Beat Stress: 6 Reasons You are Stressed Out of Your Mind

By: Ramsay | 82 intelligent opinions, add yours

Shandi-lee X {pieces I}
Creative Commons License photo credit: Shandi-lee

I’m a self-employed 26 year old who has a tendency to get stressed, anxious and panicked – even during the the smallest of life’s hiccups. Beneath my steely exterior and chiseled, move-star jawline is a scared little boy.

Early on in my life I knew I’d have to figure out some techniques for beating stress.

Now, I am not saying that I have mastered these. Far from it. But I am saying that they have helped me. And as I know a lot of you lovely readers out there deal with bouts of stress and anxiety I thought I’d write a bit of an off topic post and talk about some ways bloggers, business people and everyone else online can beat stress when you just don’t feel like its possible.

And I’m going to do it by telling you why you are stressed.

HELP ME: I need your help on this one guys. If you know of any really good stress beating methods please leave me a comment.

Why you are stressed out of your mind

Cause and effect people. If you can figure out the causes of your stress you can do something about it. If you don’t know the cause and are just treating the symptoms you will just end up like the War on Terror – shooting terrorists one by one and not dealing with the root causes of poverty, inequality, lack of education and women’s rights.

1. You aren’t organized
When you have to hold heaps of information in your mind at once there is a good chance you will be stressed. If you want to beat that stress you need to look at getting yourself organized.

  • Use a diary for everything
    Enter all your appointments, due dates and everything in between in to a diary. I use a mix of PC and iPhone diary systems and it works well.
  • Plan each day
    Have a nice pad of paper on your desk and write down your tasks at the start of each day and cross them off as you go. Rank the items in order of importance and just plug through them.

If you can get yourself organized you will be a long way towards sorting out a big portion of your stress.

2. You’re lazy with records and taxes
Let’s not underestimate how stressful it can be knowing that your taxes and financial records aren’t in order. Its just not worth it. Yes they are boring, complicated and, yes, it is really sunny outside. But do it. Everyday. Just create some simple systems of folders, drawers, plastic slips and software so that everything takes you less than 30 seconds to do.

  • Use XpenseTracker iPhone App
    This is the coolest App I have seen in a long time which allows you to take photos of your receipts and then file the details into certain categories. It then saves it all to a desktop PC folder so you know how your expenses are faring.
  • Get a business bank account
    Just set up a business bank account so that all your business related transactions are separate from the personal ones. If you can make a regular “personal drawings” payment to your account you then know the profit and loss by what is in the account.
  • Set tax aside every time
    Depending on where you live you will have to put a certain amount of everything you earn aside for tax. Do this regularly. My good mate once told me that you should just consider that 20% (or whatever yours is) of what you earn doesn’t belong to you. Increase your business activity and marketing to earn that back twice over.

Don’t skimp on your records and taxes thinking that you will do it later. It adds up and weighs on your mind. Just do it as you go along and you will constantly feel better.

3. You don’t exercise and so are overweight, under socialized and tight
Exercising releases endorphines into your body that make you feel well, happy and can help to keep you healthy. It also helps to keep your weight down and gives you a good excuse to see mates and get things off your mind.

This is probably the biggest thing you can do to beat stress in a very immediate way – get outside! Run, kick a ball with your brother or go and join a local netball or indoor soccer team. You need five people, once a week, and you will feel so much better for it.

I play tennis with my brother once or twice a week, indoor soccer on Thursday nights and then lift weights every couple of days outside on my lunch break. This is a wonderful mixture of sunlight (which gives you Vitamin D and makes you happy), socialization which stops me from feeling too isolated and testosterone which really helps to keep me motivated.

And, sadly, there are a lot of people out there who hate how they look. Weight is often put on due to stress and anxiety so why not kill two birds with one stone? Go out and exercise in the name of feeling better and watch the weight drop off without trying.

If you struggle with depression while you are stressed this point is super important. You need to exercise everyday.

4. You don’t read, meditate or train your mind-vice
Mind vice is a bit of a reference for all the 30 Rock fans out there. Oh what the heck, here is the whole hilarious quote:

“No, I believe that when you have a problem you talk it over with your priest or your tailor or the mute elevator porter at your men’s club. Then you take that problem and you crush it with your mind vice. But for lesser beings like curly haired men or people who need glasses therapy can help.” – Jack Donaghy

And, yes, I do have curly hair and do require glasses. But its still funny.

