Chaos. It surrounds us on a daily basis. And there’s always more of it to come, seemingly stacking the desk against us…if we don’t know how to handle it that is.
I used to not be able to respond to stress well AT ALL. The slightest little thing would freak me out and sometimes send me into full-blown depressions that lasted for WEEKS. Thankfully, after “eating glass” throughout this entrepreneurial journey and constantly reinvesting into my personal development, I’ve been able to identify 10 ways that you can cut the stress in your life and keep your bliss throughout all of life’s chaos.
Don’t overthink about having to do all 10 or “which one is the best”. Just open up some space to identify which one is powerful for YOU at the right moment when you might need to use it.
I cannot emphasize enough the power of breath, of paying attention to it, and of using it to GROUND yourself back into presence (which we’ll discuss in just a second). Next time you’re freaking out or getting stressed, pay attention to how you’re breathing. You’ll most likely find that all of the sudden you’re taking shorter breaths and breathing a lot faster. When you notice this, simply close your eyes for a second (unless you’re driving of course!) and take a few deep breaths.
And remember, it’s not just about getting through a few deep breaths as quickly as possible. Really sit there with your breathing and notice your body going from tense back to relaxed, your breathing going from shallow back to full deep breaths.
A few great tips can be adding a little note in your work area that simply says “BREATHE”, setting an alarm on your phone that goes off at a random time reminding you to breathe and even setting a wallpaper for your phone or computer that say “BREATHE”. Trust me, these little tricks can bring a smile to your face and keep you calm even when everything is going crazy.
2. BE PRESENT
One of the BIGGEST reasons why everything begins to build up and seem chaotic in our lives is simply because we step out of presence. We mentally project ourselves into the future and worry about things that haven’t even happened yet like fictional stories of not being able to pay bills.
Or on the flip side we project ourselves mentally back into the past and worry about things we “messed up” before that are literally not even real anymore. You can’t go bring me the past or bring me the future. But what you CAN do is step into the NOW, and breathing as mentioned earlier is a great way to do that.
I like to step briefly into the past to recall lessons I’ve learned from “mistakes” or put a big grin across my face remembering awesome memories with friends. But that’s all I use it for. With the future I’ll project myself into it to see where I’m taking my business, the direction of my life and new cool & exciting things I want to do or places I want to go.
But again, that’s all I use it for. When you use the past as a tool to feel guilty about “mistakes” and the future as a tool to worry about things that haven’t even happened yet, you’re ripping yourself away from presence, which is the place that real bliss comes from.
3. ZOOM OUT
Can we be honest for a second? Usually the stuff we’re stressing out about it microscopic but we’re making it into some gigantic thing that is seemingly impossible to conquer. You know what a small stress is? Stressing about a bill, stressing about “what you’re going to do next”, even stressing about something you did in the past that you can NEVER undo but are somehow trying to IMPOSSIBLY. My advice? ZOOM OUT. What’s the BIG picture?
Are you stressed about a bill? You have to collect money. Collecting money is fun! It can lead to wealth and massive impact beyond just you and your family and really create something that can have a lasting impact on millions of people all around the world!
See what I did there? You can reframe EVERYTHING!!! Haven’t been laid in forever because you don’t know how to get laid? Well, if you’re focusing on “not getting laid” then your life is going to SUCK! But what if instead you realized “Huh…all I have to do is LEARN how to get laid, and then whoa, I’m going to get laid!
It’s going to happen sooner than later! I’m going to get laid!” Maybe that’s a funny example that just came off the top of my head (hope you’re not suffering from that one) but do you SEE how easy it is to reframe everything for the positive results you’re going to get in the future by simply zooming out?
4. KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
If you don’t know what you want, everything in life is going to be so much harder than it needs to be. We’ve all heard the classic example of a guy that gets in his car and turns on his GPS and says “Take me somewhere I want to go that is awesome!!!” Well obviously, the GPS is going to need a little bit more to go on than just THAT.
You need to be specific and have LOTS of things you want so that you and the universe have lots of options for projects to co-create together. I could dive into a whole rabbit hole on this one, but short story is that people who know what they want usually get it and people who don’t know what they want end up working for someone who knows what they want and endlessly drift through life dissatisfied.
I’m currently reading a book “Happy Pocket Full Of Money” that is having me go through an exercise of writing down FIVE THOUSAND GOALS!!! That’s a lot right? It’s definitely going to stretch me and pull me out of my comfort zone to make such a list. But just STARTING the list everything is getting much clearer for me in life and business because I’m solidifying the direction I’m heading in. Without knowing where you want to go, even the smallest of problems will consume you and leave you stagnant like you’re getting sucked down into quicksand.
Even something as small as a $100 bill you need to pay. But knowing where you want to go, it’s like what an old mentor Mark Hoverson said to me a long time ago “Make your vision, your direction so gigantic that any problems coming your way are like flies hitting the windshield of your car that’s moving a million miles an hour, where you wouldn’t even notice them.”
