How to Keep Calm, Focused and Present During Stressful Times Life can be stressful, and long-term stress is detrimental to your physical, mental and emotional health. Follow this guidance to combat the stressors of today's world.
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There is no lack of stressors in today's world. Take your pick: bleak economic forecasts, climate change, conspiracy theories; these days, even stray Chinese weather balloons can cause nationwide panic. However, most negative nonsense in the news is often just noise. In particular, the gloomy part is often the attention-grabbing spin predicting the worst possible outcomes, causing unnecessary worry about the future. So how do we combat this noise, stay calm, focused and present for others? Our mindset, self-care and intentional relaxation can get us through just about anything.
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If we set up our mind to focus on the present, including being present for others, we take the focus off the past and the future. Our actions mold the future we can control in the present. If we worry about potential futures, ironically, we are spending precious energy on what we can't control instead of what we can gain through action. Keeping focused on the present means mindfully preparing for each day and paying attention to the tasks and people we're interacting with without getting distracted by past outcomes and possible future ones.
A can-do mindset realized through constant planning, and consistent execution is critical. Building a daily plan encapsulating your key goals is more straightforward than you imagine. Such an approach will help you ignore the harmful noise and focus on the things that move you forward. You'll need a perspective that anything that doesn't go according to your plan is good too, and will serve as a learning experience and input for an altered or improved approach. Being grateful for everything that happens as a learning and growth experience is a way to avoid disappointment and becoming discouraged.
Focusing on gratitude daily is fundamental to a feeling of well-being. Looking at adverse events that directly affect you as pathways to learning and growth – you will revise your plan — instead of life's way of hurting you means you see everything as positive. Couldn't avoid it? A lesson for the future. Having this perspective puts the focus back on the journey you've defined already; you control the goals and action plans and have simplified and componentized them into a daily checklist. This methodology will keep you on track despite unexpected circumstances that will naturally arise.
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A holistic approach to well-being includes regular exercise as a priority, eating and drinking the right things and getting enough sleep. We may tire of hearing about these fundamental things. However, people often underestimate their importance across all other areas of personal performance and health, including spiritual, mental and emotional health. For example, a good walk or workout in the morning will help your mind get clear and help you get ready for your daily routine. In addition, exercise sends positive chemicals to your brain, making you healthier and happier. However, regular exercise is not enough. You also need to watch what you eat.
Without getting into specifics – because each person's dietary needs are different — the healthier you can eat, the better you will think, function, sleep, work and interact with others because how you feel affects those things. General suggestions that apply to us all are avoiding sugar and alcohol, having too much salt, consuming processed foods, fast foods and anything that has a long list of ingredients. Also, going organic when possible and minimizing unnecessary pharmaceuticals will clear your mind and body of toxins. Lastly, getting detailed bloodwork and talking to a doctor or other professional can help you tweak your diet for optimized health.
Without enough sleep, you won't be able to focus, your body won't recover, your mood and emotions can be affected, and your productivity to reach your goals and run your plans will be compromised. So, in addition to regular exercise and diet, getting enough sleep is the third major component of good health. They are all interconnected; exercising and eating clean will make sleeping easier, as your digestion will be easier and better, and being naturally tired will help you get deeper sleep to recharge for the next day.
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Busy people tend not to have the time to get sucked into a lot of the negativity that goes on constantly in the world. Instead, they are focused on what they can control. However, it would be best if you took regular breaks for mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Schedule your breaks and also take them ad-hoc when needed. The pandemic has freed many of us from the 9-5 fixed schedule, and thus knowing when and how to take a break and taking it is critical to keep performing at your best.
Many people have also found it very healing to connect with nature, whether in the morning, at noon, during breaks or at night. Simply going outside, leaving your tech behind, breathing in the fresh air, and feeling the sunshine are often more than worth the time; you will naturally feel better and more connected with life. There is a lot of evidence that this sort of thing does make a difference, so if you are inside all day and all night, consider it a red flag and something you can change for your benefit.
Lastly, don't forget to have fun and laugh alone or with your family, friends and colleagues. Laughter and human connection with those we love, regularly and often, will improve our sense of well-being, help us focus better and be happier. Just a little time with someone you love can be priceless. So don't forget to prioritize that as part of your day; with health and mindset, you can do it! Never give up trying; revise your plans and keep moving forward.