The point of number four is that your mind needs to be trained. It is like any other muscle in the body in that it can deteriorate if not used well. But, unlike other muscles, neuro plasticity is now showing that the brain can be changed and improved at any age by doing a variety of different things.

Meditation has been shown to reduce pain more than narcotics. And thanks to wonderful philosophical traditions like Buddhism there are literally tens of thousands of ways to train your mind to be happier, healthier and less stressed. One of my favorites is the tradition of Lojong that takes short slogans and applies them to everyday situations. Here is a good Lojong-style quote from Shantideva:

“If the problem can be solved, why worry? If the problem cannot be solved, worrying will do you no good.”

People have been having the same problems for thousands of years. Some real smart guys like Buddha, Milarepa, the Dalai Lama, Plato, etc. found some solutions and wrote them down. Read up. Read up well.

5. You eat foods that make you stressed
Yep, foods make you stressed. I guarantee it. I can literally feel the anxiety levels rise in my mind when I make that extra strong coffee. Likewise, when I flake out and get junk food for lunch I always feel more tired and down than when I make something healthy.

That little sugar rush that you think makes you feel so good actually does the opposite. Once the sugar levels crash back down you are worse off than when you started.

Cut out the white foods like refined sugar, bread, pasta and rice and stick to a diet of water, fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole cereals, legumes, eggs, milk and other natural foods. The less man-made food you eat the better you will feel. You will also find yourself getting a lot less sick when winter comes around.

6. You get your information and entertainment online and too often
The internet has done some wonderful things for the world but it has also done a lot of stuff to mess people up. And now that it is on our phones and tablets we have constant access to entertainment, porn, news and gossip. Take a good look at what you are reading and watching and how often you do it.

Do you have to check your phone every time you feel bored from the outside? Its an addiction. And when you don’t get that fix you feel stressed.

What about all the news you are worrying about? Is it coming from some half-baked internet site that hasn’t expressed all the facts? Try comparing your news source to a quality paper like The Economist, the New York Times or The Guardian. Do you know how much coverage these guys gave to the end of the world a predicted for early 2011? Not a lot.

I highly recommend that everyone reads this wonderful speech given to the graduates of West Point Military Academy a few years ago by William Deresiewicz. It is called Solitude and Leadership and talks about how we all need to stop marinating in the opinions of other on social media and learn to think for ourselves and take control of our own lives. As it currently stands we are all slaves to our smart phones and constant entertainment.

Why are you stressed?

I’d really like to hear from you all now. What makes you stressed? What has helped to beat that stress? Please leave a comment and let me know – hopefully we can come up with a nice little resource for people.



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82 Comments

  • Love the article, BT. I was in the same boat, and can’t reiterate enough how much meditation, exercise, and cutting out sugar and caffeine can help. Also, I think a bit of a break from routine and friends that you normally hang out with can also help; I’m not advocating becoming a hermit or anything like that, but a three week trip in your very own Australia by myself really helped me to calm down, relax, think a lot, and write a lot. I would highly recommend it to anyone else wrapped up in the “live-to-work” mindset so prevalent in the States. Thanks, and keep up the good work!

    • the Blog Tyrant

      Where abouts did you go in Oz? Did you enjoy?

    • @DJ – what kind of meditation do you do? I suspect I’d benefit from it.

      Like most IMs, I probably have too many projects on my whiteboard. They are all fun and most are making money, but one wonders if less might be more? Either that, or I need to add more VAs to my team.

      Maybe that is one reason I like my Adsense sites so much; they don’t bug me :)

      @BT – great post dude. Love your stuff. I’m looking for more my next podcast guest. Interested?

  • Hi Tyrant,
    long time buddy, how are you doing?

    Happy to read this, because working online can be very stressful. The biggest contributing factor I think is the lack of movement and being confined in an office or small room.

    Taking regular breaks from the PC and doing some exercises / getting fresh air really helps too.

    Take care!
    Diggy

    • the Blog Tyrant

      I’m good bro. Thanks for asking.

      Your right about the isolation – sometimes it gets to you.

  • Fab as ever BT.

    One of the things I realised a few weeks ago as I was full up with great activities and people … I need a lot of quiet time and space to reconnect and recharge.

    For the next 6 weeks I’m housesitting with my dog and taking some real time to just loll and play in my mind … and walk the dog … and sip some prosecco while eating fab food. I want to write on Life Dreaming and do some big reflecting and planning … and spend time with some very very dear friends.

