Getting to a happier, less stressed place in life does not have to be difficult. However, it's important to note that you can't just talk yourself out of stress, or tough it out, or resort to distractions.
Here are two steps McKee and Seppälä offer:
- Determine the main sources of your stress. If you are stressed from working too much, McKee recommends you ask yourself if you really need to work that hard or if it's only out of habit and question if you are working too much as an escape from another part of your life.
- Learn how to be more resilient. Seppälä defines resilience as the "ability to quickly bounce back from the stressful situations you face every day."
New York Times best-selling author Adam Grant agrees that resilience is crucial. "I don't think there's any skill more critical for success than resilience," he tells CNBC Make It. To build yours, he suggests you get out of your head: Focus on whom you're helping and how, and on keeping a journal in which you write about the contributions you make to others.
Cultivating gratitude and generosity, his research has found, actually helps with stress.
If a situation at work has made you feel stressed, Seppälä recommends countering your body's automatic tendency to be negative, worry and overthink by taking deep breaths. Breathing is a "rapid and reliable pathway into your nervous system dedicated to helping you regain your optimal state." It not only calms you down, Seppälä writes, but it also normalizes your level of cortisol, also known as the "stress hormone."
Another way Seppälä recommends you can bounce back from stress is to engage in slow-paced activities like yoga or going for walks in nature (or, if you live in a city, a tree-lined street or park).
"Since not all stress is bad, the trick is to harness the benefits of short-term stress while not falling prey to chronic stress," Seppälä notes. "Sustainable long-term success is not about burning the candle at both ends, it's about learning to skillfully surf the stress wave."
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Video by Richard Washington
This is an updated version of a previously published article.