5. MAKE CONSISTENT PROGRESS
Tony Robbins once said that progress IS happiness. It took me a while to fully understand this but as I’ve evolved in life and business more and more I’ve come to understand exactly what he was saying. If you’re not moving, you’re not going to be happy, period. But if you’re making progress and you can MEASURE the progress you’re making, you’re going to feel MUCH better. Progress creates momentum and momentum accelerates you down that path towards what it is that you want.
If you’re a writer and you haven’t written even one page of the book you want to publish, do you think you’re going to be as happy as the other writer who is already 25 pages deep? Of course not. Progress, no matter how slow, helps put you in that flow state where you know you’re making moves in your life and when you’re in that state, you’ll keep your bliss.
On the flip side, if you’re NOT moving and NOT taking action and NOT progressing in your life, then what’s going to happen? The mind monkeys are going to come in! See, if you’re always in motion and making progress towards what you want to do, you’re overwhelming the “thinking mind” with actions that are beneficial to your life, your business, etc. But as soon as you stand still, that little voice creeps in to tell you that you can’t do it.
And it’ll only get louder and louder the more you stand still without making progress. When you’re taking action, this voice barely even exists because you’re using what mental power you have to channel it towards the manifestation of something you desire. But don’t let it think for itself. Don’t EVER let it think for itself. Because if you PAUSE and let it do the talking, it’s going to tell you that you can’t do it, that you’re not good enough, to stay in your comfort zone, to not even try hitting your goals, and on and on until you get stuck with a mediocre life you hate waking up for each day. Silence this voice with action and bliss is inevitable.
6. ESTABLISH A MORNING ROUTINE
This is a biggie that took me years and years to master, even though I knew from the very start that successful people who had what I wanted ALL had morning routines. And solid ones at that. You should have a PLAN for how you’re going to enter your day, because if you don’t then that monkey mind is going to kick on right as you wake up and be so negative and so loud that you’re going to just want to stay curled up in bed and not even face the day.
But if you know what you’re going to dive into first thing, then it becomes something you can look forward to and something that gets you CENTERED as you start the day.
I use a great app called Coach.me where I plug in activities I want to do more often than not throughout the week and then as I do them I just check them off and it lets me know my PROGRESS (progress…hmm that sounds familiar!) So for example, today I woke up and hit my kegels (don’t laugh, you should do them too!), meditated, read for 30 minutes, drank some black coffee (I do intermittent fasting so I don’t start eating until 2pm) and then now I’m writing some blog posts offline since the internet is out here at the villa in Bali for a bit.
It’s my rest day so I’m not exercising but that’s something else I’d hit in the morning if it was my “ON” day, and then I dive into business stuff LATER ON so that I’m fully centered by the time I dive headfirst into the wild world of entrepreneurship. Research the morning routines of the most successful people out there and you’ll begin to find patterns of what they’re doing that you can model to craft your OWN routine. There are many reasons they do them, but one reason is because it centers you for the day, and when you’re centered you keep your BLISS.
7. MEDITATE DAILY
I ignored meditation for a long time as well, but once I really got into it, everything started to change for me, including the way I see the world around me. In addition to being more centered, I’d say I walk through life with the “calm, cool, collective” feel towards everything I experience, which was always a state I wanted to get to but had problems stepping into (before doing consistent meditation that is). I don’t even do anything all that crazy.
In the morning for 15 minutes I just sit lotus position in my bed, close my eyes, and focus on my breathing. When my timer goes off I’ll do a few deep breaths, open my eyes, and know that I’ve taken myself back to that centered and blissful place I can experience a new day from. Meditation is great to do anytime, but I especially like doing it in the morning as it kind of “sets the tone” for the day to come.
Another thing meditation does is quiet that monkey mind! And the more you meditate, the less your negative thoughts will come in throughout the day! You see, there is SO MUCH negative input coming in our direction all the time from society, the mainstream media, even friends and family, you name it! So you have to actively COUNTER all that crap by injecting positivity into your mind so you can keep your bliss and not end up in reaction mode freaking out about this and that and the other.
Darren Hardy of Success Magazine showed a great example of this at an event when he took a cup of muddy water and started pouring cups of clean water into it. It took a little while, but eventually the muddy water was all gone and only clean water remained! That’s what it’s like when you meditate! Introduce those moments of stillness where you are not thinking about ANYTHING, just paying attention to your breathing, and you’ll get rid of the “mud” (negative thoughts) at a much faster rate than going through life NOT meditating.
