Whether it’s your day job, your night job, both your day job and night job, your personal life, or something terrible happening in the world right now, this all leads to a huge amount of paralyzing stress.
There have been times in my life where I’ve woken up with my jaw shut from grinding my teeth and I can hardly move it the next day, or where the constant frustration on work or life just wears me down.
Here are some of the techniques I use to get me through the day now. It might help you too.
Reduce Your News Intake
We live in a world where anyone can post something and it may or may not go viral. We live in a world where there seems to be something terrible happening every week. News from anywhere around the world can be accessed We really can’t control the news, but we can control how much we consume.
So there are two ways to do this: control the flow of what’s in your news feed or delete facebook/linkedin/whatever. However, I do recommend reducing it. For example, if you watch/follow CNN on either facebook, twitter, TV, radio, etc, then you might want to just read about them on facebook.
If you’re like me, you probably can’t deal with removing facebook or Instagram, but what I do is not follow national or alternative news and just stick to the best local news I can find. The thing with local news is that really important stuff will trickle down no matter what. I also fill my news feed with a lot of food pages and cute animals. Anything you find terrible (based on your definition of terrible) on facebook, it’s ok to click the arrow on the top right corner and press [hide]. Including your friends.
So here’s an example: I find Instagram and snapchat to be things that I reduce the most. Though these apps don’t show the ugliness in the world, it makes me jealous of people’s life because they show their highlights. I don’t care about if people think this is vanity on my part, but it does give me a lot of anxiety. Since I know that this gives me anxiety, I don’t use them as much as other social media channels.
Occupy your time with things you like doing
I was listening to some podcast and one of the exercises someone mentioned was really interesting.
Sign Up For Our Weekly 5 Course Meal
I pick out 5 pieces of content from the latest food industry news to the greatest new products and leave my snarky comments every week.
What if you took your whole week and sorted everything by task. That includes laundry, cleaning the yard, vacuuming the floor, cooking, working on documents, working in the lab, etc etc etc.
So sort those all out and then rank them from 1 to 10. With 1 being “I hate doing this, I’d rather die” to “I love this, I want to do more of it!”
So for example, I’d rank:
Working on documents = 1
Vacuuming the floor = 2
cleaning the yard = 3
Laundry = 5 (I don’t mind doing this)
Cooking = 8
Working in the Lab = 10
Talking with people for podcasting = 10
So take the things under 5 and outsource them. Get a gardener to clean your yard, or a coworker who loves documents (i.e no one) to do more document control. I have my roommate clean my house for lower rent as well.
Some people will say “but Adam, I’m poor and can’t do that” but actually you kind of do. Most people who don’t like cooking actually outsource it, which we call eating out.
But I do understand. If you don’t have the work credentials or the money to outsource, then yes, you will have to do the grunt work but as you become better, more assertive and make more money, you’ll have the power to do that.
By outsourcing your task, you can do things you actually like doing which in turn will make you happier. If you can’t do this now, think of it as a goal to accomplish.
If you’re absolutely frustrated with bad people in the world, then I suggest playing your part in becoming a good person. And the easiest way to be a good person is to go outside and help.
Whenever I feel absolutely terrible, I volunteer for either feeding the homeless or working in a community garden. Being a huge food nerd, this makes sense, but actually helping people get fed gives a divine feeling of greatfulness in your soul.
And maybe you don’t have to feed the homeless. So try donating blood, or escorting a new person around the city, or buying coffee for that frustrated businessman in the corner, or sometimes just smiling and waving to a random stranger on a walk is enough.
Yes, we all wish we can change certain laws or we can donate a million dollars to end world hunger, but we generally can’t. Maybe some day you will, but the best way to start, is to have a good heart.
Have a deep conversation
Before I started to seriously podcast, I was in charge of introducing Asian people based off of a meetup group. It was basically me inviting people out to eat, festivals, nights out, stuff like that. Overall, it was a good experience and it felt great to have people who like you.
Over time, the fun really wore off. I got exhausted so fast. Like burn out. Though the highs were high, I started to get pretty depressed. I think the biggest reason was that the people I was hanging out with, I couldn’t click with them. I couldn’t have a great conversation. Overall, I ended up passing on the group to some other people and started investing my time in podcasting heavily.
Having 1 hour conversations with people who love what they do was extremely rewarding. It wasn’t a spike of dopamine like partying all night, but it elevated my baseline of happiness. I felt more fulfilled.
I started doing this with people not on the podcast, those are the people I want to be friends with now.
And don’t get me wrong, I love a good night out, or a superficial talk. But I’ve noticed having a deep, substantial conversation with practically anyone to be extremely relaxing.
One of the excerpts for “The Year of Living Biblically” by AJ Jacobs was based on the bible saying to be thankful for everything so the author literally took it as being grateful for every single thing. Grateful that the lamp was working, or the barista gave him his coffee.
Being grateful sounds sappy, but it really does work. When you really sit down and think about how things don’t go wrong in your life, then life sounds great!
- Being grateful that you have a roof on your head
- Being grateful you can get to work
- Being grateful you don’t get killed while getting to work
- Being grateful you have a job
- Being grateful you can talk to someone and they like you enough to talk to you back
- Being grateful your family doesn’t hate you
- Being grateful you can literally fly across the world in less than a day
And when you think about it, that’s so many things! Just try it out and you might actually enjoy your life a bit more.
So these strategies are not going to change the world. It won’t change anything, but it will make you feel better so you can be a better person whether financially, romantically, or career wise.
In this day and age, we need to be healthy, hopeful, and not stressed. This allows us to make more rational decisions and smarter choices. And once everyone thinks this way, we might be able to change the bad things that are happening.