In Practice

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5 Practical Strategies for Long Term Stress Reduction

Stress reduction strategies that keep paying off (without ongoing effort)

My favorite type of stress reduction strategies are the kind that (1) require one-time effort but produce ongoing benefits, and (2) where the benefits particularly kick in during the times I'm busiest / most stressed.

You'll need to personalize these stress strategies to reflect your own sources of stress but these five examples will illustrate the principles.

1. Get a spare set of keys cut.

When I'm at home, my keys live on a hook just inside my front door. However, when I'm stressed, I get absent minded and put them down other places. At least once every couple of months I find myself at risk of being late for work because I can't find my keys. I've solved the stress of this problem by getting a spare set cut.

Do it next time you're at the hardware store.

2. Keep $20 in the car glove compartment.

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Something else I do when I'm excessively busy is leave the house without my purse. Keeping $20 in the glove compartment means I can still run to the store on the way home and pick up whatever I need for that night's dinner.

3. Buy an extra USB charger. 

I was forever jumping in the car and realizing the battery on my phone was low. Buying a USB charger that sits in the cigarette lighter slot in my car solved this problem. I no longer need to run back inside to find my charger when I'm already late.

The charger I bought (for less than $13) charges both the iphone and ipad, and also works great for road trips.

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4. Establish a more convenient location to store a household item when it's not in use.

If I don't put something away after using it it's usually because the place it's "supposed to" live when it's not in use is either inconvenient and cluttered.

If I have to fight for space in a drawer or cupboard when I want to put something away, I'm much more likely to leave it lying around.

Try establishing a more convenient home for one of your household items.

5. Try a 30-day project of throwing out 1 item per day.

I love doing 30-day personal projects. One of my most enjoyable projects was also one of the simplest (and least time consuming!). For 30 days, I threw out one item per day. There are lots of low-hanging fruit options for this project e.g., throwing out something from the fridge that's past it's use by date.

The ongoing benefits of this project came from having less clutter to tidy and get in the way of cleaning. 

Stress Reduction Strategy Selection Criteria

To review: choose strategies that (1) require one-time effort but produce ongoing benefits, and (2) where the benefits particularly kick in during the times you're busiest / most stressed.

If you liked this article

If you liked this article, you'll probably like this one - 17 Psychology Experts Share Their Best Stress Relief Tips

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photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin,  Relaxing Beach cc.

Alice Boyes, Ph.D. translates principles from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and social psychology into tips people can use in their everyday lives.

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