Life has a way of wearing us down. Whether it’s the stresses of a busy schedule, the difficulty of our jobs or the frustrations associated with whatever personal life one has, our lives have a natural ability to take a little excitement, a little positivity, a little joy, a little faith or a little peace away from us, one day at a time. My favorite phrase regarding this is, “It feels like I’m getting nibbled to death by ducks.”

The reality is that life is hard sometimes and over time. Even if you love every aspect of your life, it’s still hard. And unless you have a natural ability to shake off life’s frustrations and challenges, you have to find ways to recharge, re-energize and refocus on what’s important to you and why. If you don’t, then you will most certainly burn out, let your key relationships deteriorate, gain unwanted weight, battle depression or lose sight of your purpose and goals, just to name a few.

In the fast-paced world we live in, we all-too-often find ourselves pushing the limits of our sanity. We’ve left no margin for error…and in many cases, no margin for who and what is important to us. We’ve scheduled ourselves to the minute, without making any allowance for problems, traffic, long winded people and who knows what else. And the minute something goes wrong, our whole day is shot, our stress level goes up and we end up punishing others for a problem we either created or allowed in the first place. You can only go so long trying to put 10 pounds of poop into a 5 pound bag before it breaks.

If lots of little things add up to a big disaster, then it would stand to reason that lots of little things can not only avoid disaster, but also help you stay in a constant state of control, happiness and peace. So, consider the following 11 things as opportunities to improve in the “little things” department:

  1. Diet and Exercise. If you are eating poorly and lacking exercise, you are missing two of the easiest ways to reduce stress and increase stamina and happiness in your life. Go to the gym, do yoga, pilates. Get a trainer. I’ve lost 40 pounds over three years by changing the way I eat, working with a trainer for two hours a week and doing some kind of cardio a couple of times a week. Believe me…if I can do this, anyone can.
  2. Do something you love doing as often as you can. It could be a walk, reflecting, writing, playing a sport, meditating, etc.
  3. Speaking of meditating, my wife and I took a course several years ago that certified us in Transcendental Meditation, or “TM.” It taught us how to be still and quiet, while shutting out the noise of the world for 20 minutes, two times a day. While we sometimes miss days, this has been a constant source of peace and energy for us both and helped us both get through some pretty tough times without a scratch.
  4. Weed out the bad/negative people in your life. People come into our lives for a season or a reason, and we tend to keep some people in our daily lives long after their season has ended. Nothing sucks your energy more than people with less or lower energy than you have yourself. Are you surrounded by people who constantly complain, play the victim, tell you all of their problems and/or gossip about others? Why? Get rid of them or distance yourself from them. The sooner, the better.
  5. Read great books. If your life in 5 years will be a reflection of your key relationships and the books you read, then you should choose who to be with and what you read wisely.
  6. Expand your circle of close friends and influencers. Seek out new relationships that give you energy. Start looking for people who are smart, accomplished, happy and comfortable with themselves.
  7. Simplify. Look for the places where you are lacking efficiency and simplicity. What are you doing that you shouldn’t be doing? What aren’t you doing that you should? What are you doing in 10 steps that you could do in 2?
  8. Improve your surroundings. Look around you. What do you see? Do you like your surroundings? Are they pretty? Do they inspire you? Do they bring you peace? If you don’t like the look of your home, your office or anywhere you spend time that could add peace and inspiration to you, you might want to change it.
  9. Take time off as often as you can. Plan it. Schedule it. Do it. If you can create a habit around this, you will be amazed at the force field you put between stress and you.
  10. Re-engage with your faith. If you’ve wandered away from God, there’s a certain peace that only comes from being in alignment, spiritually, and you should find a church/religion that meets you where you are and allows you to grow from there.
  11. If you know who is most important to you and what tasks are most important, then give those people and tasks your best energy and attention. When your priorities are your priorities, you will be surprised at what they give you in return.

Two years ago, Jeri and I met Laura Morton. It was something I think of as “Godshine.” The way we met was unmistakably divine. Laura has a mantra that we bought into quickly, and by asking it before almost every stressful event that followed, it lead us to an amazing place of happiness, peace and love, without being affected by any negative forces that were working against us. Laura’s mantra is, “What price peace?” What’s YOUR peace worth to you? What would you give up to have it? What would you pay to have it? What are you willing to do to have it? WHAT PRICE PEACE? Take it as your own mantra after reading this. I hope you find it as simplifying, clarifying, freeing and inspiring as we have.

Stop being nibbled to death by ducks. Get off your heels and take the offensive when it comes to your own peace, happiness, love and success. You know you’re worth it.