Stress hits us all differently. Some of us tend to bottle that stress up inside of us until it becomes challenging to breathe, and others tend to wear their emotions when they are under stress. Regardless of how you show your stress, I think we can all agree that sometimes, stress feels too difficult to manage.
Some stress is good. It can be motivating, exciting, it can help to improve our performance, and it is short-term. This type of stress is called eustress.
This isn’t the type of stress that I am talking about though. I am talking about distress, or the negative stress that you may feel. Distress is the type of stress that causes anxiety, feels incredibly unpleasant, decreases our performance, and can lead to both mental and physical problems.
Distress is the type of stress that you want to avoid as much as possible.
Many of us (myself included) don’t realize how quickly stress can add up. We pile on tasks one after another, and it isn’t until we take a step back and recollect on all that we have to do that we often think to ourselves, “Oh sh*t.”
As much as you try to chip away at the tasks that are stressing you out, more and more keep adding up until you feel completely stranded and hopeless.
Trust me, I get it. My life lately has been nothing but stress. From starting a new job, a change to my “normal morning routine,” maintaining relationships, and just all of the change in general, my life has been nothing but stress recently.
Now I know that I still have life incredibly good and don’t really have much to complain about, so I am going to save you the sob story today, and instead, I want to share with you some things that are helping me through this transition.
4 ways to calm down when you feel stressed and overwhelmed.
1. Take 20 deep breaths
I don’t really remember where I hear the tip that I am about to share with you, but I do know that it has worked for me. Whenever you feel stressed, find a quiet room to go into for just one minute. Once you get into a quiet room, close your eyes and take twenty big breaths. Focus on the air going into your body and the air going out.
There is something about taking twenty deep breaths that naturally helps the body to calm down. It slows the mind and it also helps the body to loosen up a bit and release some of the tension that you feel.
2. Take a short walk outside
When I get stressed, it can sometimes feel impossible to take a deep breath, especially if I don’t have time to take a quiet break. I will sit there, try to take a deep breath, but am stopped short due to the tension in my chest.
When this happens to me, one of the things that I like to do is go outside and walk around a little bit. There is just something about the fresh air that instantly helps to relieve some of that stress and tension that I am feeling. For some odd reason, this is especially true in the winter.
3. Write down what’s stressing you out
People may wonder why I am so passionate about writing, and while this isn’t the only reason, it is definitely one of the biggest. For me, writing my thoughts down helps me to destress and unwind. Whether it’s writing on a computer or just on a blank piece of paper, I have come to realize that keeping my thoughts locked away only adds more stress to my life.
So, instead of keeping them locked within my mind, I let them out as they come. There is something freeing and liberating about being able to release my thoughts as they come. It almost feels as if rocks are being lifted off of my shoulders.
Maybe you aren’t comfortable with sharing your thoughts though. Don’t worry, instead of writing your thoughts down, make a list of the things that are stressing you out. The point is, when you see your stressors written down in front of you instead of in your head, they become more bearable to manage and overcome. That’s what we are looking for!
4. Focus on one thing at a time.
Okay, so let me be real with you. This is a good tip, but it’s one that no matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to follow.
When I feel stressed and overwhelmed, odds are that it’s because I have tried to cram ten pounds of sh*t into a five-pound bag. I just have a natural tendency of wanting to get as much done as I possibly can.
With a mindset like this, you will understand how unbearable it can be. You already have plenty to keep you busy, your mind starts racing, and the tasks start piling up.
The best way to combat this feeling is to focus on one thing at a time. Like I said in the section above, make a list, write down the tasks that you want to accomplish, and focus on completing them one at a time from start to finish. It helps to ease and feelings of stress when you focus on one thing at a time instead of a magnitude of things.
Is life stressful? Well, it can be, but at the same time, it doesn’t need to be.
Life and everything that you do in it are truly up to you. You will get out of life what you make of it. More importantly, enjoy it! After this, that’s it, you will never get another opportunity to live.
So next time, use these 4 tips to help you calm down when you feel stressed and overwhelmed. If they don’t work for you, well at least you will know and can find some things that will work.
Yesterday’s post: What’s Your Reason For Not Living Your Life?