When it comes to stress alleviation, though, there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. What is effective for one individual may not be effective for another.
And what works for you at home may not work for you at work or in the community; for example, dancing in your living room may be beneficial, but dancing at the grocery store may not.
As a result, it's critical to keep a variety of stress-relieving tools on hand. Then you'll be able to choose the ideal plan for your current situation.
Certain practices can help you cope with stress and improve your overall health. Those who exercise or meditate on a regular basis, for example, are less worried when confronted with a challenging problem. As a result, it's critical to develop a lifestyle that will assist you in avoiding stress and dealing with obstacles in a healthy manner.
Allow Time for Recreational Activities
Recreational activities can be a great way to de-stress. Many people, on the other hand, believe that their lives are too busy for hobbies, games, or extra fun.
However, including leisure time in your schedule may be crucial to feeling your best. And because you'll perform better if you're feeling better, leisure time may help you work more efficiently. Hobbies and leisure are essential for living your best life, whether you enjoy gardening or making quilts.
Yoga is a form of exercise that blends body movements, meditation, light exercise, as well as controlled breathing to give effective stress alleviation. While a single yoga session is likely to provide instant advantages, incorporating yoga into your life on a regular basis is likely to provide long-term benefits. Yoga has numerous physical, psychological, and spiritual advantages. You may start by taking a class, enrolling in an online program, or using an app to help you get started.
Make exercise a top priority.
Physical activity is essential for stress management and mental health improvement. And the best part is that there are a variety of activities that might help you relax. Join a gym, take a class, or go for a walk. Bare in mind there are numerous strategies to increase your daily physical exercise. Walking, strength training, kayaking, camping, and spin class are just a handful of the stress-relieving activities available.
Obtain Social Assistance
The key to reduce stress and anxiety is having supporting individuals in your life. It's critical to obtain emotional support and encouragement if you don't already have them.
Seeking out to your existing network may be one way to do so. Perhaps confiding in a family member or a distant acquaintance would help you grow closer and provide the social support you require.
It's possible that you'll need to enlarge your network as well. If you don't have enough helpful people in your life, join an organization, attend a support group, or seek professional help.
Eliminate Stress-Inducing Activities
Cutting something out of your life can sometimes be the most effective method to alleviate stress. Get rid of the things that are causing you to be stressed so that you can feel more at ease.
Watching the news, being continuously connected to your digital devices, drinking alcohol, and eating too much coffee are just a few examples of activities that might cause you to become more stressed. Making a few tweaks to your everyday routine could go a long way toward making you feel better.
Instead of picking just one strategy, experts advise trying a few to find which one works best for you. Ideally, you should practice for at least 20 minutes per day, but even a few minutes can help.
However, the longer and more frequently you practice these relaxation techniques, the higher the advantages and the bigger the amount of stress you may minimize.
Had to share this article from Nick Wignall, it will really help you to reflect upon your emotions and the action to take to improve how you handle them.
Do you ever wish you could be more emotionally strong? Do you ever feel like your emotions are all over the place? Or like your moods ping-pong around erratically and unpredictably? Do you ever wish you could feel a little less at the mercy of external events—able to stay cool and keep your calm no matter what was happening? While there’s nothing wrong with feeling any emotion, some people seem to be able to control their emotional reactions better than others. Of course, there are many reasons for this—from genetics and upbringing to how much sleep you got last night. But for the most part, your ability to deal with difficult emotions well and stay emotionally strong comes down to habits and skills. With the right skills, you can learn to be more emotionally strong and calm in the face of stress and misfortune. What follows are 7 skills you can learn that will help you to become more emotionally strong.
1. Metacognition Metacognition means thinking about your thinking. More specifically, it’s the ability to be aware of and assess what’s going on in your own mind—thoughts, emotions, beliefs, moods, expectations, self-talk, etc. Most of the time our minds are on autopilot—stuff happens and we react: Your spouse gives you a nasty look, so you fire back with a nasty comment. Your boss sends a passive-aggressive email you don’t know how to respond to, so you distract yourself in Facebook. A painful old memory pops into your mind, and you end up lost in ruminations and regret. The more you ignore your own mind, the more your behaviors become reactions rather than choices.
And this leads to a lot of emotional volatility and stress: If your default self-talk is to catastrophize negative events and go straight to the worst-case scenario, you’re going to feel pretty anxious all the time. If your default response to criticism is to criticize back, you’re going to find yourself pretty frustrated and angry all the time. If your default interpretation of negative events is to criticize yourself and internalize things, you’re going to end up with a lot of shame and fake guilt. On the other hand, if you can learn to pause and observe what’s happening in your mind, you give yourself the opportunity to act intentionally and purposefully. Stop trying to control your emotions and learn to be curious about them instead.
