Five Stress Busting Tips At Your Fingertips
Stress is a part of everyday life, but how we manage stress is our choice. It’s easy to worry, feel overwhelmed and powerfulness over situations. When stress peaks, use of (or all) of the techniques below to find focus and think more clearly. Best of all, these stress busting resources are at your fingertips in any scenario.
1. People who get you.
Whether it’s a friend of many years, someone you recently met, someone you love or someone you work with, connect with someone with whom you resonate.
I know this may seem like straight-forward advice, but reflect on a time when you felt heard and how much better you felt sharing your thoughts or frustrations about a situation with someone who understood. It’s common to self-isolate when feeling troubled or anxious, but connecting with people you trust will help you vent, and possibly provide new insights too.
2. Sit on it/sleep on it.
I read an article the other day which offered advice on decision-making. The overall gist was this: If you’re hungry, tired, hurried or stressed, don’t make decisions until you are in a better state of balance physically, emotionally and psychologically.
If you’re pressed to make a big decision, but you’re hungry and hypoglycemic (have low blood sugar), eat. If you’re feeling stressed and hurried, stop what you’re doing and breathe until you feel your body relax and your mind slowdown. When decisions are important, it’s important to be in the right state of mind to make them.
If you’re not ready because you’re overwhelmed or running on low, tell your colleagues, friends and family you’d like to have some time before making a decision and then do what you need to do (eat, hydrate, breathe, walk) in order think more clearly.
3. Get physical.
I know this one is tough, especially if feelings of depression, fatigue and/or worry are taxing you, but exercise helps combat depression by releasing endorphins (a fancy word for feel-good brain chemicals that boost mood).
When our mood is low we want to do nothing and we convince ourselves inactivity is exactly what we need. However, small amounts of exercise (aim for 20 minutes a day) are beneficial to our physical, mental and emotional health. Take a walk if an activity like biking, swimming or running is too intense. Indoor facilities like gyms or malls or even your own treadmill at home offer safe indoor walking environments when the weather is too hot or too cold.
Exercise is good for your physical body as well as your psychological health, so if you’re cheating one system remember you’re cheating the other one too.
4. Focus on the positive.
Every situation holds something positive.
If a particular situation is causing stress, invest your mental energy into identifying one positive event, lesson or outcome within that particular situation. Conversely, if your entire day felt like a bust, as you’re winding down from the events of the day ask yourself, “what’s something I learned today.”
Remember, your positive event/lesson for the day doesn’t have to be something Earth-shattering. The goal here is to help your brain break out of negative thought-cycling and shift to a place of positivity.
5. A positive affirmation.
This last technique is my favorite tip. It’s one I exercise time and time again with clients and I have yet to find someone it didn’t resonate with.
The next time you’re faced with a challenging situation, use this affirmation (a positive statement) to cope.
“I am doing the best I can with the resources I have.”
Several years ago I worked with a woman who at the time was a single mom of two children. She had limited social support, worked a high-stress job and was going through breast cancer treatment. Our sessions focused on the stress of her diagnosis, which was compounded by her multiple responsibilities outside of treatment.
While working with her, the affirmation above popped into my mind and I felt compelled to suggest to her that perhaps she was doing the best she could with the resources (emotional strength, fortitude, finances, time) she had. As I said the words, she sat and contemplated. Next her face lit up and she said, “You know what, you’re right!”
Watching her face transition to a smile and body posture shift from slumped to upright, I knew this statement resonated with her. Weeks later, it occurred to me this affirmation could be applied to multiple clients who, in their own way, felt depleted, overwhelmed, fatigued and stressed. Since then, it’s become a go-to tool in my therapeutic toolbox, and now I’m sharing it with you.
Remember, the next time you’re feeling stressed, use one of the techniques above to slow down, reflect and refocus. If you’re open to additional stress management techniques, schedule an appointment with me today.