    When it all gets really busy I stop … look at everything I’m doing … and see if there are things I can reschedule, delay, delegate or plain let go of.

    We can get caught in the day to day and lose sight of what is really important in our lives … and that’s up to each of us to define and decide.

    If you find that you’re focusing your time, money, and energy on things that aren’t truly important to you … that you don’t value … then at a very deep level you’ll know you’re life is out of synch … and then it’s up to you to decide what you’ll do about it.

    Me? Life’s just too bloody short to not be living it with gusto and within some kind of framework of values & passion.

    xxLiz

    • the Blog Tyrant

      You are so right about life being short. There is a quote by the 5th (I think) Dalai Lama that says something like:

      “A morning without meditation on death is wasted. An afternoon without meditation on death is wasted. An evening without meditation on death is wasted. Why? Because otherwise you’ll forget your precious human life.”

  • Hi BT,

    I love that you quoted 30 Rock :-D
    I also love what you said about saving at least 20% of the money you make because technically it’s not yours. That would keep us from a lot of worries.

    Another reason to get stressed is negativity. If you are pessimistic you tend to worry about everything. That attitude makes you worry in advance about things that in the end never happen.

    I agree with you when you say you can train your brain. You can learn how to be more positive.

    Thanks for this post. I hope you are not so stressed like days ago.

    Cristina

    P.S. The link for the West Point speech doesn’t work. Error 404

    • the Blog Tyrant

      You a 30 Rock fan Cristina?

      • I love it. They are all so crazy. And in the end it’s not so far from real life, lol.

  • G’Day BT,
    Back in the 70s and 80s, in the halcyon days of TA-Transactional Analysis-we were taught to ask ourselves a question when it was all becoming “too much.’ The question was this.

    “What’s the best thing that can happen? What’s the worst thing that can happen?”

    It may not sound very fashionable these days. But it’s a useful technique.

    Regards

    Leon

  • So, when I was diagnosed with a late stage of what is normally terminal cancer (at the young age of 28) it was like the world caved in on me. I needed a new way to cope with stress and release my frustrations. Cancer ripped just about everything out of my hands…my career, my military life, my schooling, my boyfriend, a bunch of friends, my house, my ability to have children, I was lucky to have held onto my life.
    So, before all this, I would surf almost every day. That was my biggest form of meditation and stress relief. However, an 8 week stay in a hospital bed and chemotherapy left my body and immune system too weak to cope with everyday germs. Surfing was out of the question.
    People usually giggle at me when I say this, but I started knitting. (google famous knitters…you might be surprised.) You know that feeling you get after you finish a long book? That sense of completion and accomplishment? Well, that’s the feeling I get after I finish a knitting project. Aside from that, for some reason, it forces me to focus ONLY on the task at hand and I forget about the problems of the day. Eventually, I end up with a pretty little item that I created from sticks and strings that I can sell, gift or wear. It also gets me some bragging rights.
    Other than that, I also have a little garden. I do yoga out there at times or I’ll go plant new seeds. Even pulling the weeds is a bit relaxing some days.
    I think the thing that helped the most though, was ridding my life of the toxic individuals I allowed to stay in it. Misery loves company and we all know what kind of people I mean by that. Those folks needed to be cut from my life. No matter how much it hurt, they had to go. Toxic people are like the bad piece of fruit in the crisper bin…if not removed, they’ll ruin everything else in there.
    I’ve been significantly more happy since “the purge” (as I so lovingly refer to it as) and others around me have noticed as well.
    I would suggest starting there. Get rid of the toxic ones.

    Hugs and Sunny Surf,
    Jessica

    • Jessica,

      I agree with you about toxic people.

      Gardening helps me too. I can only work on it when the weather is good (which is not very often) but it’s a great stress reliever.

      Cristina

    • the Blog Tyrant

      Hi Jessica.

      Thanks for the amazing comment.

      Are you in remission?

    • Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. If anything good has come out of this, your condition has made it clear to you what’s really important. Many of us can be “blind” to those things for a lifetime.

      I agree with you about toxic people. There was a great quote: “If you can’t change your friends, it’s time to change your friends.”

  • I am curious: which applications do you use for time management? And how do you use them?

    • the Blog Tyrant

      I like simple things like syncing my iPhone and Gmail calendars together with email alerts and alarms.

