Don’t stress! Easier said than done. With the current global crisis, everyone is impacted and is feeling some level of stress. Stress can be a good thing. It propels us to act in dangerous situations, to hyper focus on information for a test, and keeps our energy high when we’re buying a house or planning a wedding. The stress hormones that are released during the exposure (cortisol, adrenaline, and epinephrine) are what drives the body’s reaction.
But stress is not always a good thing. Extended exposure to stressful stimuli or short bursts of intense stress can cause our body to live in a high stress state. So how do you decrease stress in a time where everything seems uncertain?
First, it is necessary to focus on the positive. Find things to be grateful for and what is going right. When your brain tries to focus on the negative, steer it toward the positive. When the world feels overwhelming it may be easier to have an external source to help, such as an app (meditation, guided imagery).
Second, when the world is unpredictable you need to focus on what is within your control. You have more control than you think. You can control your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It is important to think of what you CAN do vs. what you cannot do.
Third, find activities and interactions that bring you joy. The power of joy, laughter, love, and others give you a boost of positive hormones. The saying that laughter is the best medicine is true to the extent that laughter helps you to feel better.
Lastly, have a routine or schedule. In current times, this does not mean plan out your whole day. Develop a basic schedule of what you will do throughout the day and while it may not be exact, it may help to have things to look forward to vs. just doing whatever comes to mind.
Schedules and routines build in structure and consistency which are important components to feeling secure. Children especially need general structure to their day as it allows them to predict events and provides a feeling of safety.
But in general, do not stress about stressing. Do your best, acknowledge that you are human, and recognize when you need to shift your mindset, behaviors, or routines. If trying all of the above does not lessen your stress to some extent, reach out to us. Treehouse is here as a support for you and your family.
Michelle A. Culver, LMFT