Stress management

Mindletic

5 min read

Each of us experiences stress differently - that usually happens when a situation causes negative experiences. Every stressful situation reminds us that the world is not predictable, unforeseen, and uncontrollable. Things can throw us off balance, regardless no matter how strong we feel. But not all stressful events are unpleasant: Getting married, falling in love, unexpected success, or a holiday.

Many scientific sources distinguish between constructive stress (eustress) and destructive stress (distress). Constructive stress has a positive impact on people's lives: it gives people the drive and strength to develop new ideas, whereas long-term or frequently recurring destructive stress is debilitating to the human body and often leads to emotional and physiological disorders, making it the cause of physiological and psychological disorders.

Often, we don't feel the stress directly, but rather suffer its consequences. Stress itself is often quite invisible, like a hidden "scab" that constantly irritates the mind, emotions, and moods. It prevents us from taking a step back and relaxing, making it difficult to concentrate while causing insomnia and headaches. The "invisible" stress often leads to relationship breakdowns, stagnation of self-fulfillment, and a deterioration in overall quality of life.

Stress affects four crucial areas: body, mind, emotions, and behavior. Different ways of stress management techniques help to calm down, analyze the situation more effectively, and produce endorphins (the happiness hormones!). Some of us have developed a number of effective ways to manage stress, while others are still developing them. We advise you to start practicing stress management techniques right away, even if everything seems right at the moment - you may never know when you will need it, but it will be easier to use some of the methods when you come across an unexpected stressful situation.

Mind 

.Learn to say “no” when you need to. The most important thing is that you are true to yourself and allow yourself to be so with other people.  

.Try to see a stressful situation as a challenge. Stressed people find it difficult to make decisions because they consider all the negative consequences. Stress-avoidant people, on the other hand, are more willing to try a modern solution to a problem, even if it has negative consequences. They are more flexible since they do not get stuck in a vicious circle of negative thoughts and are more willing to take action.  

.Remind yourself that there is no such thing as perfect people and we all make mistakes. When you are overwhelmed with work and responsibilities, you have to realize that you won't be able to do everything on time. Focus on the moment - that way you decide what are the most important tasks you can engage in at the moment. The rest can wait! 

Behavior 

.Make some tea or coffee. Focus on each step as you make it: how does the tea leaves or grounded coffee beans smell like when you put them in the cup or teapot? How does the color change when you brew it? Watch the curling-up steam and feel the warmth of the cup with your hands. Drink slowly and focus on the taste, while freeing yourself from distractions.

.Take small breaks (5-10 minutes per hour). Attention span tends to drop every 90 minutes - the brain gets tired and the ability to focus weakens. It is best to replace mental activity with physical activity, and vice versa.

.Ask others for help when you need it. While it is beneficial to learn how to do things yourself, asking a friend or a colleague to help you out creates a better bond and a sense of cooperation.

Body

.Exercise or do some stretching exercises. Pay attention to how your body feels with each movement, how it feels when your hands or feet touch the floor or move through the air. Movement triggers the release of biochemicals in the body, which help the body fight and overcome stress.

.Reduce tension in the muscles. Mentally scan your body from head to toes and note which parts of your body are tense. Send some thoughts to the tense areas: "The danger is not present, I am calm, I am relaxing and calming down".

. Put your hands under a stream of water or immerse them in water. Focus on the temperature of the water and how your fingertips, palms, upper arms, and wrists feel. Does the running water feel the same in all places? Try holding an ice cube in your hand. How does it feel just to hold it in your hand? How long does it take for it to start melting? How do your senses change then?

Emotions

.Don't try to push your feelings away. Rather, acknowledge the emotion you have experienced and mark it in your emotion diary. This can help you make a connection between your current mood, the situation you are in and the thoughts you are currently struggling with.

.Get in touch with family members or friends who are supportive and can listen to you.

.Remember a song, a poem, a passage from a book, or just a longer quote that you know by heart. Repeat it out loud or, if you can't, in your mind. As you repeat the quote(s), focus on the words and the tone you are using.

EXERCISES

#1 // Plan your next holiday

Planning something enjoyable helps us fight stress by giving us hope. Think about where and when you are planning to go, who you will go with, and what you will do. Plan as much detail as possible: what clothes will you take, how will you travel, which means of transport would be best, what have you wanted to see or visit for a long time. If you’re still in quarantine, check this out - Google Maps offers an extraordinary opportunity to do by visiting cities digitally. Start things off with the five cities listed by Lonely Planet!

#2 // Joyful beats

Create a playlist of songs that make you happy; whether it's on Spotify, YouTube or iTunes. Songs that make you happy will lift your mood while helping you ease off the tension. And if you're on your own, don't be afraid to get up and dance for a few minutes.

#3 // Keep your phone out of bed

When you go to bed, try leaving your phone in the other room to get away from all the news. This will help you avoid the feeling of alertness when faced with messages that make you want to respond immediately. Let yourself rest.

#4 // Embrace stress

When you change the way you think about stress, you can change the way your body reacts to it. Here's an amazing lecture about this.

#5 // Keep your favorite scent close to you

Do you have a favorite scent? Or maybe even several? It could be the smell of tea, spices, perfume, soap, a scented candle, or whatever you like to smell. Keep it with you - in your handbag, in your pocket, office, and/or home, so you can reach for it with ease. Inhale the scent slowly and deeply and try to name its characteristics (fresh, spicy, light, sweet, etc.). The favorite smell will remind you of good emotions.

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