Dear Leah Renee,
I get stressed (who doesn’t?), but I wanted to know if you have some ways you personally deal with and manage stress when it arises? Thanks. ~ Becky, UT
Sometimes I just want to scream. Sounds like I’m not alone. I think that’s pretty normal–we can’t be 100% or on our A-game all the time. We have a few options when it comes to managing stress. We can focus on it and get more stressed, we can punch the wall (ouch! and expensive if it works), scream (actually good temporarily–just go someplace soundproof), take it out on someone else (now they have to go through the same thing and probably won’t like you as much), or deal with it in a constructive manner and get some relief.
- 4-7-8. No, I’m not counting and thank goodness because that’s not in order. Those numbers represent seconds. The first are the seconds you take to breath air in. The seven represents the number of seconds you hold that air, and eight is the amount of time (again, in seconds) that you spend releasing, or breathing that air out. This formulated breathing technique is such a lifesaver. It triggers a relaxation response. Do it three times. More on that here.
- Affirming words. When I get super stressed, my mind just feels like a mess. Sometimes too much to even form a proper sentence– which is why this technique works. All you need are some random uplifting, positive words. Ones that work for me are: happy, love, supportive, friendly, peaceful, beautiful, tranquil–and they pretty much go on repeat. It’s pretty tough to have other thoughts when you’re already consumed with something else. This is a good way to get consumed because it will have a positive effect on your emotions.
- Get out and move. No, not as in leave your home and re-locate. I’m talking about either getting to the gym and releasing your built up stressful energy by exerting it, or getting into nature and essentially doing the same thing (exerting energy), but outside. A brisk walk will do. Whatever will help move the energy out which will free up space in your mind. Fresh air. Greenery. These things are proven to help put us at greater ease. Taking a little time for yourself can also help, more about that here.
- Gratitude. Have you ever really thought about why your stressed? Is it because of traffic? At least you have a job. And a car. Or a friend who has a car. More often than not the very thing we’re stressing over we’re actually really lucky to have in the first place. That does not mean we’re not going to stress over it or we shouldn’t–but it helps in moments of frustration to check ourselves and just remember where we’re at. I also think of health. When we’re healthy we can at least have the energy to tackle issues that we have and go on enjoying ourselves. All else goes out the window when we have the flu and then it seems like nothing else matters but that. Being grateful and flipping our perspective can really help in those stressful times.
- Helping someone out. Sometimes just being a good friend or listener to someone else can help ease our own mind. When we help others is brings us a sense of satisfaction and peace. I don’t mean the second you get stressed go find someone with a problem. I mean if you have something on-going and are in your own head all the time, step out of it and give yourself to somebody else. It will make a difference for both of you.
These are some of the ways I manage my own stress levels, I hope they help you like they help me! I’d love to know, what are some of the ways you de-stress?