Less Stress? Yeah, Right

Stress-free eating

Garden Bounty

I’m on a stress-free diet… and it has nothing to do with food. Well, very little, anyway. I’ll get to that.

Mostly, I’m actively working on eliminating all stress from my life. Yeah, I know it’s impossible, but it’s a goal to strive for, right? The older I get, the more I notice my values changing. Previously, constant striving, making money, running brick-and-mortar businesses, and worrying about things I couldn’t control kept me in a constant state of stress—the bad kind.

Now I focus on what makes me happy: reading, walking, friends, eating, traveling, public speaking, astronomy, and copyediting. That’s right, copyediting. It’s one of the most relaxing activities I do. You see, I’m a task-oriented person who used to try to be a people-oriented person. That’s not to say that I don’t love being with people; I do. It’s just that, when I really apply myself to what I’m good at, I’ve learned that it’s tasks. Give me something to do and I will get it done. Period. It’s my gift, if you will.

How is copyediting stress-free, you might ask? The first step in my copyediting process is to read a document or manuscript straight through, making general notes here and there. So, right off the bat, I get to read. (See what makes me happy, above.) Then I get to read it again, this time making more thorough notes of systematic and random errors (geek!), tone of the author’s voice, the message I’m reading in the text, and much, much more. Time ceases to exist when I’m doing this kind of work—a form of time travel, I think.

Once I’m done with the first two passes, I might take a walk (see what makes me happy, above) with a friend (ditto) to clear my mind and mentally prepare myself for the extremely focused work of hard copyediting. Since I love this part of my work so much, you can see that I have reduced my stress tremendously by simply incorporating into my everyday existence the people and activities that make me happy.

As far as the food goes? I eat what I love, and fortunately most of what I love is healthy. Much of it is from my garden. My favorite food-related adventure is to travel to a star party, eat well with friends, then speak to the crowd about astronomy. Now THAT is a stress-free diet!

What do you do to reduce your stress level? Write in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you.