2. Attention Shifting Most people spend their time thinking about whatever grabs their attention. Whether it’s doom scrolling social media or fantasizing about a new car, our minds are easily pulled from one thing to the next, often with very little deliberation on our part. Here’s the problem with letting your attention get pulled around like that: The contents of your thoughts determine the contents of your moods. Think about it: If you’re always worried about the future, you’re going to feel pretty anxious. If you’re always dwelling on past mistakes, you’re going to feel pretty ashamed. If you’re always ruminating on how you’ve been wronged, you’re going to feel pretty angry. If you want to change how emotional you feel, you’ve got to change what you spend your time thinking about. Unfortunately, this can be tough: When you’re caught in a worry spiral, it can be difficult to refocus your mind on your work. When you’re stuck ruminating on some slight against you, it’s hard to be present with the person sitting next to you. When you’re trapped in obsessing about how you feel, it’s hard to take action on the things you know will make you feel better. Ultimately, your ability to escape unhelpful thinking patterns and all the emotional chaos they produce depends on your ability to control your attention—to notice when you’re paying attention to something unhelpful, to redirect it somewhere else, and keep it somewhere else despite the temptation to get sucked back in. But here’s the thing: Your ability to control your attention is a muscle. And if you don’t exercise it, it will remain weak. This means your mood and emotions will be at the mercy of whatever comes to mind. If you want to control your moods and become emotionally strong, learn to control your attention. Mindfulness meditation is a great place to start doing just that.
3. Self-Compassion Self-compassion is a somewhat technical-sounding term for a very simple idea: When you’re struggling, treat yourself like you would treat a good friend. Most of us have this strange habit of beating ourselves up and being overly self-critical anytime we make a mistake. This is especially ironic since, at the same time, we’re usually incredibly compassionate and understanding when other people make mistakes! Unfortunately, most of us learned growing up that the “secret” to success and happiness in life is to be hard on yourself. Like the tough drill sergeant yelling at his new recruits, we mistakenly learn that being tough on ourselves prevents failures. Except that’s not really true… Most people succeed despite their self-judgment, not because of it. And in fact, most people could be both far more effective and far happier if they stopped beating themselves up for every failure or misstep. Because when you beat yourself up for making a mistake, you only add more painful emotion and stress onto the original frustration or sadness that goes along with making mistakes. Self-judgment only compounds difficult emotion and frequently leads to spirals of bad moods and painful feelings. If you want to avoid these spikes and spirals of painful emotion and become more emotionally strong instead, learn to practice self-compassion instead of self-judgment. If you make a mistake, remember something you’re ashamed of, or find yourself struggling in any way, try this: Instead of beating yourself up, treat yourself like you would treat a good friend who was struggling—with a little encouragement and compassion.
4. Emotional Tolerance Much of emotional strength involves learning better ways to respond to difficult emotions and moods so that they don’t explode out of control. But sometimes the difficult feelings are simply inevitable: No matter how self-compassionate you are, making mistakes still stings and will likely lead to some amount of guilt or shame. No matter self-aware you are of your painful emotions, they will still hurt when they show up unannounced. No matter how good you are at managing your attention, you will still get stuck in worry from time to time and that will lead to anxiety. In other words… You have to be able to get on with life despite feeling bad. Just like a runner needs to be able to keep running despite feeling tired if they want to finish the race, you need to be able to live your life despite feeling difficult emotions. Because really, what’s the alternative? You can’t wait to do important things with your life until you feel perfect. That’s a recipe for chronic procrastination and regret. But doing even small things when we feel bad emotionally is tough, no doubt about it. The trick is to build up your emotional tolerance. Back to our runner example… The only way runners are able to keep going for so long even though they’re tired and in pain is because they’ve built up their tolerance and strength. They started with running a couple miles until they got stronger, then worked up to 5 miles as they got stronger, then 10, and on and on. Well, emotional tolerance works the same way… You have to practice feeling bad if you want to become emotionally strong. So, the next time a difficult emotion hits you, instead of asking How can I not feel so bad? Ask yourself this: How can I use this as an opportunity to improve my emotional tolerance?
