Tony Robbins once said to me:
“Nicky, most people overestimate what they can achieve in a year and underestimate what they can achieve in a lifetime.”
I said to him:
“Tony, my patience is running thin. Can I have a million dollars?”
He actually told me to fuck off. Said I had to work for it. Kind of a dick move, but regardless, it’s not a bad little quote—don’t you think?
I think he’s on to something. I think because we are all trying to accomplish so much so soon that we inevitably end up suffering needlessly. We end up exacerbating our stress and removing much of the joy that should come with life.
We listen to those knob coaches on Facebook telling us we should be 100% satisfied with every aspect of our lives, down to each and every pubic hair left on our body. But we’re not satisfied. We’ll never be fully satisfied. So we punish ourselves. We create an environment for our stress to thrive. And not in a good way…
In a way that inhibits our chances of accomplishing whatever we set out to accomplish in the first place. Because we’ve been conditioned to believe we should have it all now. Or we should be working our bollox off to get it all now.
Stress has become fashionable. Worn like a badge of honor—it gives us significance but strips us of our joy. The cool kids used to smoke cigarettes. Now they take Adderall.
I was trying to wrap my head around this phenomena while chatting to the Dalai Lama recently, and he had this little nugget to add to it;
“Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
Without your health, you’ll never be wealthy.
Here are eight tips to help you better manage your stress when your stress is beating you down:
- Talk to someone
A problem shared is a problem halved. So don’t hold on to that shit. Talk to someone. Next…
- Take a break
Sure, there are times we will have to persevere and push through, but you can always find time for a break.
Maybe your environment sucks so much you need to go in an entirely new direction, perhaps you need an evening out, a weekend away, a couple of months to focus on something else, or maybe you just need a Kit-Kat?
So obvious, I know. There is too much research on the benefits of meditation to be ignored.
If you think it’s some hippy-dippy practice reserved for the “enlightened,” think again. Meditation initiatives have been set up in prisons across the globe because it calms pissed off criminals the fuck down.
Meditation is not about emptying your mind. It’s about peace of mind. All you’re doing is focussing on your breath and the sensations in your body.
That breath plays a vital role in controlling emotions and keeping stress at bay.
- Clean up your diet
The food industry appears to be fucked. Who knows what or who to believe? Whatever your diet, you can be sure there is a documentary out there that will scare the shit out of you when you watch it.
I don’t know what’s the best diet for you. I don’t even know what the best diet is for me. But if you eat like crap, you shouldn’t be surprised to feel like crap.
Few would argue eating more plant-based foods, eliminating processed foods, drinking a LOT more water, and eating foods high in anti-inflammatory properties is an excellent place to start.
Gut health is essential for a healthy mind. You might want to get your microbiome tested if you have access to such a service as offered by Viome. There is also more and more research coming out on the link between depression and inflammation. That might be something you want to look into also. Intermittent fasting? Some crazy benefits. All are going to help beat stress.
- Exercise & Yoga
Choose your poison —they both deserve a lengthy write-up. Exercise will give you a serving of those all-important endorphins.
Yoga feels like cheating. The benefits—for both the mind and body— are ridiculous—unless you get stuck behind a dude wearing speedos in a hot yoga class. I don’t care how much you love balls—that’s going to leave a scar.
- Give thanks
Even if you don’t have your private jet yet, you do have a lot to be grateful for. So it’s worth checking in daily and reminding yourself of that.
There are hundreds of studies on how gratitude promotes positive emotions, happiness, and greater health while ensuring we are better equipped to manage adversity and stress.
From air to relationships—the little to the major. There is so much to be grateful for. Remind yourself often just how lucky you are, and you’ll soon see a positive change in your mood and outlook.
And if you want a double dose? Volunteer some of your time to those less fortunate than you.
- Practice being present
Many of us are living conceptual lives. Influenced by celebrities and social media, we have become obsessed with painting a picture of perfection for the world to envy.
Social media has created an epidemic where our values are so skewed, we are now more concerned with a concept, and all that is superficial to impress those whose opinions don’t matter.
And, of course, there is a direct correlation between how much time we spend on social media and stress levels. So take a break from it. Delete the apps on your phone. And do something more productive with your time.
Place more emphasis on the relationships with those around you and the people you love. The majority of those you’re wasting energy on most likely aren’t that invested in you (a good thing), because like you, they’re worried about themselves and how others perceive them.
So practice letting go of your need for distraction start living in the present.
- Shift your focus
Yes, life is going to be stressful, and there are times we have no choice but to push through. However, there are many more times when the best move is to walk away and focus your energy elsewhere—on something you can control.
When we become stressed, we create a tunnel vision for that stress and that stress alone. We beat ourselves up and punish ourselves. Life revolves around it, and soon we forget we have a life outside of it.
You don’t have to give it all your energy because it will take it all and request some more if you allow it.
Paradoxically, if you decide you are going to focus on another area of your life, your mind will get a much-needed break to restore your energy and better fuel you for the fight ahead of you.
Stress will come and go in life. The bigger the arsenal you have to fight it, the better. It will pass. But only if you let it. Because if you don’t—if you play with it, bark, and fight back? You can pretty much guarantee it’s going to pack a stronger punch. And deliver a deadlier bite than you ever can.