Unfortunately, some people unconsciously thrive on anxiety; they identify themselves as “wired” or “high energy.” But that stress takes a harsh toll on your body. Once you get sick, or too tired, or just plain ole sick and tired, it becomes clear that it’s time to make healthier emotional choices.
There are commonly recognized and suggested ways to reduce stress that we’ve all read ad nauseam. Have we practiced them? Maybe once, twice, or not really. I know I’ve thought, “Wow, that sounds amazing!”
Putting into action what can likely help us achieve some peace and calm isn’t as easy as it sounds. Doing it may be simple, but the mental commitment and action creates even more stress. OK, so here are few suggestions that will make using coping skills more fun.
1. Daydream Sensually:
Forget about clearing your mind as you might in a form of mediation. Instead, distract your mind from stressful thoughts and exchange them for titillating or pleasant ones. Kids daydream all the time—without judging their own thoughts.
Try thinking about a vacation you wish for without your negative brain saying, “You can’t afford that.” Just mentally place yourself there and enjoy it! Why not recall a sensual experience that made you feel good all over. No one around will know what you’re thinking!
2. Deep Sleep-Breaths:
Generally, when we’re stressed, our breathing becomes more rapid and shallow. Take note of your breathing pattern; if you seem on the verge of hyperventilation, try this technique. Close your eyes, and imagine you are allowed to fall into a beautiful slumber in a garden, the ocean, or under a tree.
Choose your preferred peaceful setting in your mind and take deep long breaths and visualize yourself taking a sweet, restful nap. If you actually doze off, hey, that’s better than having a panic attack, right? Plus, you’ll awaken much calmer.
3. Be a Big Baby:
Don’t be afraid to let someone else take care of you. So much of our stress is derived from being responsible for others. Go get a pedicure or let your hubby or kids scrub your feet and paint your nails.
Take charge of the remote and watch something mindless while drinking hot cocoa. On an old episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” the wife would wait for everyone to leave the house, she’d draw the curtains, sit in the living room, and have a big cry.
Neighbors and relatives were suspicious of what she was doing, holed up in the house alone. Turned out, she was just releasing stress. Sometimes you’ve got to let it all out in order to move forward merrily.
4. Pat Yourself on the Funny Bone:
We’re so used to criticizing ourselves. It’s important, however, to acknowledge our self-worth. Finding ways to congratulate yourself can be fun! Make a list of your accomplishments (without resentment) and post them on the fridge for a day or a week.
Literally pat yourself on the back and say, “I’m a good person/mom/wife/friend… whatever it is you are good at.” Keep patting and talking aloud and you’ll soon find yourself laughing , and your stress will start melting away.
Additional tips to keep anxiety at a minimum are: avoid social media. Don’t post your freak-outs. All that does is exacerbate your obsession with the negativity. Chatting with a good friend will be more helpful than getting 72 “likes” on Facebook. Take “alone” time where you can be anonymous—take a walk somewhere where you won’t be likely to run into anyone you know.
And finally, if possible, grab a “spiritual” retreat. Even if it’s a long day or an overnight, try surrounding yourself with peace. Fresh air, beauty, pampering, good food, low-impact exercise, no alcohol—just allow your mind and body to gravitate towards calm and positivity. Hakuna Matata!