Health And Wellness

The Stress-Busting Secret Outrageously Successful People Use

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It's a typical workday morning. As usual, you're jolted awake by an alarm.

Instantly, your mind flashes on a frenzy of thoughts. Too many tasks have to get done today.

A feeling of being overwhelmed descends like a densely creeping fog. You throw off the covers and break into a whirl of activity.

You're on a conveyor belt of life, on a path of which you've lost control. Stop! There's another way.

More and more successful CEOs and entrepreneurs are recognizing the benefits of starting the day with a brief period of deliberate quiet.

As a personal development coach, I call it a "productivity pause," but most people know it as mindfulness or meditation. I allot a minimum of 10 minutes before I even leave my bed.

By allowing time for self-reflection, you are able to focus attention more valuably and use energy more wisely. Ultimately, you'll be less stressed and more empowered to take on challenges and seize opportunities.

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Here are three steps used by the most successful people to help reduce stress: 

1: Get enough sleep

Avoid using an alarm. Get to bed early enough to feel rested and wake up naturally. If impossible to do, skip Step 1 and go directly to Step 2.

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2. Take a five-minute timeout and orient yourself to the day

Upon awakening, gently bring yourself into a comfortable seated position in bed. Close your eyes. Let go of all thoughts. Focus on your breathing.

Take very gradual deep breaths and count like this: For a slow count of four, inhale through the nose; then exhale for a count of four. After a few days of practice, increase to six, eight or ten counts for each breath. Continue for several minutes. 

As thoughts appear, observe them without getting attached to stories or details. Allow them to float away. With each breath out, let go of fears and worries.

With each breath in, feel the energies of renewal and balance. Give yourself permission for these few minutes to be fully present in the moment, focusing on the life force of each breath.

Then breathe normally. Take a few moments to notice any sensations in your body, and observe the peacefulness of your mind.

If desired, repeat for another several minutes. This simple counting technique calms the nervous system, oxygenates the body, increases focus and reduces tension.

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3. Simplify your to-do list

Immediately after doing the breathing technique, take a few more minutes to create the day's task list. From a perspective of a serene mind, you can more effectively prioritize urgent tasks and relegate lower-priority tasks to the bottom.

By committing 10 to 15 minutes daily to a personal timeout, you'll accomplish more in less time and feel motivated and inspired, even when facing tough issues.

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Make stress reduction a habit

For myself, my consistent practice has helped me handle difficult situations without devastating reactions.

When in one week's time I was deluged with a glut of annoyances from my computer crashing to permanently misplacing my driver's license and credit cards to having one of my accounts hacked to my Internet provider accidentally blocking my IP address, I vigilantly clung to my morning routine.

By mindfully stilling my thoughts, I felt distanced from getting sucked into any angst. Instead of focusing on the problems, I was able to have a clearer perspective to recognize solutions.

The effects of this process are liberating, although some days may seem easier than others. Be aware without judging good or bad.

Make a purposeful decision to continue regularly so it becomes a habit. You will be pleasantly rewarded as you effortlessly develop your unique path to fulfillment, well-being and success.

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Peggy Sealfon is a personal development coach who spends her time helping people overcome life's big and small challenges.