While you may not be able to solve the biggest stressors in your life, you can do something about many of the smaller stressors that "nickel and dime you to death." Here are some proven stress reducers you can implement in daily life to help:

  • Get up 15 minutes earlier each morning. That gives you a little more time to eat something, run back to get something you forgot, or enjoy a cup of coffee before heading out the door. If you drive to work, a 15 or 20 minute head start may decrease some of the traffic you face, and make the commute less stressful.
  • Prepare for mishaps. Make an extra copy of your house key and bury it in your neighbors' yard; make a second copy of your car key and tape it under your coworker's desk. Both may allow you to get home and inside the house if you loose your keys. If you do have to use them, pat yourself on the back for being smart.
  • Don't do something if you will have to lie about it afterwards. While this may seem obvious, the nagging guilt we feel often wears us down or makes us anxious about getting caught… Sure, it may be more time consuming to fax your resume to new job sites from Kinko's, but you don't have to worry about being caught.
  • Do something healthy for yourself. That could mean taking the stairs once a day instead of the elevator, picking one day a week to have a salad for lunch, or eating fresh fruit instead of a candy bar. What's the overall effect on your health? Maybe not much, but small steps lead to bigger ones, and doing something simple for your body is the best way to start.
  • Write it down. There is an old Chinese proverb that goes, "The palest ink is better than the most retentive memory." All those "Seven Secrets" tips are based on writing things down. Write down goals, errands, chores, due dates for projects and library books… Instead of just a "To Do" list, keep a "Have Done" list too. Move things over to that list after having completed them. At the end of the day, review how productive you were.
  • Do something special on a whim. Buy flowers for your partner unexpectedly. Sneak a small greeting card that says "I love you" into your child's lunch box. Bring donuts, bagels, or muffins to the office for others one morning. You get the picture. Someone else's smile and "Thanks" can sometimes make a bad day better.
  • Be willing to forgive others. Allowing others the right to make a mistake goes a long way toward forgiving yourself for mistakes. Assume that others are doing the best they can. Mark Twain once said, "Never attribute to malice what can easily be attributed to stupidity." This goes a long way toward doing the best you can as well.
  • Don't eat lunch at your desk. Get away to somewhere quiet or different if only for a 15 or 20 minute break.
  • Delegate new jobs. Say no to avoid additional responsibilities. Simplify. Put your best effort into a task, and ask yourself, "Is it really that important?" before you decide to do it over. Learn to ignore others' criticism sometimes.
  • Get up and stretch periodically. Twist side to side and bend front to back. Roll your head around to stretch your neck a bit. Trade shoulder rubs with a coworker. If you used to smoke, but have stopped, get up and take a break anyway when you feel the need to smoke. A quick trip to the water cooler, to a coworker's desk, or to the restroom doesn't provide the nicotine a cigarette used to, but it does give you the break and moment's respite a cigarette did.