Quit by Choice

while you still have a choice.

52 Proven Stress Relievers

When you’re quitting smoking, it’s important to avoid unnecessary stress as much as you can. Here are 52 proven stress relievers (this is my version of a list that I’ve seen on several different websites, so if some of them look familiar to you, that’s probably why):

  1. Get up fifteen minutes earlier. Then, when something goes wrong, you’ll have that extra time to deal with it. Plus, you can leave for work earlier, which will make your commute less stressful.
  2. Get stuff ready the night before. Set out what you’ll need to make breakfast. Make your lunch (and your kids’ lunches, if applicable). Lay out your clothes for the next day.
  3. Don’t rely on your memory alone; write everything down: appointments, errands, etc. If you write things down (assuming you actually look at the list later), you’ll never forget them.
  4. Never do anything you might be ashamed of later.
  5. Make copies of all your keys and put them where you’ll be able to find them if you lock yourself out of your house or your car.
  6. Practice preventive maintenance; don’t wait until something breaks and you have to fix it. Check the oil, change the filter, stay ahead of the curve.
  7. Be ready to wait. You know it’s going to happen, so be prepared and have something you can do when it does: use your smart phone to catch up on your email or bring your Kindle so you can read something interesting.
  8. Be proactive: whatever you’re thinking of putting off until tomorrow, do it today instead, if you can.
  9. Plan ahead. Don’t run out of gas; keep a few weeks’ worth of canned goods and non-perishable grocery items in the house; don’t wait until you’re down to your last stamp to buy another roll.
  10. Don’t put up with stuff that doesn’t work; if you have something that irritates you because it doesn’t work, get it fixed, replace it, or give it away.
  11. Leave early. If you know it’ll only take you 15 minutes to get to your dentist’s office, leave a half hour before your appointment. It’s a lot less stressful to sit in the waiting room a few extra minutes than it is to be running late in traffic.
  12. Cut down the amount of caffeine you consume.
  13. Be prepared. Set up plans for what you’ll do if something goes wrong (“If either of us is delayed, here’s what we’ll do…” Or, “If we get split up in the shopping center, let’s meet at…”).
  14. Stop obsessing about stuff that really doesn’t matter. The world is not going to end if you don’t mow the lawn today.
  15. Count your blessings. When something goes wrong, you’ll always have a ready supply of things that have gone right to fall back on.
  16. Make sure you understand what’s required. Ask questions to clarify. There’s an old saying, “Measure twice, cut once.” It’s always less stressful to know exactly what you need to do before you start a given task.
  17. Learn to say “No.” Don’t let your mouth make commitments your back (or your schedule) can’t handle. It’s less stressful to say “no” now than to back out later.
  18. Turn off your cell phone, log off of your computer, shut off the TV. Take a long bath, meditate, or read a good book. Disconnect for a while.
  19. Don’t be “needy.” Our actual “needs” are food, water, and shelter. Everything else is just a preference. Don’t confuse needs with preferences.
  20. Simplify.
  21. Make friends with people who don’t seem to worry much. We tend to be like the people we associate with, and if the people you associate with are prone to worry, chances are that you will be too.
  22. Stand up and stretch frequently if you sit a lot. Every 20 minutes or so is a good interval to shoot for.
  23. If you can’t get peace and quiet at home, try wearing earplugs. “Hearos” and “Flents” are my personal favorite brands.
  24. Get enough sleep. Get in the habit of going to bed early enough that you get enough sleep before you have to get up. (Experiment with this; some people do great on 6 hours, others need 8. Figure out what works for you, and make sure you get it.)
  25. Be organized. Have a place for everything and keep everything in its place.
  26. Pay attention to your body. If your muscles are knotted or your breathing is quick and shallow, these are signs of stress: consciously relax your muscles and take some slow, deep breaths to counteract it.
  27. Keep a journal. Writing your thoughts and observations down on paper can help you see things in a new light.
  28. Practice this breathing exercise when you feel stressed: Inhale through your nose to a slow count of eight. Pucker your lips and exhale to a slow count of 16. Listen to the soft sighing sound as you release your breath and picture your tension being released at the same time. Repeat 10 times.
  29. Picture success. Whenever you’re about to do something important, take some time to visualize every aspect of the event: imagine how great you’ll look, how great you’ll feel, and how well you will present yourself.
  30. If you’re stressing over a deadline, do something to take your mind off of whatever you’re doing and you’ll focus better when you get back on task.
  31. Talk about your problems. Sometimes it helps to just talk about whatever’s bothering you with someone you can trust.
  32. Avoid people and places that won’t help you get to where you want to go. If you want to quit smoking, don’t spend a lot of time with smokers.
  33. Live life one day at a time.
  34. Do something you really enjoy every day.
  35. Add a little love to everything you do.
  36. Take a hot bath or a long shower to relieve tension.
  37. Do somebody a favor every day.
  38. Focus on understanding rather than worrying if you’re being understood.
  39. Look as good as you can. The better you look, the better you’ll feel.
  40. Take more time between tasks to relax and recharge. Don’t try to get more done in a day than you can without killing yourself.
  41. Understand that, sometimes, good enough is good enough. Perfect is the enemy of done.
  42. Stop talking trash to yourself (“I’m too old…”, “I’m too fat…”, “I’m not this…”, “I’m not that…”).
  43. Change it up on the weekends. If your week was slow, do something active. If your week was hectic, do something relaxing.
  44. Be here now. Pay attention to the what’s going on right now.
  45. Do one thing at a time. Concentrate on what you’re doing right now; don’t let your mind wander to all the other things you have to do.
  46. Get some quiet time every day.
  47. “Worst things first.” If there are things you need to do today that you’d rather avoid, do them first and get them out of the way. Then you can enjoy the rest of the day.
  48. Delegate. You can’t do everything. Let other people help.
  49. Take real lunch breaks. Get away from your desk physically and it will help you recharge.
  50. Count to 100 before you say anything in anger. Better yet, don’t say anything in anger.
  51. Forgive and forget. Assume that most people do the best they can with what they have.
  52. Be optimistic. Most people are not out to get you, and most circumstances are just what they are. Don’t take it personally; chances are, it’s not about you.

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