20 July 2022
Stress seems everywhere. From how am I going to pay for another tank of gas, to what to wear to an event, to are my kids happy. Work demands increase and personal obligations are adding pressure. Here are some techniques to try to keep your emotions as even as possible and keep things running smoothly.
Stress can ripple through your mind and body. Controlling thoughts and emotions can be a key factor toward getting a handle on all of the things going on in your life.
Stop feeling that you need to keep going or it won’t get done. What actually happens is that as you tire, your brain doesn’t function as well and you are taking longer to accomplish your task. Take regular breaks, and even irregular ones if you can. To function well, it is recommended that you take a 15 or 20 minute break every hour to hour and a half. It will help re-motivate you and allow you to be more creative as well as improve memory. If you can’t take that long, start with 5 minutes to move around.
During this time, just try to be mindful. Use your senses to smell the coffee or see the colors outside the window. Chew gum and note the flavor and texture; the chewing motion is also felt to have some relaxation effect. Feel the smoothness of the pane of glass. Try to refresh your mind. Tell yourself an inside joke. Find one positive thought and offer it up to the universe.
Many people find writing things down as a way to organize thoughts and how they are affecting actions. This often leads to healthy solutions. Set a timer for only 5 or 10 minutes; pick up a pen and paper and write. Don’t worry about spelling or punctuation. It doesn’t even need to be full sentences; words and phrases work just as well. If all you wrote was about the bad or disturbing situations, that’s okay too. When the timer goes ding, stop. Tear or shred the paper to let go of as many of those negative feelings as possible.
Reframing is the term used for looking at the same situation from a different angle (hopefully more positively), finding any long-term benefits, and how you can learn or benefit from the situation. It needs to be based in reality but can sometimes offer relief.
Inhale slowly and deeply through the nose and exhale the same way. This is great because you can do it any time anywhere. This can reduce the adrenaline that is building due to the stress. One option is to slowly breathe in for a count of 4; hold it for a count of 8; slowly breathe out for a count of 7.
Massage therapy releases dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, all feel-good hormones. It also eases tight muscles. Accupressure is a form of massage. Try gentle pressure to the inner wrist or between the index finger and thumb and see if that helps at all. It may take a few tries. At home use a tennis ball to roll under your foot for a self foot rub. WebMD has more suggestions at: https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/features/massage-therapy-stress-relief-much-more#2
Of course, there is the ever present eat nutritiously and get physical exercise; find ways to be creative in hobbies or interests, and get sufficient rest.
If you feel that you, or a loved one, needs more help, there are a number of ways to find therapy to get through the tough times.