Some days, you might feel like you just can’t keep up. No matter what kinds of obligations you face—whether it’s work, school, or relationships—it’s easy to feel stressed when you have too much on your plate. You aren’t alone: many individuals report loneliness, irritation and elevated stress levels as a result of their continuously busy lives.
Know that while stress is a normal physiological reaction to being overwhelmed, you do not need to suffer through it. There are many effective ways you can reduce your stress, a major one being mindfulness. It may sound simple, but mindfulness has a profound influence on how your body reacts to stress.
Here are some ways to practice mindfulness in your everyday life. The more you practice, the easier it’ll be to react constructively to stress instead of panicking. A Counseling Works therapist can help you adopt these mindful habits: reach out to us today.
A popular way to be mindful is to meditate. While you can meditate in any situation or location, you might want to pick a specific time of the day. Devote that time to meditation and block out any distractions. There are many ways to meditate. Some people find that mentally chanting positive affirmations helps, while others prefer concentrating on releasing tension in their muscles. There is no right or wrong way to meditate as long as you find your attention turning away from your racing thoughts. Aiming for around 10 minutes a day is a great start.
Breathing techniques are particularly effective at pausing an overactive fight or flight response. Remember that anxiety and stress have a physical component. Try square breathing, where you’ll inhale, hold your breath, and exhale for 4 seconds each. Or, tense and release each individual body part, starting at your head and ending at your toes. As you do so, you should notice that your mind becomes planted into the moment.
Research suggests that spending 30 minutes outside a day is a major mood booster. When you go outside, pay attention to the sensations around you. Name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell, and finish with 1 positive thing you can tell yourself. Outdoors is a particularly excellent place to try this because there are many wonderful stimuli in nature. Not to mention that walking provides additional stress-relieving benefits!
When your life is busy, you likely feel as though you must rush through your meal. Not only is scarfing down food a bad habit for your digestive system, but you also miss an opportunity to relax. Here’s what you can try: choose a meal where you will not need to socialize. As you eat, pay attention to the food’s aroma, taste and texture. Once the meal is over, think about how you are grateful for the food and the ways it will energize your body.
When Self-Help Isn’t Enough
These techniques are often very successful, and many individuals report significantly lower stress and increased energy and happiness. However, some people may need a bit of extra help: there is nothing wrong with that! When you find yourself constantly on edge despite trying mindfulness exercises, you may benefit from receiving therapy.
At Counseling Works, we have therapists that specialize in stress management training and anxiety counseling. We encourage you to take this next step by contacting our office today. We will schedule an intake appointment and help you build the anxiety management skills you need.