8. EXERCISE THROUGHOUT THE WEEK
If you are in business and you don’t exercise, I don’t know how you get through the day. Even for people who aren’t in business, this is incredibly important. We have to remember that we are PRIMAL BEINGS and our “primal brain” is still the one in control of us. In the grand scheme of things, it was not THAT long ago that we would wake up and run around ALL DAY to hunt, gather food, build shelters with out hands, etc. We’ve lost that with all the abundance we’ve opened up to as a society. Instead of hunting and gathering food we can just make a transaction online and have food brought to us.
Instead of gathering wood and building shelters we just pick a place we like and make another transaction. In our conscious mind we think we’re ready for this, but at a deeper level there’s a part of us going CRAZY because we’re not expending all that energy every day that we used to. Sitting all day in front of the computer or TV while snacking on chips is hardly anywhere near what our ancestors did on a daily basis when it comes to MOVING AROUND.
There are a million reasons to exercise and you don’t need me to tell you why it’s good for you. But I will say this: if you are NOT exercising and moving around a decent amount throughout the day, you’re going to have a bunch of pent up energy that will come out in the form of stress. Chemicals that need to get released through a workout session (the “hunt”) won’t get released and your body will hold them and turn them toxic.
This breaks down your body, freaks you out mentally, and that’s why a lot of people are not healthy and going through life in a mental fog, when all they had to do was exercise a few times a week to settle down that part of the mind and body that need it so desperately. Exercise is the best anti-depressant out there and will even help your bottom line improve in more ways than one. By keeping your body fueled, you keep your mind fueled, and that leads to incredible momentum in business that will take you where you want to go faster than you ever thought possible.
9. CONTRIBUTE TO THE VISION OF OTHERS
I love this point and it was certainly one I missed the mark on for a while when I got into business over a decade ago. I was in it for ME ME ME and not thinking of anyone else and because of that, not only did my results suffer but I SUFFERED too. We get what we want by helping others get what they want. If you want to experience something, help others experience it. Life is really as simple as that. (Read “Happy Pocket Full Of Money” if you want to understand this further). When we are just out for ourselves, we are seeing the world through a “lack” mentality vs. an “abundance” mentality.
When you are focused on helping others have amazing lives or creating amazing businesses or helping them in any way you can, you step into the abundance mentality full on, and the universe unlocks a lot of awesomeness for you. But if you are just “out for yourself” and always coming at everything from that “what’s in it for ME?” mentality then the universe will not show you as much abundance in your life because you’re choosing to be closed off and see the world through a lens of lack.
Contributing doesn’t mean you have to go build schools in Africa or volunteer 5 days a week at a soup kitchen or anything like that (although if you feel called to do that, GO FOR IT!) It simply means that as you’re looking to get something in life you’re going after, you’re helping bring others along with you on the journey. You’re sharing what you’ve learned, or you’re sharing resources of yours that you can share or offering advice where you know you can contribute. It’s one thing for you to hit a target. But it’s another to bring a whole bunch of people along with you for the ride.
And it’s more fun that way too! One thing you can do to contribute is Join Our Kiva Team over on the “Giving Back” page on this blog and pop over a $25 loan to an entrepreneur in a third-world country who would be THRILLED to be able to put that money towards their business they want to expand. I love contributing this way and Kiva makes it very easy. Remember, life is about GIVING not about GETTING, but the funny thing is that the more that you give, the more you’ll get what you want (and keep your bliss in the process).
10. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH SUCCESS
Straight up, you will not be happy if you surround yourself with unhappy people. You are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with. So if you hang around with 5 people who are always stressed out and complaining about everything, you’re eventually going to be the sixth. If you have to cut people from your life, cut people from your life. It’s not as big of a deal as you think it is because you’ll open up that space and soon positive people will appear to fill it.
I love surrounding myself with people who think big, want to do big things, want to contribute, and are always helping me take things to the next level. If someone doesn’t fit into ALL of those categories, they have no business being in my life because they’re going to bring me down, and since I only live once I don’t have time to live a life without the bliss!
Spend time listening to audios and watching videos and reading books created by successful people you want to model. Download their brains into your brain. Make sure the people you surround yourself with in person are doing the same and that they barely complain about anything if at all. If someone is a complainer, I’m going to cast them out of my life faster than you can blink. And once you understand how having just ONE person in your environment who complains a lot affects you, you’ll begin to do the same. RAISE YOUR STANDARDS as Tony Robbins would say and choose to put only the BEST people in your social circle so that you can live a truly abundant life surrounded by abundant people who are absolute pros at keeping the bliss!
A lot of times when people write big list posts like this they’ll say “You don’t have to do ALL of these things…” Well, I’m here to tell you that you DO have to do all of these things. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be overnight. And if it seems like a lot, just remember that if you’re consistent about introducing them to your life one by one or even a few at a time that after a while they will all be second nature and you won’t even have to think about them.
There are many more thing I could have put on this list but these are my top 10 (in no particular order) and if you get these down, I guarantee you’ll be able to keep the bliss regardless of whatever chaos life throws your way!