Man grabbing hair with broken glasses

3 Habits That Will Keep Your Emotional Stress at Bay

Practice these three habits to keep your stress levels in check.

Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash

“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.” — George Burns

Over time, what I’ve come to understand about life is that we are the masters of our own fate.

Many people are their own worst enemy and battle with themselves as it relates to various obstacles in life. These internal battles often lead to unnecessary stress that can be detrimental to one’s health.

This stress can then cause individuals to make poor choices that will result in them finding themselves in more bad situations that create more stress in life. This becomes a debilitating cycle that can leave individuals feeling helpless and lost.

What most people don’t realize, however, is how much control they have over their own lives to prevent this type of situation from happening.

In fact, there are three simple habits that you can practice that can either alleviate or destroy stress if you’re willing to embrace them.

Reduce or completely cut off people who don’t bring joy to your life

I figured this one out at a young age, and it has been a lifesaver to my overall mental health for a long time.

If there is someone who provides more negative than positive energy for my life, my overall sentiment is to remove them or reduce my interactions with them.

Many people have a problem making this decision when it comes to two groups of people:

  • Friends that they have known for a long time and
  • Family members

For many people, when they have friends for a considerable amount of time, the thought of moving on in life and no longer having them as a major part of that life can be scary because it might feel like they’re selling out a bit.

I had this experience about a year into my alcohol-consciousness journey, as I began to realize that the person that I was becoming no longer had that much in common with the person I was before and, subsequently, with the friend group I had before.

It wasn’t that they were bad people or that I thought I was becoming “better” than them. It was rather because we had grown in different directions, and trying to hold onto these friendships was causing more stress than happiness because it was incongruent with my new life.

The same can be said of family members who are always causing drama for whatever reason. To free yourself, you need to stop making decisions on what you tolerate in life based on whether the person is related to you or not.

If the person treats you respectfully and adds value and happiness to your life, then they get to stay.

If they don’t, then you should feel confident removing them from or limiting their involvement in your life is the right decision.

As harsh as this sounds, you have to protect your happiness before anything else because if you don’t put your own happiness first, then who will?

Don’t commit to more than you’re comfortable with.

When I look at my calendar every day, I make sure I have 2–3 windows of time (not including lunch) in which I have absolutely NOTHING planned.

The reason for this is typically three-fold:

  1. I need some buffer time in the event meetings run over, as I hate being late to meetings.
  2. I need some planning time just to think, digest, and research ideas that come to me throughout the day.
  3. I just don’t like the stress of having my calendar packed all the time.

I am in control of my calendar, and therefore, I’m in control of the flow of my day.

For that reason, I ensure I have enough “white space” just to think and process things and not be overwhelmed with trying to do things back to back to back.

This methodology keeps a good flow to my day, gives me breaks to relax a bit throughout, and prevents allowing any type of stress to overwhelm me.

Move on from your mistakes quickly

You’re going to f*ck something up.

That’s life. Nobody’s perfect, and you have to be good with accepting that is the case.

With that in mind, if you make a mistake, the only thing you can do is to learn from it and then move on.

Allowing a mistake to stay in the back of your mind for any length is time is not healthy to your overall mental health and will hold you back from being able to progress in other scenarios similar to it.

If you don’t believe me, learn from the story of Nick Anderson of the Orlando Magic in 1995.

Nick was a 70.4% free throw shoot (decent enough by NBA standards), but he had an off game and missed four straight free throws back to back that caused the Orlando Magic to lose the first game of the 1995 NBA Finals to the Houston Rockets. The Rocket went on the win the series.

Nick could never shake the magnitude of this loss for the rest of his career, as his free throw percentage plummeted the next season to an abysmal 40%.

Don’t be Nick.

If you make a mistake, admit to it, apologize, learn what you can, and then move the hell on to keep the stress at bay and your future untarnished from what could’ve been.

And while I can’t guarantee that you’ll never have stress if you follow these three rules, I can guarantee you’ll be much more in control of getting rid of and handling it in the small number of times you do.

Thanks so much for reading.

I promote an AC (alcohol-conscious), i.e., sober lifestyle to encourage others to get in the best shape of their lives and create the lives of their dreams.

I’m always looking to help those you desire to put in the work to improve, so if you’re interested in getting my free diet plan to help you on your journey, please email me at with a request.

Also, feel free to follow me here on Medium, on Instagram at @kenmmiddleton, or check out my Medium publication AINYF which has tips, insights, and strategies on how to live a thriving AC lifestyle.

Thanks for reading again, and remember…

You never lose the battle until you stop fighting…