How to Relieve Stress and Anxiety: 6 Brilliant Ways to De-stress This Year (And Live Better and Happier) - What She Say | Practical Help for Women Building Better Lives
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How to Relieve Stress and Anxiety: 6 Brilliant Ways to De-stress This Year (And Live Better and Happier)


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Stress and anxiety have long been a part of my life. Always, even as a kid.

But these days, things are quite different in that respect. Sure like any human being I still have times when stress and anxiety are present, but they are not over-arching, ever-present themes in my life anymore because they’re not allowed to be.

I’m much better at limiting the issues and circumstances that I know cause me stress, and regulating the way in which I respond to stressful situations.

As a consequence, these days I’m less stressed and happier in some ways.

First, I have learned that if you are currently unhappy with some aspect of your life (especially in ways which produce stress and anxiety), you CAN live a much better life than what you are now experiencing. And you can do that by changing just a very few things.

Many of us tend to focus on the idea that some one monumental thing must happen for our lives to be better. And barring some such event, we are doomed to lives where we must be continually unsatisfied and unhappy. And in many cases, it’s just not true.


Life-altering change doesn’t occur so much in what we tend to think of as the “big” moments, as much as it does when we turn our attention to adjustments of the small things that can have an enormous impact.


Creating a life that is genuinely better doesn’t require you to win the lottery or to move half way across the world (unless you truly have a desire to live on the other side of the earth).

I have found that remarkable change can be found in making small alterations or adjustments to what we think and do.

The ability for you to live better than you did last year (whatever that means to you) is truly doable for most all of us. The problem is, many of us just won’t do what it takes for us to accomplish that.

The second lesson I’ve learned is this: To live that “better” life, you have to plan for it and then act on your plan. Otherwise, you’re doing nothing more than wishing.

You know how as we get older, more and more the years seem to blend together where one year is hardly distinguishable from the next or the last? That’s because for the most part, we’re doing the same things…just repeating them over and over again.

Think about the last two, three or five years of your life. Other than maybe one or two events in each year, those years look very similar. It’s very hard to tell them apart.

It’s hard to distinguish much of any change, growth, or forward movement over a period of years, much less from year to year.

Now, think back to when you were in school. Think about the difference in your pre-school or kindergarten self and your second grade self. In just the span of two short years, there were many noticeable changes.

Now think about your fifth grade self and your ninth grade self…a difference of only four years. Wow! I imagine that you can remember quite a number of changes taking place.

Finally, think about your junior year in high school and compare that with your junior college year – a space of five years time. The number and magnitude of changes and transformation is monumental!

Do you see what I’m getting at?

When you were in school, there was not only a plan for change from one year to the next, that was the expectation. If change (progression) was NOT in evidence, most often THAT was viewed as a problem.

But as we’ve become adults, especially after we’ve moved through our twenties, that expectation (in a real, tangible sense) often lessens and in many cases, nearly disappears altogether.

I said all of that to say this, if you want next year to be different for you, to be better for you, it can be. It’s that simple.

But it’s up to you to make it happen. You have to create the difference by doing some things differently.

So here’s my short list of just six things you can do that will make an immense difference in the next year of your life.


6 Things You Can Do To Make Next Year Stress and Anxiety Free!



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1. Plan for What You Want

What do you want, and how do you get it?

If you want something, really want it (not just wishing for it, but really want it manifested in your life), you have to learn to be purposeful about that something, specifically. It requires that you make a plan and map out the steps that will bring you to that specific destination/outcome.

Many of us don’t have the lives we want because we’ve never really planned for the lives we want. We either:

Fail to plan
Fail to plan according to who we are authentically, and in consideration of what we value and cherish.


We plan for the lives we think we’re supposed to have.
Plan for the lives our parents or friends or partners felt we should have.
Plan for the lives we believe we deserve (or for what we believe is “realistically obtainable”)
Plan for the lives we think we want when we were too young and inexperienced to have a clue what we want.

In all honesty, it’s been my experience that people fail to plan according to what is truly important to them.

The bottom line is this, if you want better in the coming year, you have to choose what you want, figure out what steps/actions are required to get it, and then determine how you will go about putting yourself into action to achieve what you want (or at least get yourself on the right path towards what you want).



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2. Make a Financial Plan

Many of us (myself included) face or have faced financial struggle. Even when we’re financially literate we can get into money trouble.

And let’s be honest, most of us aren’t as financially informed as we should be. We suffer from unidentified or unrecognized money issues, as well as unhealthy relationships to money (that’s a whole other blog post).

We often find ourselves continually stressed about finances, never in a position to spend our money in ways that we would choose were we not in stressful situations, in “emergency mode” or in positions where we can’t make desired purchases or afford opportunities (experiences, vacations, trips to see family) we want to have.

