Creating a life in which you are offsetting the stressful times we live in and countering the distractions we are all dealing with day to day is not difficult but we do need to learn to do things differently.
Here is a selection of our favourite resources here at Lilo that summarise some of the key research and strategies you can put in place to be less stressed.
Making stress your friend
In his incredibly popular TED talk, Kelly McGonical summarises research that concludes that our beliefs about stress may be even more important than how stressed we are when it comes to our health. In one of the large study she describes, it was found that people who rated their stress levels as very high AND believed stress was very bad for their health had a 20% increase in dying prematurely! Importantly, she also describes how we may be able to address this increased risk. This is critical viewing for anyone serious about reducing the harmful effect of stress in their lives.
The harmful effects of stress if left unchecked
For the majority of us too much stress is likely to be harmful in a number of ways if we’re not taking steps to do something about it. This TED Education animation by Madhumita Murgia clearly explains how stress is harmful to our wellbeing, and what we can do about it.
The power of presence
This TED Talk by Matt Killingsworth summarises his own research in which it became glaringly clear just how powerful presence is for happiness. He studied large numbers of people across many countries and cultures and found that regardless of what you are doing, or what you are thinking about, we are happiest when we are present instead of mind-wandering. The other staggering finding in this research was that participants spent 47% of their time mind wandering, in other words not present.
Nature as medicine
For a variety of reasons, we are all spending less and less time outdoors. This National Geographic article reviews a book called The Nature Fix by Florence Williams and explores the research that strongly suggests what many of us feel instinctually, that spending time in nature is very good for stress levels.
Lastly, this New York Times article is a great summary of all manner of things to try to reduce stress, some of which we’ve already covered and other strategies such as ‘stress inoculation’ a strategy which proposes that “regular exposure to small amounts of stress can inoculate you from the most detrimental effects of stress when you suffer a big stressful event in your life.”
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