Overcoming the stress in your life starts with noticing what your stressors are and working to reduce them, but you can’t prevent every situation that could potentially cause you stress. This is your body’s natural response, which leads to a fight or flight response. You still need to get out there and live your life, so it is more a matter of how you react to stressful situations when they arrive.
Keep reading to learn how you can remain more calm and relaxed even when incredibly stressful things are happening around you.
Stop Your Body and Thoughts
When a stressful situation hits you, you have the opportunity to choose how you are going to handle it. How you think, feel, and even how your body reacts is all up to you. If you react in the negative and immediately, it is going to increase your stress hormone, and make you feel a lot worse and much more overwhelmed.
Instead of reacting instantly, just take a step back. Freeze your body and your mind, and just let your thoughts calm down. Don’t try to reason through it, don’t think about the potential future or make assumptions, and don’t start letting all those regrets run through your head.
Just get into a calm place, whether you freeze your body, or try to meditate or use mindfulness practices. This can help you to get back to neutral, where you are able to think logically with whatever the stressful situations is.
Being positive has a wonderful impact on your mind and emotional health, as well as helping you to handle stress. Being positive doesn’t mean constant sunshine and rainbows. You can understand that life isn’t always perfect, accept your flaws, and move past them. You even understand that stress is a normal part of life since unexpected things happen all the time.
However, instead of letting the stress affect you mentally and physically to an extreme level, you can remain calm by remaining positive. Just try to think of some type of positive element, whether you go through a list of pros and cons, or you simply try to find the one thing that could be good about the stressful situation. Trust me, there is at least one.
Stop With the Assumptions and What If’s Questions
Stop asking what if, and making assumptions every time anything happens. This is going to lead to a lot of anxiety and stress, that otherwise might not have been that bad. If you feel that you have constant stress all day, every day, ask yourself where it comes from. Is it from things constantly happening around you, or is the way you perceive things?
Write down in your journal the next time you experience a stressful situation what actually happened. Not what could have happened or what you feared would happen, but the actual situation you dealt with. More often than not, your fears and what if scenarios were far worse than the reality.
When a stressful situation happens, the best thing you can do is just stand back, remain present, and be realistic with what has already happened. Don’t assume the worst case scenario or start creating all of these images in your head of what catastrophe might be in store for you. This is definitely adding to the amount of stress you experience on a daily basis.
Know What Your Stressors Are
You also need to understand more about what is causing you the most stress. By now, you likely have a good idea of where it is coming from, but using a journal can help you determine this with more details and clarity.
Keep a worry or stress journal that you use only to write about your stress. You want to include as many details as you can, such as what you were doing, where you were, what time and date it happened, who you were with, what the situation was, and anything else that is relevant.
Write down things like why it caused you stress, what your mind was doing at the time, and what the outcome was.
Do you notice any patterns? Are there certain things causing you more stress? Is it work or home life? Is there someone in your life that always seems to be around when you have the mot stress? These details will help you figure out your stressors, which in turn helps you know what you need to avoid in the future.
I would love to give you a free resource sheet to support your quest for a healthy mindset. Click the button below to receive your gift.
I really wanted to talk about this topic today because I wanted to share some lifestyle-based strategies to improve your overall mindset and mental health, which in turn improves your life. You must do the internal work to improve your overall health. You can do this by learning what motivates you and working each day on improving your mindset. Your thoughts control your feelings, which controls your behavior. You can cultivate certain behaviors and practices that will not only enrich your life, but that you can pass on to your family, friends, and community, so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
If you are familiar with my approach, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle modifications, such as stress reduction and mindfulness exercises, can help you feel better about yourself and your life. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.
Tools For Motivation And Mindset
Although you don’t need a cushion to meditate, you may want to consider using one at some point. You could meditate in a chair, or simply sit on the floor if you want. You can also use pillows or cushions from your furnishings to try out. Cushion, chair, bench, floor – it’s all good. Eventually, though, if you’re not sitting upright on a chair, you’ll probably do well to buy a dedicated meditation cushion. The cushion will support your sitting posture and help you create an appealing mindfulness corner that will encourage you to practice every day. I recommend this meditation cushion and mat bundle.
If you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can be a great idea. Even if you don’t have these conditions, journaling can enhance your life in many ways. Having difficulty processing your thoughts and emotions? Journaling can help clear that mental clutter and move towards a positive mindset. Research suggests that keeping a journal can have positive impacts on both mental and physical health. So, to start you on your journey, I recommend this self care journal.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet, regular physical activity, meditation and mindfulness, as well as healthy and supportive relationships are the best ways to support mental health. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
PPS. If you or someone you know is experiencing severe stress, anxiety, depression and/or other mental health issues, please contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889. This is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
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