It has been demonstrated in numerous studies that reducing stress will prolong your life and improve the quality of your everyday living experience. Let's take a look at ways we can relax year-round.

Too often, I see clients in my office who are "stressed out." This manifests in a number of ways: Relationship difficulties, smoking, overeating, alcohol and drug use, etc.

All of these (when caused by stress) can be easily eliminated from our lives.

I always like to look at non-hypnotic solutions first. That is what I will focus on in this article; things you can do on your own. Certainly they are semi - hypnotic, but they do not require the skill of a trained professional. All they require is a few minutes of your day and a small amount of effort. Most of the stress-related problems we face can be eliminated by making a few simple adjustments in our lives and forming some good mental-maintenance habits.

Here are some of the steps you can take to reduce your stress:

Eliminate from your life every person and activity that drains you. Easier said than done? Try it. Simply stop participating in activities that take more than they give. Things that waste your time, resources, emotions, etc. I give you permission to stop them as of this moment. If you are in a debilitating relationship of any kind, end it today. Cut the tie. Move on. Feel free to blame it on me.

Take time to meditate. Set aside a half hour each day for yourself. Meditation doesn't have to mean that you sit in a lotus position in a robe looking at a candle. You can meditate in the morning while lying in bed staring at the ceiling, at night by going for a walk, in the shower, while cleaning, while washing your car, while painting, while writing, while swimming, while relaxing in a hot tub (my personal favorite), while waiting in a doctor's office, etc. There are so many opportunities for us to take a mental break, focus on ourselves, and gain clarity of thought. During the meditation, do the following:

1) Allow all of those chatty voices to talk. You know the ones... all of those conversations that play over and over in your head. The conversations you dwell on such as 'Why did so-and-so say that? Why did I say that? Why did he do that? What does that mean? When will this or that happen?'

2) Once they have quieted down, enjoy the nothingness, the silence, the occasional random thought among the placid lake you are beginning to imagine. This, just like step 1, requires almost no effort on your part; allow it to happen naturally.

3) This is the best part - focus your attention on a result. It could be the way you want your day to turn out, the job you want to create, the relationship you want to create or heighten, the house you want to buy, etc. It can be a short term or long term goal. Rather than thinking about all the reasons you can't get there, just focus on being there... in that job, relationship, house, etc. This is very powerful. The subconscious mind does not have the ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy. If you imagine something often enough, your subconscious mind will see it as reality and find ways to create it in your life. If you focus on that house often, you will be amazed at how many little ways you find to make it happen in reality. Maybe you meet that real estate agent and start a conversation about your dream house; "coincidentally" they have that very house available to show you this afternoon. Perhaps, as happened to a friend of mine, you run into that book agent, mention your dream book, and he makes the appropriate calls to get you the book deal you envisioned. The trick is to convince yourself that it has already happened, then your mind becomes programmed to make it reality.

Believe in infinite possibility and you will be rewarded. Always focus on the result, not the process or obstacles, the RESULT. Basketball players focus on the basket and imagine the ball going through it. They don't focus on all the people running around trying to stop them. Bowlers focus on the "pocket," that spot between the front pin and one of the pins next to it. They don't focus on the ball. When working with members of the Dodgers baseball team, I have them focus on the homerun or the perfect pitch. Top sales people focus on the next "yes", not the 99 "no's" between now and then. When I work with an overweight client, I have them focus on being slender. Create a clear vision of the result and hold it steady in your mind. There is unlimited power in focus.

I hope you will use these suggestions to improve your life. I use them and they work quite well. When we allow those voices to settle down, focus on nothing, then slowly focus our thoughts on the future we want, stress has no place in our lives. We drain the power from the dragon, we put it to rest, then we appropriately focus that power where we want it - we focus it on the powerful future we are creating for ourselves, our loved ones, and our friends. When we gain control of our lives, we inspire others to do the same. Live as an example of human potential. Live in infinite possibility.

Author's Bio: 

Steve G. Jones, M.Ed. has been practicing hypnotherapy since the 1980s. He is the author of 14 books on Hypnotherapy. Steve is a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists, American Board of Hypnotherapy, president of the American Alliance of Hypnotists, on the board of directors of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Lung Association, and director of the Steve G. Jones School of Clinical Hypnotherapy.

Steve G. Jones, M.Ed. is a board certified Clinical Hypnotherapist. He has a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Florida (1994), a master's degree in education from Armstrong Atlantic State University (2007), and is currently working on a doctorate in education, Ed.D., at Georgia Southern University.