  • Great post BT!

    I get stressed from guilt. Mom guilt comes into play when you’re thinking of your family during work and then end up working while you’re with your family.

    I’ve had to get really strict with boundaries in order to make sure my husband and child do not think my iPhone and laptop are extensions of my limbs.

    Weekends are my family time. Very limited email and computer/iPhone stuff which ties into your #6. Taking a break from cyberspace makes me a better person come Mondays!

    Best wishes from germany, tj

    • the Blog Tyrant

      Boundaries are so important aren’t they? I’m only just realizing that nowadays.

    • I second (or 3rd?) the importance of boundaries, whether in our personal lives or at work. Jobs especially will take over our lives if we let them and leave us with nothing to show for it but serious grief and stress. My boss recently asked me to travel to a small conference which was a 3 hour drive from our office…on a Sunday so I could set up and be ready by Monday (at the last minute too). To make it even more interesting I had already told him it was my 5 year wedding anniversary that weekend and we were staying at a resort.

      At that point I had to turn my boss down and let him know I’ld be happy to travel early on Monday morning but that particular weekend was off limits. Basically there was no real reason to leave on Sunday other than my boss wanted us to. Everything has turned out fine, but I had to setup my limits clearly.

      While I’m sure having an employee who’se willing to go anywhere at a moment’s notice is great…for my boss…not so great for my marriage or my life as a whole.

      So yeah…boundaries are important.

  • Thanks for this great post! I’ve been facing stress lately and needed this advice.

    Here are some of the feelings that cause me stress and how I deal with them:

    –Indecision. I find making a decision more stressful than executing it. Most of the time, if you make the wrong decision, you can always backtrack and do Plan B. I went through this a while back when I was agonizing over choosing a web host for my first website.

    –Directionless. When I feel like I’m drifting and not working toward a goal. I always keep a notebook on hand to jot down business ideas, action plans, and write down goals. I still prefer to hand-write my goals, rather than type them.

    –Unproductive. If I don’t keep a to-do list, I end up getting nothing done. It’s harder if you’re self-employed, because it’s so easy to let things slide if you don’t have a boss to keep you on track. Whenever I think of something to do that will get me closer to my goals, I write it down.

    –Lonely. The best thing you can do for your emotional health is to surround yourself with positive people who are interested in the same things as you. This could be professional or hobbyist organizations. Either way, join up and meet new people. The bonus is that you can network and make great contacts. After coming home from a group event, I’m charged up to work on my projects.

    P.S. Your link to the “Solitude and Leadership” speech is broken.

    Looking forward to reading everyone’s tips.

    • the Blog Tyrant

      Thanks Marcus. Amazing comment!

      • You’re welcome! Just read “Solitude and Leadership,” excellent stuff.

        To return the favor, I’ll share my favorite piece of inspirational writing. It’s called “The Man in the Arena,” a famous passage from a speech delivered by U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt.

        I use this passage as a psychological first-aid kit: I read it whenever I feel like quitting. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/OhxRL.

        If my work is too easy, it’s probably because I’m not challenging myself enough. Whenever I’m really working on projects that will build toward my ideal lifestyle, it’s always much harder.

        It confirms I’m doing more than just getting by, just trying to pay my bills. Like you’ve said in your podcasts about having short-term, medium-term, and long-term projects. Bigger goals require bigger effort, but are more fulfilling in the end.

        That’s what I tell myself, since there’s still a long road ahead ;)

  • the Blog Tyrant

    The Solitude and Leadership link is fixed. Have a read.

    I’ll stop back after dinner for a chat ya’ll.

    BT

    • Glad you fixed that! Terrific article. Grateful you shared it BT!! tj

  • All great points, but I especially agree with your sentiments on low-quality news sites and too much social media. I think they’re making us go nuts collectively. About 5 months ago I gave up Facebook, unsubscribed from all but a handful of blogs and I made sure that I was only reading high quality stuff. Within 3 months my business has changed completely because I have been so much more focused – and relaxed!

