Now more than ever it is essential to find what works for us when it comes to reducing stress and anxiety, here are my top go-to things that I use when my stress and anxiety starts to creep in.
For me this is so important, often my go-to is to close the world out, but I know the more I do that, the more likely it is that I will get sucked into believing all the unhelpful thinking and feelings that have pulled me in the direction of stress and anxiety in the first place.
Reach out to people you know who truly get you. Share what's been coming up for you but avoid if you can blaming others for what you are feeling inside. I always remind myself that nobody ever has the power to determine what I think or feel on the inside. Only I hold that power.
- Slow down and take a mental break🌈
Sometimes the best thing I can do for myself when I am stressed, anxious or even depressed is just to read a book, nap or do nothing.
Giving our brain some time off from all the mental chatter and gremlins that have been taking up space in our head can help us move faster towards feeling calm again than any fancy technique can.
Find something that works for you, believe it or not, you are the best person to go to for advice on how to take a mental break. Find whatever works for you, whether its a walk, exercise, a bath or anything else, do that and listen to your own advice.
- Breath and let your shoulders relax🌈
When I am stressed, I hold on to my breath and often find myself speaking and thinking while holding my breath. When I notice this, I pause and breath out, as if I was doing a great big sigh.
Breathing techniques are lovely, but when I am in the thick of anxious or stressful thinking, stopping to do these things doesn't often occur to me to be a useful thing to do. Instead, I sigh and let my shoulders drop, and the moment I do this, my face softens, and my breathing regulates itself again.
Our mind and body have a fantastic capacity to reset and regulate all by itself if we slow down for a moment and allow it to do so. Techniques are great, remember though, they are short-lived, try this instead!
I used to be scared of all my anxious thoughts and feelings and want to push them away because it seemed so wrong to be feeling this way. Now I understand where they are coming from I allow myself to explore all the feels, knowing that they will pass if I let them be there without trying to suppress them or fix them. What works for me is writing and crying. I take myself off to have a good cry or mentally download all my fears on paper.
Allowing yourself to feel sad, scared, or low is ok. Take yourself off and give yourself time to process the feelings, cry if it helps, do what occurs to you to do. You won't' break, and you don't need to fix these feelings ever, they will eventually unravel and lead you to a place of peace and clarity.
- Appreciate the small things🌈
Noticing how much you appreciate the little things helps you to move into a place of gratitude. Sometimes it's hard for me to feel gratitude first, as I get all caught up in my thinking and start beating up on myself for not feeling grateful, causing me to feel worse about myself. Forcing myself to feel grateful doesn't feel genuine to me.
So I always start with appreciation and notice the small things that I can appreciate, and this enables me to deepen into a real feeling of gratitude and not something I have forced myself to do because I am meant to be feeling grateful.
- Do the next best thing that occurs to you to do🌈
My most favourite thing to do when I feel stuck and unable to move forward or make a decision, which always leads to stress and anxious thinking for me, is to do the best next thing that occurs to me to do.
Rather than trying to figure it out, I do the next best thing that occurs to me to do at that moment. If I am unsure about what needs to happen, or what should happen or if I am fearful, I ask myself "What's the next best thing I can do right now?".
I keep asking myself until I have stopped feeling stressed and anxious about whatever was worrying me or concerning me. Doing this allows me to keep moving forward one small step at a time so I don't get caught up in the fight, flight or freeze that drives my anxiety.
Let me know what works for you; I would love to hear how you are working through all your stress and anxiety.
Avril x 🌈