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There is a lot of advice out there about how to deal with the stress in our lives. For instance, we are told that we should mediate in order to be better equipped to handle stress. Or we should have gratitude journals, so that we can realize how blessed we are. Or we should stop looking at our emails so frequently, so that we can feel more relaxed.

But wouldn’t it just be better to eliminate stress? Of course, there are some stresses that cannot be eliminated. If you have an ill family member, there is no way to eliminate that stress. You just have to deal with it. You also can’t avoid stress if something catastrophic happens, like the death of a loved one, the loss of a job or a natural disaster. Those are issues that are outside of our control.

However, most stressors in life are within our control. The choice is ours whether to eliminate those stressors, or not. Below are some ways to get rid of the stress in your life, and get on the path to a relaxed and peaceful existence.

Stop Dealing with Mean and Rude People

There is no good reason to deal with anyone who is being mean or rude to you. That goes not just for perfect strangers, but for your family, friends, your children and your spouse. Don’t deal with people who are being unkind to you. Ignore them. Walk away from them. Or simply cut them out of your life.

That may sound harsh, but if someone is mean to you, it is because they don’t like you or love you. If they did, they would be kind and helpful to you. It took me a long time to realize that I have no obligation to be in a relationship with anyone who isn’t nice to me. Once I made that realization, I was able to eliminate a lot of stress from my life.

Lower Your Stress by Fixing Only What Is Actually Broken

If your spouse is nice to you, your job pays a reasonable wage, and you live is a decent home, there is nothing wrong with your life. So, if you are still sad, then the problem is you.

So, don’t fix what isn’t broken. Don’t get rid of your perfectly good spouse, your job, or your house. You will only make your life worse. Fix what is really broken. You. That may mean going to a therapist to figure out why you are dissatisfied with your reasonably decent life.

Don’t Live with Bad Decisions

We all make bad decisions on occasion. We may choose to marry or be in a relationship with someone with whom we are incompatible. Or we may go down a career path that doesn’t suit us. There is nothing wrong with that. It is OK to take risks and try things, even if they don’t work out.

Our mistake comes when we stick with a bad decision. Sometimes we mistakenly think that staying with a bad decision is really a good thing. For instance, many parents think that staying together helps their children. It doesn’t. The most screwed up adults that I know are the ones whose parents stayed together when they should have gotten divorced. Instead of growing up in a relaxed household with one happy parent, they grew up in a tense household with two parents who were miserable.

So, don’t make your bad decisions worse by committing to them. You only make your own life (and everyone else’s) more stressful.

Stop Trying to Be Responsible for the Happiness of Others

It is extremely stressful to try to make other people happy. Why? Because you have no control over the happiness of others. Trying to make others happy is a pointless endeavor.

I’ve learned the hard way that no matter how nice you are to some people, they will want to be unhappy with you, and with life in general. It is just how they are built. There is nothing that you can do to help them.

Realize that your only obligation to other people is to be kind to them, and to not create problems for them. It is their choice whether or not to be happy.

Now, unhappy people may tell you that you are the source of their unhappiness. If they do, then ask yourself this: Am I kind and helpful to this person to the best of my ability? If your answer is yes, then ignore the unhappy person. They simply are choosing to be unhappy and want to make you their scapegoat.

Reduce Stress by Living Responsibly

We often create our own stressors in life simply by being irresponsible. Overspending, overeating and overdrinking (alcohol) are quick ways to create unnecessary problems and stress in your life.

It is easy to go down irresponsible paths. Every bit of advertising in magazines and on television is directed to get you to overspend, eat unhealthy food and drink alcohol to be “cool.” And ironically, they use extremely healthy models who don’t drink alcohol or overeat to get you to do those very things!

It sounds boring, but if you want to eliminate a lot of stress from your life, be responsible. Don’t overspend, and you won’t be stressed out because you can’t pay your bills. Avoid overeating, and you won’t be stressed out because your clothes don’t fit and you have health issues. Don’t drink to excess, and you won’t feel sick all the time and potentially become an alcoholic. These are all simple choices that you can make to eliminate unnecessary stress in your life.

Admittedly, there are a lot of stresses in our lives that are outside of our control. Death, illness, and the loss of a job are significant, stressful events over which we have no control. But much of the stress in our lives is within our control!

Follow the above suggestions. Do what you can to eliminate as much stress as possible from your life. If you do so, watch your serenity increase exponentially! (To read more about healthy ways to reduce stress, click here.)


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