  • Major renovation, bought a house in Italy, kids (enough said), Husband (enough said), working out WordPress site, Mum getting dementia, MIL in hospital, major drama’s with the neighbors (had to call police), now selling house (no buyers) have to sell house to be able to pay for house in Italy or loose deposit, could go on …

    but I am soooo not stressed, just the way I’m wired.
    Best thing I did other than having this genetic no stress wiring is the Landmark Forum.

    ciao for now
    Lisa

    • Lisa, I wonder if the reason you don’t feel stressed is because you attack problems and deal with them as they arise. They may sound insurmountable, but you sound like you’re still in control, not them. Wonderful. You may ought to write a book when this is over. It would be a great memoir, maybe funny, too.

  • Pressed for time this morning, but I’ll read through the comments later tonight or tomorrow. (Read the article while eating cereal.)

    Personally, I tend to believe stress is triggered by a lack of balance between our physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual lives. Throw one area out of whack and the house of cards comes tumbling down.

    One thing I’d add to the section on food is to try eliminating as much food with preservatives as possible. (Yes, that means cooking meals from scratch…which is actually a big stress reliever for me.) I used to be a diet coke fiend until about 3 years ago when I quit cold turkey for no apparent reason. Since then, I’ve discovered I’m allergic to aspartame, which is in diet soda, most gum and low fat yogurt. I’ve also started to see how much more lethargic and stressed I feel after eating fast food or meals with loads of preservatives. So, just a thought.

    Okay, I normally don’t like to drop links in my comments because I don’t like to feel spammy, but I’ve got a few articles that might help. “Assessing the Issues in Your Life”: http://positivepiper.com/assessing-the-issues-in-your-life is a good place to start. If you have time for more than that, there are some articles linked to on the right in the Most Popular Posts section that could also help. They are:
    *The Importance of Saying No
    *Harnessing the Power of I Don’t Care
    *3 Reasons You’ll Never Be Happy
    *Murdering Your Inner Perfectionist (this one is a recent post on the home page…if the quest to be perfect is causing anyone stress).

    In and of themselves, no one post will help you beat all stress or cope with the symptoms, but they should help you start getting to the root of the problem so you can eliminate it at its source – or start to, anyway. Hope something helps someone.

    BT, I’ll add links to the other four if you’d like. I just didn’t want to turn this into the Positive Piper’s Link Spam Comment Party. ;)

    • the Blog Tyrant

      That aspartame is supposed to cause heaps of problems isn’t it?

      • Basically, it’s poison. I used to go through diet cokes like water when I was really stressed out. Even now, when my stress limit hits the absolute peak of what I can handle, I still crave a diet coke. Gave in and had one at the end of May…and got a lovely slicing pain through my head before I was done with it.

  • Great topic you have here. I agree, if you want to beat stress, you need to identify the source of your stress. And quite often, it rest to all the 6 reasons you’ve mentioned. Especially inability to train our mind. Most of our stress is created by our thoughts. So if you want to create a less stressful environment, you have to start in controlling your mind over your emotions. I’m currently undergoing that process right now, and it helps to remind yourself everyday to “rule you mind or it will rule you.”

    Great blog post. Keep it up!

    Regards,
    Lou

    • the Blog Tyrant

      Totally agree with you Lou. Like the Buddha said,

      “What you think you become. Therefore, be very careful what you think.”

  • One question you need to ask yourself when you are stressed.

    Can I do something for what is stressing me out?

    If the answer is yes, it does not make sense stressing out, but doing what needs to be done.

    If the answer is no (i.e. the problem is out of your hands) accept that and relax since there is nothing you can do about it.

    I used to get stressed continuously until I started doing this.

  • Read “Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy” by Dr. David Burns. http://budurl.com/fgood

    Also, explore The Art of Living. http://budurl.com/JDHaol

  • This post is amazing and I sent it out to my core group of friends. All sent almost immediate responses back saying “he nailed it”! It’s important to have these reminders. Have these goals. Because we all have stress. ~ Being outside is a great stress relief for me. It makes me stop and breathe. Be in the moment. Additionally, I get the bonus of having taken my dog for a short walk or sun (vit. d) on my skin!

    • the Blog Tyrant

      Thanks Jen. I really appreciate that kind of feedback and loyalty.

  • This post totally rocks…it hit the nail on the head with me on so many levels – the tax thing..thanks for the reminder…been trying to meditate…i’m gonna bookmark this one. Thx. :)

  • Tips to reduce stress:

    ~Practice gratitude
    ~Reframe your problem by checking out the daily paper. When you see that heart-wrenching headline, ask yourself if your stress and anxiety are really that bad
    ~Get out of your head, and into those around you. Helping others is a great way to alleviate anxiety
    ~Be mindful of what’s going on now. Resist the urge to live in the past, and worry about the future
    ~Refrain from riding the complain train, and playing the blame game–no matter what.
    ~Spend time around animals
    ~Breathe

  • Hi Ty,
    Wasn’t hard to guess that you had those traits. Ever notice how smart, productive people often do?

