounds and even spills out in all areas of our life. When left untreated it gives rise to feelings of immense regret and even symptoms of depression.

Flight from life does not exempt us from the law of age and death. The neurotic who tries to wiggle out of the necessity of living wins nothing and only burdens himself with a constant foretaste of aging and dying which must appear especially cruel on account of the total emptiness and meaninglessness of his life.

Carl Jung, Symbols of transformations

Face your fears to reduce stress

The first thing that you need to realize is that the symptoms are not the problem. You might think that you need to take care of the symptoms before you take action. This is a completely flawed approach.

We need to realize that the symptoms arise because of the lack of disciplined action in our life. We thus need to take action in the things that are within our control. Whatever is outside our control there is no point in worrying about them anyway.

If we take principled action over the things that lie within our control. We can move away from the negative cycle of worry and demoralizing emotions.

There is an amazing video of Will Smith in which he talks about the experience of him skydiving. I highly recommend that you watch it here.

He explains that when you take action you are in the position where your fear should be at its peak, but it’s not. The point of maximum danger is the point of zero fear. This is because you are completely engrossed at the moment. There is no place for fear or worries.

Only boldness can deliver from fear. And if the risk is not taken, the meaning of life is somehow violated, and the whole future is condemned to hopeless staleness.

Carl Jung, Symbols of Transformation

5 steps to reduce stress and anxiety

1 Living consciously to reduce stress

Now that you realize the presence of this cycle of negative thoughts and emotions it will be easier to catch yourself in the middle of it. The moment you catch yourself in the cycle of negative emotions and thoughts you have already reduced stress.

What you should aim your focus at now is on the things that lie within your control. If you focus on things outside your control that you can do nothing about, it will only lead to feelings of helplessness.

Instead, bring your attention to the things where you can bring positive change.

2 Anticipate the contrary

Our mind is critical and judgemental and tries to speculate the worst possible scenarios in every situation. It is the work of our internal critic.

You can learn more about it in our blog post here. Those extreme scenarios rarely ever come to fruition. What we do to deal with that is to visualize the contrary to what our mind is compulsively worrying about.

This way we can reduce stress and anxiety over things that we can do nothing about. Also, it is quite possible that the circumstance turns our much favorable if we work more and worry less.

If you have an exam coming up imagine yourself acing it and make a list of the things you might do after it’s over. This way you will spend less time worrying about you doing poorly and instead focus on studying more effectively.

3 Working more mindfully to reduce stress

Most things we do in our lives aren’t being done mindfully. We work half-heartedly without much presence of mind.

By doing this not only are we speculating on things outside our control i.e. something in the future or the past but also creating more troubles for ourselves in the future.

Half-hearted efforts almost always lead to difficulties down the road since we now have to focus on the work at hand as well as the problems overlooked in the past.

Also when you work more mindfully you will be more confident about the results. The experience from those tasks will give you even more confidence while dealing with similar situations. This way your actions today reduce stress and anxiety that you would have faced in the future.

Isn’t it true that the first time you deal with a situation it is nerve-wracking however as we get familiar with them it becomes easier? With practice and experience, even uncomfortable tasks become second nature and thereby we have reduced stress while we deal with them.

4 Hard work to the point of exhaustion

We urge you to find the things you are passionate about and work extremely hard on them. The things you aren’t passionate about you won’t be able to stick with them for a long time.

Also if you aren’t working really hard on the things in your life you won’t be able to enjoy relaxation. Thus the only way to truly enjoy relaxation is if you feel exhausted after a day of hard work.

5 Consistent way of life as a way to reduce stress

Build consistency and work towards a long term vision. We get so involved in our short term world view that every small thing starts to affect us.

However, when we focus on things that are not urgent but important and consistently work hard towards them our entire demeanor becomes much calm and composed. We aren’t bothered by short terms losses or wins but are instead focused on our purpose of a long term vision.

In Conclusion

This week be more mindful about the things you stress about. Which environments and things lead to the beginning of the cycle of stress and worry.

Is the thing you are worrying about something that you can act on? Try to find the root causes of your problems and focus on solving those.

Go against the inertia of your subconscious programming and get out of the comfort zone consciously.

As Terence McKenna has rightly said and I am paraphrasing –
if you are worrying you are presupposing such a knowledge of the situation that it is, in fact, a form of hubris. Worrying is betting against yourself. Don’t waste time worrying.

We urge you to find your true callings and pursue them. There is a free ebook that we provide that might be the first step to you discovering those true callings. You may download that free guide here- ‘The perfect beginning‘.

If you liked what you read and would like to be updated when we post you may follow us on our social media pages on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. I hope you have a good day and a good life.