Too many unread messages!

Despite working, studying and being geographically isolated from all my close friends and family (except for my sister!) I still look at all the work people like my dad do on one end of the scale, and people who literally have to spend an entire day walking to a well to get enough horrible muddy water just to bring back to their village to drink on the other side to think my problems are pretty trivial. Still, I reckon since 2007 my stress levels feel as though they've been doubling every few months which has resulted in a pretty steep curve!

The Guy Kawasaki over on AllTop linked to an article on DumbLittleMan.com written by a woman going by the name of Krizia entitled 10 Ways to Reduce Stress Without Spending a Dime.

I was instantly drawn to the article because I wanted to see how I could reduce stress without spending a currency of which I do not have access to. Turns out there are ten things you can do to reduce your stress without spending a unit of American currency. I'll talk about the first five to start off with.

1. Turn off the TV: This might sound obvious but watching the financial news channels all day long will only increase your stress level since they report on the latest downs in the stock market on a minute-by-minute base.

I almost never watch television any more unless it's on the computer, but I'm assuming computers and mobile phones would also fit into this. Funny thing is, I find a lighthearted and funny anime series or an episode of Colbert is just what the doctor ordered when I'm feeling stressed; I guess all such things are relative!

2. Go for a walk: This time of the year is so precious, especially if you live in an area with tons of trees. Take time to reconnect with Mother Nature and take time to escape from all the bad news.

I name this the Jerry Novak technique after my very good friend I met up with in Singapore last year and who really helped me out a lot when mummy died. I reckon walking around the park should be number 1, it does absolute wonders. I've read it's not a good idea to get excercise just before you sleep, but it does so much to clear my head before I sleep.

3. Call up a friend: Sometimes, just the fact of spending time with a friend over a cup of coffee or a walk can make a huge difference to the way you feel. Don’t underestimate the power of human contact and friendship when times are difficult.

People scoff when I tell them I use Twitter to keep in near constant contact with friends in far away places and locally without paying a fortune in international text messages. It might not be as good as talking directly, but sometimes some quick banter, a joke or a virtual smack on the back works great. :)

4. Take advantage of free events: Each city has a list of weekly free activities that are open to the public. Grab a newspaper and find out which ones might interest you and go out there and discover something new!

I'm a terribly shy, introverted person, and I think doing this would be incredibly painful to start off with, but would probably be fantastic to do. Now I just need to wrestle time from studying and work…

5. Hang out at your favorite bookstore: This is an activity I’ve always enjoyed so much. You can spend hours just browsing and looking at the latest books. Who knows, this might spark your creative juices!

I've done this since I was allowed to leave the house by myself as a kid, I even do it with friends. Great idea!

Part two coming tomorrow.