How we deal with stress is a particularly individual thing but here are some tips we have found helpful – particularly during the COVID pandemic.
Stress is frequently a stimulus for us to reflect on, and change, aspects of our lives that are not working for us…..so try and be positive about it and make that change…
- Go outdoors – studies repeatedly show that just getting outside makes you feel less stressed…maybe our mothers knew best? “If in doubt…get them out!”
- Turn off alerts – increasingly we need to protect ourselves from the constant demands on our attention from the devices in our pockets. These little hits of adrenaline and dopamine can provoke anxiety and distress…..do you really need to know about this now…I mean, NOW!!!????
- Breathing – learning breathing techniques can help us control our sympathetic nervous system and reduce our stress response. Check out Andrew Huberman or Wim Hof for techniques to try.
- Intention – who hasn’t found themselves mindlessly scrolling through content on their phone? - and who hasn’t felt unsatisfied and guilty afterwards? Try and think about what you are trying to achieve on your phone – and maybe why you reached for it in the first place – was it just to numb stress or boredom?? Often you will gravitate towards social media and the ‘highlights reel’ of someone else’s life. Theodore Roosevelt once said, ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’ and he didn’t even have Instagram – so how about stealing some time back for yourself and putting your phone away?
- Ignore the news? – do you really need to know about that horrifying event on the other side of the world, or the daily toll from COVID….or is it just making you more stressed? ‘Breaking News’ seems particularly harmful – why not try reading about it later when experts you trust have had time to consider it in more detail?
- Walk & Talk – we are social primates and sharing our anxieties in conversations with friends and family can really help. Going for a walk side-by-side can feel less confrontational and help the conversation flow…
- Perspective - Remember when you really wanted what you now had??? Sometimes our minds blow our issues out of proportion. Think of setting off in your hot air balloon for a look down on the wider perspective….
- Relaxation doesn’t have to mean doing nothing – studies show that immersing yourself in more challenging hobbies and tasks can actually help – how about trying to do one thing every day that challenges you?
- Ctrl+Alt+Delete – when it all feels overwhelming how do you hit the reset button? Sometimes fully immersing yourself in one of our 5 senses can turn off the chatter – like having a sip of a hot drink, a massage, cold water swimming, running – it's up to you. It’s partly why we can get so addicted to the sensation of smoking a cigarette – but let’s not try that…
- Don’t stress about stress – short term stress isn’t actually bad for us, it’s the ‘not knowing what to do about it’ that is. Resilience means an ability to bounce back, not an ability to put up with stuff – so just trying to make any small change will help….