No one gets through life without experiencing stress and anxiety. How intense and how they cope with it varies greatly. Life is stressful and many situations can cause anxiety. The ability to decrease your stress or anxiety in the moment is a skill you have to work on and learn what is the best technique for you. Below is a list of techniques to try and see if these are ones you find helpful.
Techniques to cope with stress or anxiety:
- Deep breathing: stress and anxiety can result in your chest feeling constricted resulting in a feeling of being unable to catch your breath. The most important thing you can do is breathe! Close your eyes, take a deep breath down into your belly, hold for a beat or two, then slowly exhale. If you need a visual, imagine a cup of hot chocolate: take a deep breath in while smelling the yummy chocolate then exhale slowly to cool it down (slowly so you don’t cause the hot chocolate to spill over the edge of the mug!).
- Exercise: engaging in physical activity releases endorphins and other hormones that promote feeling good. Go for a run, do yoga, play a sport, jump rope, swim some laps-just move your body!
- Go for a walk: being out in nature helps restore a connection to the earth and promote grounding.
- Take a time out: when everything becomes overwhelming, take some time for yourself. Even if it is only 2 minutes while hiding out in the bathroom, it is good to recognize when you are hitting your limit and need to pause. If you are able to, take 10-15 minutes so you can practice some of the techniques above.
- Limit social media: breaks are needed, even from social media. It is too easy to get swept up in all of the information that is available so readily on our phones. Take a step back, focus on your environment, ground yourself, and then rejoin social media. Sometimes a day or a week away from social media can put things into perspective and allow you to see it for what it is, entertainment.
- Focus on the people/places/activities that make you feel good: there is a lot of negativity right now in the world and it is okay to take a break from those that do not make you feel good. While you will not be able to cut out certain things (e.g., a job), you can be selective in other areas. Not only taking a break from the negativity but seeking the positives. Who do you feel the best after spending time with? What places make you feel energized? What activities put a smile on your face? Connect with the positive to counteract the negative.
- Pamper yourself: paint your nails, do a face mask, take a bubble bath. Do things that make you feel taken care of
- Seek help: if your stress and anxiety continue to grow and feel like your tools no longer work, reach out to Treehouse to see how we can help you. We provide individual, couples, and family therapy to address many situations and challenges. We are here for you!
Michelle A. Culver, LMFT