Ever have one of those days (or weeks) where everything seems to pile up on you all at once? Like no matter how hard you try to keep everything balanced and stay in control, it all feels like it is going to come crashing down on you in one fell swoop? I have been there many times, and I know how it feels when your world seems to be hanging by a thread. Often times, it can feel like you are the only solitary person in the world who experiences this, which could lead to the ultimate self-pity party (…guilty!)
Next time you feel so stressed you don’t know what to do, here is a list of 5 tips that may help.
When I am physically agitated, the most important thing I must first do in order to begin the process of calming myself down is to just breathe slowly. When I am physically agitated from stress, I can feel as if I have the weight of a thousand bricks on my chest so the breathing may not be so natural in this moment. If I need to physically distance myself from other people then I will – because, YES, when I am so extremely stressed out that I am physically agitated, then sometimes even hearing another person breathe the wrong way will bother me. I will find myself a private space and just focus on the breathing (deep breath in through the nose, long breath out through the mouth) and slowing down my heart rate. Once I am not so physically stressed, I can then focus on also decreasing the mental stress.
#2- Do something relaxing.
For me, doing something relaxing is the follow-up after focusing on my breathing. This helps me mentally control my stress once I have physically calmed down. These activities will be different for everybody, but my relaxing releases include: lighting candles, taking a bath, drinking hot tea, meditating, or listening to music (choice of music is very important in this moment!).
#3- Do something to distract your thoughts.
Once I am both physically and mentally calmed down, I do something to distract myself. Sometimes I will read or watch a TV show/movie, because this helps provide me with a “feeling of escape.” Other times I will clean or organize my space, because it helps me feel less suffocated. Probably my most favorite distraction though is a nice long nap. I do not know why, but for me there is nothing like a nice long nap to help me avoid thinking about whatever is crippling me with stress at that moment.
#4- Do something to pump your endorphins.
Work out! Nothing pumps your endorphins better than a good work out. You will feel so much lighter and happier, even if only briefly, and you will be one step closer to conquering whatever stress is attempting to take over your peace of mind. Sure, this may not make whatever problem is causing your stress to begin with go away, but it can help you feel happy. And happy people smile. And smiling decreases stress. (Google it!)
#5- Talk to a friend.
Once you have gone through steps 1-4 on your own to calm down, you have given yourself both distance and the opportunity for a different perspective. During this time, you have distanced yourself from the physical/mental stressful feeling which in turn will allow you to have the opportunity to look at the original cause of your stress from a different perspective. An objective friend may be the perfect person to listen to your situation and help you see a new perspective.
I hope this little list helps you cope a little better the next time you find yourself dealing with stress.
Please remember, THIS TOO SHALL PASS!