How to Eliminate Stress by Focusing on Happiness

June 13, 2012

in Life Lessons

stress free lifeStress and happiness.

They don’t belong together. Actually, it’s incredibly difficult, other than forming a sentence with them, to put them together.

Or so I have discovered.

The series I started last week is about making even greater positive changes in my life. I found it was time to look up from all I have been doing, examine, and make conscious decisions that would lead to greater happiness. Stress, and the happiness it was robbing me of experiencing, was actually the impetus for this series.

Speaking with a friend recently, I  realized I was spending more time explaining to her how stressed I was than sharing the positive experiences in my life. In that moment it became patently clear to me how stress was eclipsing other positive aspects of my life. That night involved writing out  lists of everything that came to mind which caused stress and also created happiness.

I am working through the items which cause me stress, doing my best to eliminate some of the triggers from the list. In the last two weeks a few have already been resolved. As for the happiness side of the paper, I am focusing daily to make those items a part of my life. Here’s my list:

10 Things That Bring About Happiness

1. Being fully present in the moment.

2. Laughing

3. Playing with my kids.

4. Spending time with friends.

5. Cooking.

6. Exercising.

7. Being around happy, positive people.

8. Watching baseball.

9. Reading a good book.

10. Having a clean, organized house.

It is taking time to work through the stress issues, but progress is being made. What has been helping with the stress list the most though, is focusing on the happiness list.  My stress-busting happiness items all have a calm, relaxing effect on me.

What makes you happy?

What keeps stress in balance for you?

Please share!

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Ann Quasman June 13, 2012 at 12:32 pm

I can keep stress in check when I consciously choose to put me at the top of the list… that is starting to mean not over-committing myself, setting some boundaries, and making time to be outside in nature as much as I can…. it works. I just have to make sure I honor my commitment to myself.

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Naked Girl in a Dress June 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm

I think it is so difficult for women to put themselves first. I struggle and see so many around me with the same issue. Someone once said to me in an airline emergency, the mask is to be placed on ourselves first and then those we are for. The idea is you are no good to the others who need you if you are not okay. Your comment is a good reminder for me. Thank you.

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Lisa Thomson June 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm

This post is a really good reminder of focusing on the positive to stay happy. Good job. I guess without any stress though, we would soon be bored. The trick is balance. Exercise is what keeps stress in balance for me. Cooking is great too for forgetting problems and focusing on the moment but my favorite on your list is LAUGHING.
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Naked Girl in a Dress June 14, 2012 at 8:59 am

Balance is something I strive for daily and I usually can say a day was good if there was balance–not too much work or play, feeling productive, but not overly tired, etc.

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Nicole June 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm

I agree with Ann 100%. There’s this guilt associated with putting ourselves first. I’ve overcome that guilt. I’ve learned when it’s okay to say no. I’ve learned to gauge when it is necessary for me to set myself aside, and when it isn’t.

The other really valuable lesson I learned is to cut all the negative drama-bringers out of my life. Anyone who constantly brought me down, or dumped all their BS in my lap, I distanced myself from. And I have to say, that was probably the BEST thing I have done for myself. Interestingly, most of these people didn’t even notice if 6 months had passed and we hadn’t spoken. All they are thinking about is their latest drama. They are so self-involved, they won’t even miss you. That solves the guilt problem!

And finally, I’ve learned to stop thinking so much sometimes. To just let things be as they are. Not every single moment of the day has to be dedicated to doing better, being better… that leads to far more stress than it does happiness. It’s almost like we don’t want to let ourselves be content sometimes. Content is a peaceful place. But it’s one we’ve been taught means we’re not working hard enough to be better. Somehow content and “settling” have become synonymous. But they aren’t.
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Naked Girl in a Dress June 14, 2012 at 9:01 am

Nicole,

Your comment about eliminating “negative drama-bringers” from your life really resonated for me. As a recovering fixer, they are toxic and must be avoided. And they do bring us down too. Agreed on all points.

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Chrysta Bairre June 13, 2012 at 2:28 pm

I LOVE this post, Kelly and I agree completely! I simply cannot be happy and stressed at the same time. These experiences do not exist in the same space.

While we all have legitimate complaints, I have also found that repeating my complaints about my life to other people results in me focusing on everything that’s going wrong instead of what’s going right.

Writing gratitude lists and sharing positive stories about my life is a powerful way to increase my own happiness. A nice side effect is people are far more likely to respond to happiness with happiness and so my focus on happiness makes other people happier, too.

I currently have a happiness challenge going on over at my blog, and the idea is finding something to be happy about every day for 30 days. It’s a great way for me to reconnect with the good stuff in life.

Have a grateful day!

Chrysta
Chrysta Bairre recently posted..Come on, get happy: A Happiness ChallengeMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress June 14, 2012 at 9:02 am

I love the idea of a happiness challenge! I am going to visit you now to learn more. Thank you!

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LisaB June 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I just found your blog today after having a teacup throwing meltdown in the morning hours. Thanks. I need perspective. And I’m going to hang up “stress free zone” signs in my office now.
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Naked Girl in a Dress June 14, 2012 at 9:03 am

I am so happy you found me after the meltdown. I do hope my words helped. I hope you enjoy a stress-less weekend. It’s almost Friday!

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Hey Monkey Butt June 13, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Yea I’ve not come to terms with my stress yet. It drives me nuts and I’ve no real control over it! Go figure! Maybe one day!
Hey Monkey Butt recently posted..Day 160, 2012My Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress June 14, 2012 at 9:05 am

Well you acknowledge it and it sounds like you want to make a change. That’s a start! One of my readers, who happens to be an inspirational writer, is hosting a 30-day happiness challenge. Go check it out. I will be. {Note: see the link in her comment-reader Chrysta Bairre’s comment.}

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Marie Nicole June 14, 2012 at 12:42 am

I drop my paddleboard in the water and I go for a ride. Best stress buster for me. Not that I’m currently under great stress or anything…
Marie Nicole recently posted..LOVE: My Favorite 4-Letter WordMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress June 14, 2012 at 9:09 am

Exactly! You don’t have a lot of stress. Glad you recognize that. Some people find stress regardless of their life circumstances. :)

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Mat June 29, 2012 at 7:02 am

Great article – well written and good content. I would like to make one important point about stress relief that often tends to be forgotten. Sometimes the core source of stress is our own beliefs and values. Our beliefs cause us stress and sometimes we even don´t even notice it. Our beliefs conflict with our behavior and cause us stress afterwards. Another way stress is caused by our beliefs is when there is a conflict with other peoples beliefs. The best thing to do is to accept that we all have some flaws and that different people have different backgrounds. Very often accepting ourselves and others equals stress relief.
Thank you and keep the good content coming
Mat
Mat recently posted..What to do When Our Beliefs Cause Stress?My Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress June 29, 2012 at 12:08 pm

This is an excellent point. These are two points of stress in people’s lives. Thank you for pointing it out.

Also, thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

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