Using Life Structures for Stress Relief

How a Little Structure Can Relieve Stress In Your Life

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Many life structures involve enlisting the support of a group. BJI / Blue Jean Images/ Getty Images

Definition: When life coaches talk about "structures," we're generally referring to the systems in our lives that streamline a task or process. Classes, routines, protocols—they're all types of life structures that help us get things done.

Have a game night with a group of friends, and it's a fun evening; make a plan to get together for games once a month and decide who brings games, food, and drinks, and you've created a life structure that allows you to have this fun on a regular basis.

Life structures work for maintaining a balanced life because once you've put the work into creating a structure around an activity that's important to you, it becomes much easier to maintain this activity in your life.

Exercise classes are life structures that help maintain wellness, hiring a weekly housekeeper is a life structure that can eliminate mess, and a weekly menu plan is a life structure that can help you maintain a healthy diet. Even the act of keeping a gym bag in your car can be a life structure that streamlines your ability to fit regular workouts into your schedule.

Life structures can cut down on the stress of life by helping us to more easily maintain positive habits.  This is important, because habits are what drive many of the activities in our lives, whether we realize it or not.  If you get into the habit of checking social media when you wake up, for example, you might get sucked into half an hour of time spent on activities that will be relatively forgotten later--a time suck.

But if you get into the habit of working out when you wake up (morning walk, anyone?), it's easy to spend that same 30 minutes on exercise, which can build resilience toward stress and give you energy to make the most of your day.  Similarly, deciding to spend your time this way on any given day can bring benefits for sure, but building it into a habit can bring you the long-term benefits without as much energy required for motivation--you'll become healthier and more resilient toward stress without having to push yourself as much, because this habit will feel automatic.

See this article for more on using life structures to cut down on life's stressors.

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