Imagine your city without traffic lights……..
Intersections would be utter chaos and your daily commute would be as dangerous as Russian roulette.
That’s why we have rules of the road. The structure of traffic lights, stop signs, and speed limits allows us to get to our destination safely so we can enjoy freedom in our lives.
Likewise, when you put more discipline and better rituals into your daily routines, you can overcome any obstacle in your way, reduce your anxiety, and achieve your big goals and dreams. Here’s how to do just that:
Create a NOT-TO-DO List!
I thought I needed to do a thousand different things to be productive. In reality, I needed to cut out all the extras and focus on the projects that were most important — both emotionally and financially.
Once I did that, I eliminated unnecessary stress — and actually enjoyed my life.
The solution is not to build a mountainous to-do list, it’s to build a NOT to do list.
Here’s where I started:
- Do NOT Check Your Email First Thing In the Morning.
When you check your email outside of work, you’re just asking yourself to get wrapped up in the stressful drama of things that can probably wait until you’re actually in the office. So don’t check email until you’re actually in the office. Devote your valuable morning time to working on a project you truly want or need to finish.
- Do NOT Hit the Snooze Button.
One habit I now follow religiously is that, for the most part, I go to sleep at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. And I never hit the snooze button.
Hitting the snooze button gives you another couple minutes of sleep, but when it wakes you up again, you’re often groggier than you would be if you had gotten up the first time.
Sticking to your scheduled sleep and wake-up time seven days a week gives you extra time and energy, and eliminates the stress that comes with running late.
- Do NOT Miss Your Workouts or Self-Care Rituals.
You know what it’s like to fall off track with diet and workouts. Whether it’s a weekend party or missing the gym, skipping your self-care rituals (diet, exercise, massage, meditation, yoga, etc.) increases your anxiety levels and stresses you out.
Your workouts will give you time to think, and to boost your immune system so you fight off colds that are floating around. Even though you might feel like you’re too busy for exercise, it’ll help you get more done in the long run.
As Richard Branson says: “One hour of exercise gives me four extra hours of productivity each day.”
- Do NOT Have More Than Two Drinks At a Time. (unless it’s water!!)
Drinking alcohol can take the edge off, but it can also spike your stress and create next-day anxiety. Set a limit on drinks before you go out, and recruit an accountability partner to keep you responsible. Two drinks are more than enough and avoids risking a hangover.
- Do NOT Forget to Breathe.
Most people have no idea how to breathe properly. We often take short, shallow breaths when we are stressed, and that only makes the situation worse. Short, shallow breaths increase the hormone known as adrenaline, a compound associated with our “fight or flight” response.
What’s worse is that when you breathe incorrectly and consume a lot of caffeine and/or alcohol, your adrenaline levels spike, leaving you feeling the physical sensation of a heart attack (or, at least, severe anxiety).
When you start breathing correctly, slowly and deeply from your belly, it feels so much more calming.
Here’s what you need to do the next time you feel anxiety:
Let’s call it the 5, 6, 7 Rule!
1) Take a slow deep breath in through your nose, counting slowly from 1 – 5.
2) Hold the air in your belly counting slowly from 1 – 6.
3) Exhale slowly through your lips, counting slowly from 1 – 7.
Just two rounds of this deep, slow breathing is enough to calm your nervous system, and it’s the perfect solution for performance anxiety anywhere, anytime.
It can even help you drift off to sleep at night. Just add two more rounds and you’ll improve your ability to fall asleep naturally.
These simple strategies will help you sleep better, control your anxiety, overcome your stress, and perform better so that you make the rest of the year the best of the year.
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Happy Holidays to each and everyone one of you,