5. Cognitive Restructuring How we think determines how we feel emotionally. And a huge part of how we think comes down to self-talk—that running narrator in our head. This means that if you want to be more emotionally strong, learning to deal with your self-talk is key. Unfortunately, many of us grow up internalizing an extremely negative and pessimistic style of self-talk: The minute something bad happens, you catastrophize: “Oh my God, it’s all over now…” As soon as you make a mistake, you generalize it into a core character defect: “I’m such an idiot!” Whenever someone looks at you sideways, you interpret malice: “She’s always so judgmental!” The problem with this overly negative self-talk is that it creates self-fulfilling prophecies… When you’re constantly telling yourself how bad everything is, everything starts feeling pretty bad. The way out of this dilemma is to retrain your self-talk to be more realistic and accurate. And a powerful technique for doing this mental retraining is called Cognitive Restructuring. In short, it means learning to: Identify your negative self-talk and what triggers it. Observe the connection between how you think and how you feel. Generate alternative ways of interpreting what happens to you in more realistic terms. Paying attention to the emotional and behavioral benefits that go along with these alternative stories. If you’re interested in learning more about how to use cognitive restructuring to retrain negative self-talk, you can read this guide: Cognitive Restructuring: The Complete Guide to Changing Negative Thinking
6. Assertiveness Most people hear the term assertive and they think rude or pushy. But in reality, assertive communication isn’t rude or pushy at all. Assertiveness is the healthy middle ground between passive communication and aggressive communication: Aggressive communication means not respecting the wants and needs of other people (manipulation, for example). Passive communication is when you don’t respect your own wants and needs (being a “pushover.”) Assertive communication is when you honestly express your own wants and needs, but you do it in a way that’s respectful of others as well. Why does this matter for becoming more emotionally strong? Here’s the deal: When you habitually avoid external conflict, you end up creating internal conflict. This happens most often when people are overly passive in the way they communicate: You usually just “go with the flow” when there are group decisions to be made. You chronically hold back from voicing your opinions or ideas. You give in easily in order to avoid conflict. Here’s the problem with being so passive and overly accommodating of others: When you constantly give in to other people’s wishes—and ignore your own—you start to feel bad about yourself and your self-esteem drops. Your frustration and anxiety levels also tend to go up because you’re never getting your needs met. Finally, you end up resenting other people because they always get what they want and you never get what you want. Now think about it… If your self-esteem is low, you’re full of frustration and anxiety, and you’re resentful of your most important relationships, how effective are you going to be trying to manage more difficult emotions on top of all that? Yeah, not very. On the other hand, when you learn how to be assertive, your ability to be strong and balanced in the face of difficult emotions goes way up because your self-esteem and confidence are much higher. Learning to be more assertive is the single most underrated thing you can do to improve your emotional health: Assertiveness: The Complete Beginner’s Guide.
7. Values Clarification You can spend all the time in the world avoiding what you don’t want, but if you’re not sure where you’re going, how likely are you to get there? No, that’s not a brain teaser or a world problem… It’s just meant to get you thinking about a simple but frequently overlooked idea: Fundamentally, life is about moving toward the things you want, not running away from the things you don’t want. Consider this… It’s no little kid’s dream to grow up to become really good at managing their anxiety. It’s no little kid’s dream to become really good at anger management when they grow up. It’s no little kid’s dream to one day be an expert non-procrastinator. Little kids want to become astronauts and doctors and scientists and professional athletes! They want to do cool, awesome stuff! Of course, along the way, they’ll have to figure out how to be courageous in the face of fear or stick to a habit even when it’s hard. But these are secondary to the big picture: Going after the stuff they really want! Well, is this any different for us adults? As important as it is to learn the skills that will help you deal with difficult things like bad moods, fears, and low self-esteem, let’s not forget about the big picture… Ask yourself this question: If I had tons of confidence, never experienced a bad mood, and always felt motivated, what would I do?
What are the really good things in life that difficult moods and emotions are holding you back from? What are your goals, your dreams, your aspirations? What are your values—the things that matter most to you in life? Here’s one last way to think about this: Are you more likely to work through difficult moods and emotions when you have crystal clear goals and values you’re moving toward or when you’re just stumbling through life hoping to avoid much pain or discomfort? Obviously the first! So, take the time to get to know your values. Everything’s easier when you do.
Mindfulness is not the be all and end all of a self-reliant and fulfilled life. But it's the best tool out there to keep you grounded to the here and now.
Men often say what's on their minds, but not what is in their hearts. Many of us struggle with expressing compassion and empathy. And, that's why we have to work a little harder to become aware of the present moment. That doesn't mean we have to become touchy feely or become more vulnerable. Quite the opposite, in my opinion.
Unknowingly, many of us already integrate some type of mindfulness practice in our daily lives. Such as in the arena of sports, from martial arts, basketball to bodybuilding, we are encouraged to go into the zone. That moment when we flow effortlessly and achieve our best results.
What Mindfulness Is Not.
You might be worried that mindfulness is just too ‘out there’ for you. But despite its ties to Buddhism, you don’t need to be spiritual to practice mindfulness.
And you definitely don’t have to be travelling on some sort of spiritual journey towards enlightenment. Mindfulness is simply a concentration exercise. It’s focusing your mind on the present moment, without worrying about the future or the past.
There’s no right or wrong way to do things when it comes to mindfulness.
There’s absolutely no judgement involved.
Mindfulness is simply a case of experiencing life in the present moment. Another thing to note is that whilst mindfulness can be incredibly beneficial, it isn’t a quick fix for stress, anxiety or any other negative feeling.
You don’t always have to feel good when practicing mindfulness. It's simply being in the here and now. No matter what type of day you've had.
In fact, mindfulness helps you work through challenging emotions, so that you can find comfort in them.
We'll explore more next month, please save us to your 'favourites' and let's nail this.
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