We all experience times of stress, when the to-do list is long and our time is short. Being pulled in multiple directions at the same time can lead to feelings of helplessness. One approach to dealing with such situations is to regain a sense of control over our day-to-day lives.
The same tactics for dealing with periods of sadness can help alleviate periods of anxiety. Talk to friends about what’s troubling you. Ask for help in managing the seemingly unmanageable. Take time for exercise and healthy eating.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the following strategies can help manage stress.
The word conjures images of Himalayan temples filled with incense, but the reality is meditation is simply giving yourself the time to focus on the here and now. Carve out a consistent space and time each day (even just five minutes) and turn off any distractions. Focus on your breathing. When your mind wanders (and it will) bring your thoughts back to the present. According to the Mayo Clinic, being present in the here and now can restore order to a hectic day.
Avoid substance misuse
The biggest problem with stress is often the things we do to dull the pain. A paper from the Medical University of South Carolina notes that anxiety disorders and alcohol use disorders often occur together. Avoid alcohol or other mind-altering substances.
If you’re anxious about something you can’t control (such as getting into a top university or being tapped for a job promotion), focus on things you can control. Clean out the closet or the garage. Get the car serviced. Stock the pantry. Psychology Today notes that decluttering your physical surroundings “can help you feel confident about your decision-making skills.”
It’s hard to be grateful when you’re feeling a lot of pressure, but chances are you already enjoy the benefits of past achievements. Recognize them and pat yourself on the back. According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, a daily moment of gratitude can reduce stress and improve physical and mental health. Check out this post on making gratitude part of your routine.
A research article in the Journal of Positive Psychology notes that helping others can alleviate our own anxiety. Guide a stranger who is looking for directions. Help someone struggling to put groceries in their car. Sign up to volunteer at a food bank. Giving back and paying forward can help connect us with our communities and appreciate the simple things in life.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please call the Suicide and Prevention Lifeline at 988 or text HOME to 741741 for free and confidential support at the Crisis Text Line.
Your Kinwell clinician can provide tools and techniques to manage stress. Reach them through your MyChart app or call 833-411-5469 to schedule an appointment.