Column: Refocusing your life

Published 5:37 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2005

By Staff
Question of the week: I am a 30 year old man who feels extremely stressed out and unfocused. I feel like I am always in a whirlwind. I can never catch my breath and I feel there is no balance in my life. Are there any tips you can give me to help slow my life down?
Great question and it is a problem that so many of us have. There are many ways to help refocus our lives. They are very simple but ones we may not think of on our own because we are so busy running in so many different directions.
1. Mornings
One of the easiest ways to start your day off hectic. Your alarm goes off and then it is all about rush, rush, rush. You leave the house feeling like you cannot breathe because you are moving so fast. Maybe you have to get the kids around, (or your spouse), the phone unexpectedly rings, your dog has to go out, you can not get you hair to turn out, you spill food or coffee on your only pressed shirt, and the list goes on. So how do we solve this a.m. disaster? Give yourself a few extra minutes in the morning to take a few deep breaths before you have to get into the routine. Take an extra long shower or bath and give yourself enough time to relax. Sit and read the newspaper or listen to calming music.
2. Clutter and Mess
Whether it is at home or at work it can cause stress. There is nothing worse for me than to walk into my office in the morning and it looks like a tornado hit it from the night before. Same with the house- to wake up to a cluttered house will totally set my day off wrong. Having clutter means disorganization, which means lost time in your day because you are trying to find what you are looking for which in return can cause impatience and frustration.
3. The Morning Drive
So you are already running late and feeling frustrated and now there is a school bus in front of you stopping every 200 feet to pick up kids. On a calm day when you have left yourself enough time this would not bother you but today you are not happy, you actually feel a bit of road rage coming on. DEEP BREATHES. Your morning drive should be the perfect time to collect yourself and relax. You should not be white fisting the steering wheel and slamming on the brakes every minute because you are riding too close to the vehicle in front of you. This is your time. You should listen to the radio station that you want, think about what you want, and if you are going to work leave your personal life at home and be focused for the day and vice versa if you are coming home from work.
4. The "I can't say no" person
Hey Mike will you do this for me and hey Mike can you pick this up on your way home today or I need you to be on another committee. What is Mike's response - YES. What should it be - probably NO. There are those people who cannot say no to anyone. The amazing thing is that it never seems to bother them - wrong. If you are one of these people you need to be able to say no when you really do not have time to do something. By saying yes you are adding more stress and frustration to your life.
5. Be good to your health
With all that is going on in your life keeping up your health is very important. Adding exercise is your best ally. So now you're thinking one more thing to add, right? Well, maybe this is a great time to relieve frustrations and stress. If adding time for exercise is going to add too much more to your life then add it into your regular everyday routine. If you have a dog take it for a run or an extra long walk. Work in the garden, walk up and down your steps at home, do toning exercises while watching TV, lift your kids up and down while playing with them or clean your house.
6. Make a list
Your head can become so cluttered from all the things you have to do that you cannot think. You may even start to forget what it is you need to do. By making a list and crossing things off as you go it will help you feel the sense of accomplishment and give you more positive energy to do fun things.
There are many little tips to help a person with the clutter and stress in their lives. By taking deep breaths, giving yourself time to focus and getting rid of the clutter you will be on your way to a stress free life.
Thought of the week:
Escape from reality is one of the most deceptive ways of seeking happiness that the master mind of evil ever invented. - Harry Moyle Tippett