    When people tell you, “You’re so calm and together,” but you feel like a coiled spring ready to pop, you’re stressed. So watch out, because stress will attack your body if you don’t learn ways to alleviate it. Your brain is the boss giving orders to the machinery.

    Does someone in your inner circle act like a child? It’s so easy to act like one back. Remember, you’re the adult. Think and act like one. Especially with your own children.

    Does someone drive you nuts, but you have to deal with him/her? Realize they aren’t going to change. How are you going to adapt?

    Your body knows when you’re stressed, so don’t pretend otherwise. Walk or run it off, get rid of the adrenalin some way. Cussing and shouting don’t count. Creative activity and sports might help.

    I lost my voice when I couldn’t scream my displeasure or find a workable way to solve the situation. People’s hair falls out, they have high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks, etc. Results of stress result in almost any physical problem, a fact most people know in 2011.

    Pray, meditate, center yourself in order to find out what your brain is telling you. You’ll find a solution. Look away from others for a while to get into into your own world. That’s as in, be alone, by yourself, with yourself, for a time each day. Computer is off, but a good book works to get you able to meditate. I try to make computer solitaire work, but it probably just wastes time.

    Giving some unsolvable problems to God, and really meaning it, sometimes works. Then my shoulders go up a couple of inches.

    That’s all. I’m too stressed to think of anything else.

    • the Blog Tyrant

      Thanks Dorothy. Beautiful advice.

  • I get stressed when I feel like I don’t have enough time to do the things I NEED to do AND the things I WANT to do.

    I do a lot of the things you listed here but it’s great to have a reminder and to remind myself that I am doing a lot to take care of me – sometimes remembering that in it’s self can be helpful. Thanks for the tips!!

  • I have a couple things I tell myself when I’m stressed.

    Part of feeling stress is because I put way too much importance on my decisions and what I’m doing. To refocus that anxiety I ask myself…Will anyone care about this in 100 years? If the answer is no then it’s not that important.

    Another source of anxiety for me is that I constantly have to be connected to my phone. Couple days ago I had job interviews and shut off my phone for 4 hours…41 voicemails.

    I give myself permission to be off the grid. If someone is calling me it’s not important. If there’s a fire call the fire department, if there’s a flood call the plumber, if there’s an assault call the police. Now people are supposed to call me to report these occurrences, not getting a hold of me for a couple hours doesn’t change anything.

    • Remember before cell phones? My gosh, does anyone remember telegrams?

      • Yeah i do remember before cell phones…and I had a dream once where I ran over my cell phone with a bulldozer and I went to the store to get a new one and they said “No we don’t sell cell phones anymore they are a health hazard” Cell phones were found to be worse than cigarettes, asbestos and PCB’s combined…

        They caused a serious disease called Idon’trespectyour timeitis, and another disease called Whyaren’tyouat myconvenience and the worst one called FyouifyouneedprivatetimetodonothingwhenIwanttotalktoyou.

        The result of these three diseases was that all the sane people who wanted private time and time to hang out with the trees and chill out and enjoy life, well, they ended up being at the beck and call of the people who thought they were VIP’s and should be able to reach anybody they wanted at anytime just so they could hear someone say “Yeah (nod)” whenever they wanted to let out some hot air or talk about how their neighbour smokes pot and lights a fire in his cosmetic fireplace even in the summer.

        Eventually everyone was crazy, then the health departments outlawed cell phones and people had to leave messages when you needed to go to the bathroom or were having a beer or an iced coffee.

        At the end of the dream I was very happy that the nightmare of people assuming they should be able to reach me 24 hours per day was over. The silence was golden and I could finally hear the birds chirping and the movie at the theatre.

        • Maybe you could get that end of dream utopia if you stopped answering your phone whenever it rings now. Over the years, I’ve trained people that if they actually want to talk to me, they need to leave a message if I don’t answer because I’m going to otherwise assume their purse or pocket dialed me. I’ve further trained them to leave a message that goes beyond, “call me back” because I’ll assume they’re just bored and need someone to talk to if they don’t tell me what’s up.

