Stress isn’t one to always hit when it’s convenient, and most of the time—it isn’t. We’re usually in the middle of, on the way to, or processing something. AKA, we need to allocate our attention elsewhere, and stress is that tapping sensation on our should telling us: worry, suffer. This is where stress relief is our lifeline for moving forward.
Stress is not just a condition of the mind either, or voluntary at that. There are countless ways that stress affects the body, and therefore calls for being dealt with immediately in certain situations.
So, what do we tell stress? To back off. How do we do it? By getting calm and collecting ourselves with a little thing called strategy. Next time you can feel the sensation crawling up your neck, give these quick and easy strategies a try.
1. Practice Active Meditation
Before you roll your eyes and insist you don’t have the time to Zen out any time anywhere, give active meditation a thought.
It doesn’t require you to roll out your mat or create an ambiance. The idea is quite literally to meditate while doing something else. It’s the connection of your mind and body while doing some other activity that keeps you engaged. It’s perfect for those who have trouble sitting still and those who don’t have the luxury to.
2. Affirm Yourself
It might not seem like it can make a big difference, but talking to yourself in a certain way can make a reset button appear just when you thought you needed to jump ship.
Ever have the sensation of looking for a pep talk and choosing someone in hopes that they will have the perfect words, only to feel they fell short and you’re back where you started or maybe worse? Be your spokesperson by reminding yourself of what you’re in control of, and letting go of what you aren’t.
3. Get Some Water
The simple act of taking a sip of water can help in stressful situations. Staying hydrated helps to lower levels of hormones that are released when you are feeling stressed. It also applies a similar concept to active meditation, forcing you to calm down by shifting your focus elsewhere.
We tend to be somewhat alert to what we’re doing when drinking water as to avoid not spilling or drinking too much, and it physically requires a reset in a breath. These combined elements make water a quick way to destress.
4. Try Essential Oils
If you’re not already privy to the power of essential oils, you’re missing out. We’re not talking, grabbing a diffuser, and going to town with your favorite meditation playlist. However, if you have the time, that would probably be ideal.
Instead, consider grabbing an essential oil that works for stress like eucalyptus, lavender, or lemongrass, and dabbing a small amount on your hands or wrists, rubbing it together, and inhaling deeply. If you just mentally went there in your mind, imagine how taking a second to practice it in stressful moments can help.
5. Start Journaling
This is kind of like talking to yourself, part two. It’s using your self-talk differently, but you’re still sourcing the therapeutic energy from yourself. When stressed, take a moment to record it. Write it down on paper, on your digital notepad, take a quick video, or leave yourself a voice memo.
That moment that you spend putting what is only for yourself into words will allow you to do so free of sugar-coating, and you’ll have an easier time understanding what’s stressing you out. You might be surprised how much lack of identification of the stressor can stress you further. An added plus, once you release it, you might find its power over you decreases. The act of journaling alone can help you to expose patterns that may not otherwise be so obvious, which will help you to confront the issues at hand better.
6. Remember to Breathe
We know we don’t need to tell you to breathe, but we might still nudge you on how, or at least, how it can help. Breathing for most is automatic, but conscious and strategic breathing is not as common. Try any of these breathing techniques that can help to settle your brain and transmit signals that everything is okay. It’s in science.
Stress is annoying, and dealing with it can be problematic. As mentioned, it’s not always in our control, but how we choose to handle it once it shows up is our choice 100% of the time.