Minimising stress and focussing on what matters


Colette Cooper

IT CAN often be a difficult task to stay focused on what’s truly important in life, with all the different distractions and pressures we face on a daily basis, whether this be our jobs, studying at university, our relationships and so on.

It can, occasionally, seem impossible to prioritise it all and ultimately, failing to prioritise our daily obligations may prevent us from taking part in the things that we really want to be doing with our time.

With this being said, here are just a few simple things to consider when trying to minimise stress.

Writing lists
This may seem like a fairly obvious task, but it’s fairly easy to lose track of birthdays, events or meetings, without jotting down a simple plan for the week. Giving ourselves less to think by laying out all our thoughts on paper allows us to maintain a clearer, more focused mindset. Likewise, by writing smaller lists of ideas such as future aspirations, goals, resolutions, or even just a plan for the day ahead; we have more time to relax and enjoy what the day has to offer.

Crossing-off deadlines
It can be tempting to leave that 1000-word essay that’s not due for another few weeks until the day before, but the sad truth is that time goes quicker than we realise. By simply allowing ourselves to make a start and setting out little goals each day or week, this allows us to achieve a sense of productivity and peace of mind. Nevertheless, it’s also just as important to take necessary breaks and avoid overworking ourselves.

Positive affirmations and self-care
I believe, for the most part, we often forget to take the necessary time for ourselves and switch off from the outside world. This may involve simple things such as focussing on our good qualities, reading a favourite novel or simply sitting back in cosy pyjamas with a cup of tea. I have also found both meditation and prayer to be an excellent activity to unwind, de-stress and focus on what matters.

Surrounding ourselves with others who inspire us
Something I notice on a regular basis is that interacting with others who are friendly, make you laugh, and do their best to support you are the people you need in your life. It may sound obvious, but if you find yourself feeling somewhat low and unconfident after being in someone’s company, this is probably a sign that you should talk it out or go your separate ways. While no friendship or relationship is perfect, spending time with individuals who bring out the very best in us are, of course, more likely to bring us true happiness.

Carrying out little bits of what we love everyday
Even if this is just the beginning, start doing what you love. As much as I enjoy painting, reading, playing the piano and more, I find myself making excuses for why I haven’t dabbled in these things for a while. When I push myself to carry out five or ten minutes of these activities a day, however, I start to believe more in myself and my abilities.

Staying active and hydrated
While you don’t have to be the sportiest person in the world, it’s no secret that we always feel much happier, motivated and replenished after carrying being active. Whether this is simple walks to a massive gym-session, I believe active living is an amazing way to brighten our moods and clear our minds.

Stop comparing
We are always going to find someone who seems to be a little further ahead at work, or own the newest gadget, and often, we find ourselves comparing our lives with those who seem to be ‘doing better.’ I believe it’s vital, therefore, to check in and remind ourselves to be positive about where we are in our lives and go from there.

Colette Cooper is a journalist, blogger and creative writer