These two go together in that everything you remove in life ought to be replaced with something else, its a fundamental principle of habit development and was a favorite point of Venerable Fulton Sheen.*
2 REMOVE YOURSELF FROM TECHNOLOGY
You’ve heard me mention this one before. In its fullest extent, I recommend routine technology Sabbaths. In its least, try to recognize when technology is beginning to master you and step away for a while. A good example of when I realized this for myself is, over Black Friday and Cyber Monday (today this might pertain more to travel planning or a family investment we are working on). I was all over the place trying to find the best deals for my money. Eventually, I could feel the tension building inside of me as Amazon and other sites are an infinite vortex of options. I stepped away to let my head clear and refocus on what I was really looking for. In the end, I got some great deals on what I knew I wanted, didn’t have a bunch of excess junk, and was surprisingly at peace by not trying to barrel my way through but instead giving myself the step-away time (I’m able to disconnect emotionally from the decision making and it also helps me moderate what can become technology routines for planning.)
3 SPEND TIME FOSTERING FRIENDSHIPS AND FAMILY TIES
This is one I definitely need to work on. When I feel overwhelmed I tend to withdraw and isolate with my tub of ice cream and Redbox movie (usually something deeply moving like Captain America or Guardians of the Galaxy). When I do this I usually find myself emerging not with decreased stress but with the desire to just repeat the same cycle the next night.
On the occasion that I have reached out to a friend or family member, even if just over the phone, I find myself having a much better attitude and perspective on life. The perspective beyond my own narrow little world is really important to put my stress in its proper place. It doesn’t take much effort either. Like I said, it can just be a phone call, or having that ice cream out with a friend. The best thing about this option is you are never going to regret spending time with people you love. It is always a good investment of your time. I remember in college, I had a tendency to procrastinate, but at least when I was doing it with good friends, they usually turned out to be the same people I could turn to for advice and guidance when I did stop putting my projects off.
*This post was previously published during the holiday season so some adjustments have been made to keep it current.