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11 Ways to Make Life the Opposite of Stressful

11 Ways to Make Life Life the Opposite of Stressful

My car breaking down on the thruway on Christmas Eve with a toddler put a new perspective on holiday stress. But as with all things, that too passed! During my prime burnout years, stress was a formidable force, unrelenting in its grasp. A soft breeze at the wrong time would make my back stiff as a board and widen my eyes like saucers. But in my burnout recovery, I’ve found a few stress prevention measures, so I put together 11 Ways to Make Life the Opposite of Stressful.

While stress may not kill you directly, its consequences can. Our fast-paced society unloads demand after demand, with no one or thing ever being good enough. As a result, instilling insecurity is one of the greatest revenue generators in America.

But we don’t have to stay in the hamster wheel. The cage door is open. We just needed to realize we could hop off.

Modern society is not conducive to living life the opposite of stressful. But there are ways to buffer the outside world’s demands and expectations. Here are the 11 ways to make life the opposite of stressful.

11 Ways to Make Life the Opposite of Stressful

1. Embrace Change

Embrace Change | 11 Ways to Make Life Life the Opposite of Stressful

There’s a quote I’ve seen about the nature of life, “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” While this was likely coined by someone who has not experienced childbirth, I appreciate the concept: that while we experience pain in life, we suffer more greatly by holding on to it. It is the human condition to want to fix a problem.

We go over it in our minds, and in some ways, it leave us satisfied as our brain believes we have addressed the issue given how much mental attention it has garnered, but ultimately it provides no tangible results.

2. Enjoy Favorite Pastimes (Nostalgia)

Favorite Pastimes | 11 Ways to Make Life the Opposite of Stressful

While we can experience new joys as adults, there is something magical about reliving moments when the world seemed limitless and we had not yet seen its darkness.
Having a child has reopened my eyes to simple pleasures in many ways. This past summer, I caught fireflies, hula hooped, and blew bubbles. All things I hadn’t done since I was a child myself.
To learn more about nostalgia and its benefits, check out my post Mental Health Matters: Nostalgia.

3. Be Mindful

Be Mindful | 11 Ways to Make Life the Opposite of Stressful

Keeping attention to the moment can help buffer stress as it keeps obstacles at a more manageable level. In addition, focusing on immediate tasks helps make life the opposite of stressful and buffers racing thoughts. Perhaps easier said than done, but for more information, check out my post, 7 Steps to Mindful Living, for a good read on mindfulness.

4. Optimism (Hope)


Hopelessness is a critical ingredient in depression. Lacking hope leaves many feeling trapped, which is a top-tier stressor. There are many elements to cultivating hopeful thoughts, including having goals and pathways to those goals. For a more comprehensive read on optimism and hope, check out 6 Ways of Inspiring Hope in Your Life.

If you are struggling with hopelessness, this is not medical advice; please connect with a therapist or local helpline who will be better able to assist. Also, if you have suicidal thoughts and live in the USA, please text or call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Hotline. There is help available.

5. Diversify Income

Diversify Income

This may seem a bit off from the rest of this list. But money is one of the most significant stressors for anyone. Finances play a pivotal role in divorce, and adults living in poverty are at higher risk of adverse health effects. While lack of money is stressful, I go a step further.

A single source of income sacrifices a person’s autonomy and bargaining power. Different companies and agencies have different values, but at the end of the day, they’re all just paying for labor. As fast as they hire someone, they replace them just as quickly.

Relying on one entity for survival is stressful! I’m not suggesting anyone go out and get two more jobs, but there are creative ways to create different income streams or stash away enough of a buffer in case the you-know-what hits the fan. Your bank account, body, and brain will thank you later!

6. Don’t Chase Approval

Don't Chase Approval

One of my personal favorites of 11 Ways to Make Life the Opposite of Stressful, also known as keeping up with the Joneses, chasing approval comes with neverending stress. Constantly trying to appear likable compromises individuality. The more this happens, the more entrenched you can become in a life you don’t want.

There will always be someone who dislikes you for whatever arbitrary reason they’ve decided.
You could be a delicious chocolate chip cookie, and someone will still think you taste like dirt.
So pay little mind and keep living a life that aligns with your goals and values.

7. Put Down Your Phone

Put Down Your Phone

Cell phones have positively impacted communication and the exchange of ideas. Who doesn’t like getting notified that a loved one is sending a caring message or a crush liking a picture you just posted?
But they also function like an Atlantic City slot machine: enticing and potentially addictive. Cell phones can limit our capacity to be present in each moment the more we use them as a departure from whatever is in front of us.
So do yourself a favor, limit your screen time. It’ll give your brain a much-needed rest.

8. Creativity


Creativity is an excellent stress reducer, whether drawing a picture, knitting, or writing a blog. Creation is felt deeply in the mind, heart, and soul. It connects us with something beyond ourselves, providing a brief departure from reality and making life the opposite of stressful.

Creativity was the driving force that prompted me to create a blog. It fosters learning, trying something new, or improving upon established skills.

9. Sleep


Before becoming a parent, I did not understand how sleep could be a source of stress, specifically the lack thereof. As a mom of a toddler, I would pay an exorbitant amount of money for someone to watch my child while I slept for 12 hours straight.

If the Sandman goes a bit light on sprinkling that dust in your eyes, it could take its toll on your mental and physical health. Consider slipping him a $20 the next time your head hits the pillow, and it’ll improve your life in spades.

10. Laughter


Laughter and I go way back with a love story to rival the ages like Romeo and Juliet or Tony the Tiger and Frosted Flakes.

The benefits of laughter are no laughing matter. From being a stress reliever in the immediate to relieving pain and improving your immune system in the long term, laughter is great medicine!

11. Exercise


Mild to moderate cases of depression can be improved with exercise, but that’s not the only benefit. It can also enhance self-image, boost energy and assist in achieving long-term goals. Exercise can help relieve stress to be more relaxed.

As with all things, this is best in moderation and with realistic goals in mind since trying too much too fast could lead to mental and physical stress. Be kind to yourself.

Friends | Too Much Too Fast
“Too much too fast” will forever make me think of this scene from Friends. 😀

Hopefully, these 11 Ways to Make Life the Opposite of Stressful will act as a guide in minimizing stress.

What are some ways you destress? If there are any you’d like to share as ideas with others, feel free to drop them in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by the Sandbox, and I hope you’ve had a happy holiday season!

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