The Cultivate an Exceptional life Podcast is where Leisa Watkins uncovers stories, strategies, and resources designed to inspire and encourage you to cultivate better health, more happiness, and joy, despite the challenges life throws in our path.


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Do you want to lower your stress level? Has your stress levels escalated? The hustle, bustle, and challenges of everyday life alone often produce a lot of stress. But then, if you are anything like me, you perhaps say yes far too often to things you really don’t have time for.

Sometimes, I wonder, “What was I thinking? How did I think I could get all this done?” Just in case you’re wondering, I am getting much better at not saying yes to everything. Yay, me!

The good news is that recent studies have shown that our attitude towards stress is the greatest contributor to how our body handles stress. And that stress is not So changing your attitude about stress.

Still, life can be more enjoyable if we lower certain kinds of stress.

Here is five simple strategies that can help you lower your stress level:

1. Put the Past Behind You

There is already plenty of stress that arises each day – from things like traffic, interruptions, sick dogs, and pipes that break, flooding a basement (that has happened three times at our house). So do yourself a favor and give up the past.

You have enough in the present to deal with. Let go of the extra stress for your own health and sanity. Holding onto those past stresses will simply add to the tension of today and tomorrow. Soon the amount of pressure you carry around inside you from this stress may become unbearable.

Besides, you work hard to provide a good life for your family, and all that extra stress can prevent you from enjoying that life. If you allow it, that stress will rob you of the happiness you deserve!

The easiest way to do that is to stop dwelling on past events.

Sometimes, there are things you may need to do to feel a sense of relief.  After all, a past left unresolved will continue to haunt you if you don’t address the underlying sorrow, pain, and anger. Perhaps you need to forgive someone – maybe that someone is you. Perhaps you need to participate in a few activities to release the pain of the past (art therapy anyone?).

2. Determine What is Serving You and Release the Rest

Weigh your projects against criteria that really serves you. Hanging onto projects that no longer serve you can lead to feelings of guilt, overwhelm, and fatigue. I often times held onto to hang on to projects because I don’t believe in quitting and I believe in finishing what you start.  But then I realized that failure to release unfinished projects or things that no longer served me was keeping me stuck in the past.

This often can mean releasing the people in your life that are no longer serving you.  Surround yourself with people who are going the direction you want to go.

You’ll find some questions you can ask yourself to determine what is serving you in the article “Using Reflection as a tool for Getting out of Overwhelmed.

3. Get Help

If you’re constantly running on empty, your mind, body, and soul will suffer the repercussions. So get some help. There’s no shame in asking for a helping hand. And, most people are delighted to be needed and will be more than willing to help you.  

That’s something I learned first had recently.  You see, I am usually the really independent type.  Asking for help was a signal that I wasn’t strong.  In reality, it was just the opposite.  Asking for help takes guts. It takes wisdom to know when to seek it. 

It’s okay to lean on friends, family, a spouse, or co-workers. But there is also the option of hiring help. Hire someone to come in and clean your house a couple of times a week.  Hire someone to walk the dog.  Doing so can significantly reduce your stress level.

  • If your mounting responsibilities are barely allowing you the necessary time to eat and sleep, you may have too much on your plate. Streamline your responsibilities by creating a time-effective plan for crossing the items off of your to-do list in less time. You can always refer to our article Strategies for Getting Out of Overwhelm for additional stress relieving techniques.
  • If housework is the culprit of your stress, divide the tasks equally amongst the family members in your household.

4.  Set Aside Time for Yourself

What do you enjoy doing? Knitting, relaxing in a bubble bath, drawing, lounging in bed watching reruns of the Golden Girls? Indulge yourself in your favorite lazy activity a few times each week.

Carve out a few hours each weekend to indulge in your favorite lazy activity. Choose at least one weeknight to relax after work. Sitting in a candlelit bubble bath while listening to your favorite CD and reading a magazine is an effective treatment for washing the day’s stresses away.

Refrain from feeling selfish for taking time for yourself. You may be a busy professional, a spouse, a parent and have a home to maintain all at the same time; however, taking two hours now to de-stress will save you from going into overdrive and possibly stressing out your loved ones later.

5. Socialize

5. Socialize

Making time for socializing with family and friends is an essential aspect of managing your stress levels. Friends and family make you laugh and provides you with a shoulder to lean on. This, in itself, will deplete your stress levels exponentially.

  • If possible, designate one day per week (like Sundays) to spend time with extended family and friends. You could host a neighborhood barbecue in your backyard, host a Sunday gathering, or simply have lunch with your closest pals.
  • Living far away from friends and family can truly dampen your ability to socialize. You can meet friends at church, neighborhood gatherings, at the park with your kids, or on the community meeting site, to find a group of like-minded folks.
  • When hosting events in your home, avoid fretting about the details. This will counteract your efforts to de-stress! Have a simple plan, such as using paper plates, napkins and plastic utensils for easy cleanup. Perhaps you can order pizza rather than cooking.

Stress seems like a normal part of life, but it doesn’t have to be that way if you’re willing to put your sanity first. Most of the time there’s a simple fix to the challenges that are causing you stress. Simply readjust the way you perceive the issues and how you address them. Both beauty and stress are in the eye of the beholder!