Stress. It’s an inevitable part of life, and sometimes, it’s more prominent than others. While we can’t rid stress from our lives completely, we can take actions to minimize it and cope with it effectively.
Today, I wanted to share some of my favorite ways of dealing with stress. These can be used no matter where you’re at or what’s happening around you.
1. Focus on breathing. There we go again, talking about breathing. I promise you that just one- or two-minute breaks can help slow down your stress. A breathing technique that works great is belly breathing. Here’s how to do it:
- Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position.
- Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move.
- Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go in, and use it to push all the air out.
- Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath.
- Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.
2. Step outside. Regardless of where you are at when you use this technique, get outside. Look around. Feel the fresh air on your face. Feel the sun on your skin. Take off your shoes and feel the grass (or asphalt) on your feet. Hug a tree. I mean, really hug a tree. Feel the energy. A change of scenery can help distract your mind from the stressor and help you feel reconnected to nature and the world around you.
3. Tap into gratitude. Mentally step away from the situation you are in, and take a few minutes to feel gratitude, even if it’s for something small. Gratitude can remind us of all the good and replace the negative feelings with positive ones. This is something you may want to do several times a day, whenever your mind needs a little pick me up.
4. Remember, the stress or negative emotion you’re feeling is temporary. It’s okay to have a bad day. It’s okay to feel down. Accept the feeling, acknowledge it, and let it go with the understanding that in an hour, day or week it will not be present in your life anymore. Looking at things from this perspective can bring us peace through knowing that the feeling is not permanent.
5. Get to writing. Journaling is a great way to reduce stress. It provides you a place to let it all out without any judgment or somebody trying to talk back or fix the issue. You don’t need a formal journal, but I recommend one. If you’d like one, call me. Or, just grab a piece of paper and a pen and write. What you write won’t ever be seen by anyone, so perfect grammar isn’t necessary; just write and get it out of your system.
Life is good. – Jeff
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