Make, and begin to implement a plan this year that will improve your financial position.

  • Budget (so that you not only know where your money goes, but you can plan for more of it to go toward what you want).
  • Pay down debt (even very small steps are helpful).
  • Build a financial cushion (again…even if it’s small it’s better than nothing, and sometimes small can make a huge difference!).
  • Investigate your retirement plan (I found 10 “lost” years when I did this! In other words, I was 10 years closer to retirement than what I thought. That makes a HUGE difference not only in planning for the future, but in my perspective for the future. Talk about stress reduction!)
  • Start a fund for things you want to do.

Doing any or all of these things will help you to be in a better place money-wise by this time next year. And I can’t even begin to explain the level of relief it will bring by reducing your stress and anxiety level.


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3. Expect The Unexpected

The car breaks down.
The refrigerator dies.
Your (grown) child gets into trouble.
You get hurt at work.
You get divorced.
Your father gets sick and you and your siblings have to help your mother care for him.
Your business fails.
Your mother gets sick and has to come live with you…

Life is FULL of unplanned occurrences. Things happen to ALL OF US. The difference in that circumstance resulting in enormous stress, crippling you or getting you completely off track is planning.

And no, of course you can’t plan for every contingency. But, you can plan knowing that at some point, something unexpected and even unpleasant is going to happen, and you’ll have to deal with it.

So, be as prepared as you can.
You are the one who knows your life best.

Position yourself as best you can to handle unexpected difficulties as quickly, efficiently and easily as is possible so that you can move on from them.



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4. Simplify

For the things that you do daily, weekly, monthly as a part of your life, create systems to simplify your tasks, save you time (that you can then spend doing more of the things you love and enjoy), and conserve your energy and resources.

Whether it’s creating meal plans (to help streamline your budgeting, make meal preparation more efficient or scheduling family activities easier), or managing your wardrobe to make selecting your daily clothing for work less time-consuming and less of a brain drain, systems make your life easier.

Another way of simplifying is becoming minimalist. Many of us (myself included) have or have had elements of too much in our lives. Too much “stuff”, too many things to keep track of, too many opportunities for stress and anxiety.

Check Out This Great Guide for De-Cluttering

Take a good look at your life and your surroundings, and identify the things that you don’t need, you no longer want or that don’t serve you, and get rid of them.

I’ve gone through this exercise several times on the last few years, and I must say the process has helped me to feel lighter (emotionally and physically), calmer, and much happier.


organize - how to live your best lfe

5. Organize

Your money.
Your business.
Your time.
Your surroundings.

We often mistake organization for “more work”. But the truth of the matter is, the more organized you are, the less work that’s required of you to stay on top of things. Less stress. Less wasted resources. Less wasted time.

Getting organized can be a major task. But once you are organized, your life will never be the same (in a good way!).



healthy food - how to live your best life


6. Take Care Of Your Health

Eat right.

Exercise. Regularly. Just do it.

If you’re in generally good health, get your checkups. Schedule your mammogram even if your health technician seems to be related to Attila the Hun (mine was very rough with an attitude that bordered on rudeness), do it!

Visit your dentist.

Consider the ways in which you might improve your diet or eating habits this year.

Begin the work to lose the extra weight. Period.

Make the time to participate in activities that you enjoy and that require you to be physically active:

  • volunteer in an after-care program
  • become a volunteer for seniors
  • work in an animal shelter
  • volunteer at a community kitchen
  • help with a community garden


Final thoughts…

If you want more from life, you have to choose, plan for and then do things differently.

A great tool I’ve found for doing that is the Dailygreatness Journal, part of a collection of journals and planners specifically designed to help you get the most out of your days and by that, your life.

The concept behind the Dailygreatness Journal line helps you:

* create a compelling life vision
* set goals you can be excited about
* follow up on your goals
* change unproductive habits to beneficial ones
* discover and pursue your life purpose and mission
* take massive action towards your dreams
* have positive focus
* recognize your strengths
* overcome your weaknesses
* confront your fears
* and be happier as a result

You want to go through your days with purpose and intention so that your focus and actions are always moving you toward those things you’ve identified as priorities in your life.

Map out YOUR plan for what you want to accomplish, find inspiration and motivation for doing it, and track your progress to ensure that you stay on course to meet your goals.

It will absolutely be one of the best things you’ll do for yourself this year!

I don’t know about you, but I want the coming year to be monumentally better than this one – not only for myself, but for my family and my friends as well.

That being said, no amount of wishing or dreaming or magic thoughts can make that happen.

By all means, be inspired, be prayerful, get motivated.

But after that, you’ve got to get to work. Make a plan and do the work to make this time next year seem light-years distant, and soo much improved from where you are now.

How to relieve stress and anxiety

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