          Of course, it works best if you can assign different rings/tones to people. If I hear one song, I know I need to actually look at who’s calling. Another song tells me I don’t have to care until later…etc, etc.

          Used to do that when I worked at the bank, too. I screened about half my calls so I could return them when I was mentally prepared to deal with whatever XYZ customer wanted. Helped cut down on the pointless chit-chat while I was looking for their file too. :)

          • I can’t do that either part of my job involves being on call 24/7.

            I had some job interviews last week and shut off the phone for 4 hours, the result was a back log of 41 voicemails. That’s when I realized how bad it was…

            The voicemail actually causes me the most stress of all, for some reason it sits there causing me anxiety until I deal with it. Then while I’m returning calls I’m getting more calls.

            Not sure what the answer is…

            I love you too BT :)

    • the Blog Tyrant

      I love you Rachelle.

  • Hi BT,

    It seems that both of us think stress is an important topic to consider. You mentioned it in a tweet and now wrote this post and I chose to write my first ever digital book on the topic. It’s interesting that you came to your conclusions based on struggling chronically with stress and finding ways to overcome it.

    I’m not often stressed as I seem to be predisposed to avoiding it, but I did get stressed out one day and it caused me to ask a lot of questions about why it happens. So I wrote the book to answer them. In my research, I found a good deal of strong scientific evidence to support the claim that stress can and does kill people (or shorten our lives).

    I’m releasing the book on Monday if you’re interested. It’s about preventing stress before it happens and dealing with it in the moment. It is one of those sketchy email for book deals though. :-P

    ps. I figured this “pitch” was ok since it is very relevant to the post and a free product.

    • the Blog Tyrant

      Don’t forget to send me that eBook when you finished so I can promote it.

  • This is an excellent post on the dilemmas of living in today’s world. You have made very interesting points through you are still young to see life when you are above 50s. Keep up the good work and thanks for this excellent post

    • the Blog Tyrant

      Thanks Arthur. 26 isn’t young though! ;-)

      • Depends on where you’re standing BT!

        When I was 16 I thought 26 was old and I’d have all the answers … now I’m 51.9 and 26 looks so young … and I’ve found I enjoy the questions as much as the answers.

        Happy Saturday.

        • After I divorced at 37, my teens said, “Mama, you’re younger than you used to be.” By 26 I’d become an old lady. As Ty quoted above, and Jesus said, too, you are as you think.

          Rachelle, I turn off my cell phone except when I need to make a call. I’ve had the plan for ten years and the phone won’t do anything but be small and handy when I need it.

          • Funny how that works sometimes, huh? I feel younger – and happier! – at 31 than I did at 21. And looking at the engagement photos from when I was 20 against the Christmas card pics we had taken last year, I think I actually look younger too. Go figure.

  • Great read and great reminders. I fit all of those things. I teach, and at the end of this spring I had ground myself into a stress ridden case of gastritis and in the hospital the day after the last final. Not drinking enough water. Worried about how to get my department to go where they need to as teachers (department chair). My food was relatively healthy, but not much exercise at all. Behind on many tasks.

    I like that part of your prescription involves organization and discipline, backed by that spiritual thing, which ties it all together for me. Without that last piece, discipline and organization are out the window.

    I like the journal challenge. Have one, and need to put it to use.

    Rock on.

    • the Blog Tyrant

      Perfect rob. What is gastritis and are you better?

  • Yo. BT. I have anxiety also. So I stress out a lot also. It could be over the smallest detail. It’s illogical.

    For me, one great way to deal with anxiety and stress is to take a step back, look at what you’re stressing about, acknowledge it’s stressing you, and then decide if it’s worth worrying about.

    • the Blog Tyrant

      Do your parents have anxiety as well Brandon?

  • Valuable. Well-written. Impressive. And I can’t even make the usual sarcastic tie-in to this post’s main photo.

    Seriously, though, reading this was like reading a synopsis of all the things I have opportunities to improve upon and seek a less stressful day in my own life. Thank you for a piece that was packed full of tangible action items.

    No doubt, this will be another of your blog’s wildly popular posts.

    • the Blog Tyrant

      Not sure about that Scott. I think the wildly popular posts only occur on Tuesdays and Wednesdays despite the amazing content. ;-)

      • Uhpp. You’re quite right. Can’t forget about that ol’ midweek crush. But be careful of the bulldozer in Rachelle’s dream ;) (what a refreshing tidbit that was!)

