Nothing creates more destruction to the mind and body than stress. With anxiety around what has happened, what is happening right now, and what will happen tomorrow.
In fact, the American Psychological Association (APA) recently reported that, “While numbers, prior to 2020, hovered around 30-35 percent of adults admitting extra stress due to societal stressors, the pandemic has made almost half of adults (48 percent) unsure about their stability.”
Commonly people are reporting the same stress effects: body tension, quick tempered, and unexpected mood swings.
With added pressure to adapt to a different lifestyle and thought process, many adults find themselves pulling back their emotions and reducing their interactions with others in fear of rejection or community ailments. Not only does this defeat the purpose of using your other attributes, but the extra tension will begin to affect your body and mind.
Let us look at the top ten stress management strategies that you can begin today to start feeling your best again:
1. Meditate Those Thoughts Away
Meditation is a form of focus on a certain action or verbiage. By mentally sorting through the moment that has caused dismay, gives your brain a chance to react on a more civil response as opposed to an emotional retort.
Find a quiet area to mindfully breath and unplug physically. If you experienced harsh words, focus on the words themselves, not the meaning. Remind yourself that this is not personal. Use these few minutes to work out the emotions and keep your focus on coming back to level mood.
2. Walk It Out
Exercising is a great tool to use when stressed. While there may not be time to hit the gym each day, a small walk around the neighborhood can help with de-stressing. With eternal sensors working with physical sensors, the brain does not have as much energy to keep up with stress and the task at hand.
Each time you do exercise, strive to do a little more each day. If walking around the block is helping your mind, but it is still racing, try a different route or walk around twice more. Use music to keep your enthusiasm going and drink water for hydration.
3. Control What You Can With A Daily Schedule
When things in your life seem uncontrollable or chaotic, check yourself. Are you changing your daily tasks to accommodate others more often or finding that the day is simply too short to complete chores? Write down what must be done. Make yourself accountable to any changes and the reasons why you deterred from any activities.
If you know there are certain errands such as grocery shopping or doctors’ visits, this will fall under a controlled task. Having a last-minute lunch with a co-worker is an un-controlled task. At the end of the day, check your schedule. Mark off any items that you completed and re-schedule the undone tasks for another day.
4. Do Not Forget Self-Care
In times of high stress, it is a natural reaction to put your own health on the back burner. Even though this may seem doable in short spurts, the effects it is having on the body and mind can last much longer creating poor habits.
Instead of reaching for the sweats and t-shirt, put on a favorite clothing item. If your hair needs a good trim, head to the local beautician for an updated look. Once a month, treat yourself to a pedicure or facial. By taking the time to care for your body, your mind is flooded with feel good endorphins instead of anxiety.
5. Write A Letter
While this simple act may seem like a waste of time, it has quite the opposite effect. By expressing your thoughts to the subject about how the moment affected your thought process and beliefs, you are placing those feelings into the letter instead of yourself.
If your co-worker was using certain language while engaging in conversation with you earlier in the day, instead of calling out their behavior in person, express why it bothered your day. Keep the words professional and non-threatening. Read through the letter when you are done. Now throw it away along with the negative emotions.
6. Crank Up The Music
After a long day at the office, you may not be in the mood for rock music but could be comforted by softer tunes. Pick music that brings happy memories and calming moments. Focus on the music as opposed to the lyrics. By having this minor distraction available, the body and mind have a chance to adapt.
If stress is disrupting your sleep patterns, turn on some white noise music. Think trickling water streams or forest sounds. Use deep breathing exercises to relax the body. Now lay down and enjoy the music.
7. Engage In A Hobby
While hobbies are often listed as outdoor activities, there are multiple indoor hobbies to engage in. From sewing to painting that can be done in short sessions. The idea is to pick a hobby that engages your senses and mind. Not only does this make your mind feel productive, but your body will feel more relaxed.
If anxiety keeps you from sitting too long, keep different crafts around the house. Keep crosswords or books nearby for quiet moments. Use more active hobbies during the day, like building bird houses.
8. Make Friends With Nature
A quick and easy way to destress is to go outside. It can be as adventurous as a hike in the mountains or as calming as sitting on your porch. By giving your internal senses something else to concentrate on, the anxiety and stress will settle down. This is also a great way to soak up needed Vitamin D.
Each day, step outside. If the week is too busy for a nature hike, grab the family and do an ice cream run. While walking to the store for your treat, stop to look at different trees and flowers. Focus on what is growing around you, instead of the brick wall of anxiety.
9. Seek Out Therapy
While stress is a normal reaction to life changes, it can lead to long-term effects. If you find that the anxiety is disrupting your daily schedule, try therapy. A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concluded, “19.2 percent of U.S. adults received any mental health treatment in the past 12 months.”
Use these sessions to work through the stress and how you can avoid them in the future. Practice what your counselor suggests and keep yourself on a mental schedule. Before you know it, the anxiety is quieted, and your mind can think more rationally as opposed to emotionally.
10. Keep Your Thoughts Positive
When going through stressful times, the mind struggles to find the pragmatic solution. Work through each negative emotion and find a positive action. By mentally repeating this constructive thought process, the stress around the moment is brought into a more positive light.
If your anxious about a job interview, remind yourself why you are the right fit for the position. “I am unsure about the programs, but I am ready to learn.” By advocating for your senses, this allows for less anxiety and more mindfulness.
Remind yourself that some stress can be healthy for your emotions. This not only keeps you alert to your surroundings but advocates for your feelings. As famed Lee Iacocca once claimed, “In times of great stress or adversity, its always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.”