        Nonetheless, looking forward to more here.

        Best weekend to you!

  • i think the unplugging tip is a really good one. it is really hard, like you say, with constant access now. but, it makes such a difference. i actually think, strangely, that i have done better from working less. i think part of that is that it forces you to be more focused when you actually sit down to work. but, i also think you are more creative and problem solve better when you are not constantly immersed in your business. space is good.

    • the Blog Tyrant

      Totally agree bro. Less work often equals a whole lot more. Its amazing when you reduce the time how much you realize that 70% of the old schedule was just mucking around.

      • I agree and haven’t all the commenters been interesting?

        I’m looking after a house for 6 weeks that has a really really long driveway with trees on both sides. I’m looking after my dog and the 2 that live here and they have to be kept separate … so I decided to enjoy the process and walk each of them to the gate and back 4 times a day each.

        As I walked this morning I could feel the fresh air and laughed as I watched my dog romp at nothing. My mind started thinking about the report I’m working on and a solution popped in … fab. Then I said ‘just look at the trees and the light and take some breathes of this amazing air … stop thinking’. I really enjoyed the walk.

        So for 6 weeks 8 times a day I’ll get to laugh as the dogs romp, sort things in my mind, breath wonderful scents and get a tad fitter.

        What looked looked like a problem [keeping the dogs apart] has become a wonderful activity … it’s all about the attitude you choose to take in every situation that places itself in your life.

        And I did a deal with myself for today … only 2 hours on the report then I can forget it until tomorrow. And I’m loving structuring and creating it … and leaving it to walk the dogs and just wander in my imagination.

  • Hey BT, what a wonderful stress-relief package, I bet this becomes handy in many stressful situations so I better add it to Evernote :)

    Have you played Indoor soccer for long? That’s my favorite hobby and we play in the 4th division of Finland, it’s surely a great way to relieve stress and get socializing!

    I’d add mini-vacations to the list also. Mini-vacation can be as short as couple of hours, but the idea is to do something that takes your thoughts of about the stressful situations, and therefore gives you a timeout to re-think the issue.

  • You’ve hit some of the main ones, BT. Exercise, nutrition and meditation, for sure.

    I used to be a very stressy person, which is not much good when you work in a project environment like I have for the past 20 years. I pretty much had to learn to manage it or it was going to manage me.

    There are some simple techniques for calming your emotions in general that I use a lot. I have a free course on my website (click my name above for the signup page) with an ebook of the techniques, and another ebook on getting off the “emotional hamster wheel” that keeps you in a stress cycle in the first place.

    Thanks for another good post!

  • Talk about stress

    I have been trying to load a theam in wordpress for the last 2 hours through ftp and all i get is a beautiful thumbnail in the theams section of wordpress but when i load it up all i get is text no footer images no theam at all. before I blow an artery can anyone out there help thanks in advance. Its clear that i am new at this but everyone keeps telling me that its easy, “Clearly”
    sam

    • the Blog Tyrant

      Sam, why are you doing it through FTP? You can do it in the WP dash now.

  • One thing that makes me stressed out is when the sum total of my daily activities is greater than 24 hours. Sounds obvious, but I think we all try to “squeeze” things in and we have this idea that we can make it work, but it’s simply impossible. Or, we put things on our calendar wherever we see an open spot. The problem is, things generally take longer than we expect, so if there’s no cushion in the schedule, it’s bound to overflow. When that happens, I constantly feel frantic which equals lots of stress.

    • Too true, I easily have a several week backlog of “stuff” that needs doing. And why is it that when I make a list of things to do the small simple things take so damn long?

      Sometimes it’s like the universe is conspiring against me. Like the other day, I go to drop off our commercial vacuum at the shop. How long can that possibly take? Over an hour it turns out, if there happens to be an elderly man who is arguing with the Vacuum repair man that his vacuum has more than one belt. In this case the vacuum repair man will disassemble the vacuum in front of the customer to prove that there is only one belt.

      So one little errand can turn into a time sink.

  • Wow! That was really in-depth and spot on in so many ways. I tend to get stressed when my house isn’t clean…I have slight OCD. Whenever I start my day with a plan and organized surrounding, I do much better. Thanks for sharing!

  • Phobia for exercise and a certain level of disorganization are my major stress generators though for a fleeting moment, I tend to beat them.