While stress is a natural response to potential danger that is meant to help our survival, it is not something we should be experiencing every single day. And yet, if you ask around, the majority of people will tell you they experience it very regularly.
Life is too short to spend it in a state of anxiety and panic that dulls your ability to function and makes most tasks more difficult than they ought to be so if you are looking for easy ways to make space for greater wellbeing, read up.
1 – Switch your focus
Have you been pushing yourself too hard? Stewing and forcing yourself to “work harder” will amplify negative emotions, causing further stress. Instead, allow yourself a set amount of time to free up your mind and release tension by doing something that feels creative (even if you don’t think you’re creative). Let your emotions flow more naturally through a creative medium, and more often than not, you’ll find it easier to get the work done afterward.
2 – Learn something new
Perspective is the objective. You can only see as far as the horizon in front of you, so the only way to see further is to get to that edge (your comfort zone) and dare to learn about what goes beyond.
What skill have you ever admired that you could seek to learn? A language? It could be as simple as reaching out to someone whose life or lifestyle inspires you and asking a few questions to get insight into their perspectives. Essentially, it will help you see something you are not seeing where you are at.
3 – Reframe your thoughts
Negative thinking is a habit. If you find yourself overwhelmed with negative thoughts, breaking this habit is life-changing. It sounds simple enough to tell yourself to just think positive but in reality, it’s not that easy.
A lot of our negative thoughts are constructs we’ve struggled with for a very long time already, and which have snowballed over time through repetition. I think of them as wishes that wilted into frustrations instead of blooming into reality. Breaking them down and overcoming feels difficult because they are cloaked in self-pity, self-victimisation or shame and the first step is awareness because it’s liberating.
If you are aware of your tendency towards negative thinking, that’s already a great step forward.
Aim to break the negativity habit by building a new habit, rewriting the negative thoughts each time they occur. Recognise when it is happening, voice it out, and each time, every single time, rewire the thought by thinking about what you can do or what you are grateful for instead.
‘ve found that actually saying to yourself what it is that you truly want and how you can make it happen, you are operating from possibility and opening up to opportunities around you even if they don’t end up being what you thought you wanted. Dare to ask yourself how what you desire can become true.
4 – Connect your mind and body
Your mind and body can get out of sync when your mind starts spinning out. The first thing I do when that happens to me is to limit my exposure to the source of stress and fear. too much social media (comparisonitis)? reading the news (sounds like bad news overload)? usually, this happens when we consume too much information that we don’t need.
Instead, meditative practice helps to reconnect with the here and now, and your physical being. You want to be aware of your body, how you feel and improve your breathing.
I am not naturally good at meditation practice & I’ve struggled a lot to build up to it. My favourite thing to do when I can’t settle enough for meditation is to do stretches instead first, and then I find that inevitably afterwards I’m much more receptive. Below are a couple of excellent examples.
stretching to loosen up your body & gain focus
meditation for anxiety
Bonus: Dance it out. Let loose and just get your body moving, and just feeling.
5 – Pamper yourself
You know I’m in for this one! Light a candle, and put together a spa-worthy pamper routine that will ease away lingering stress. Sometimes, we build up anxiety for no good reason and it seems to just stick around us like a bad aura. Cleansing the skin and stimulating the senses is a great way to refresh and shed away the remains of a period of stress. And if you need new treats to pamper yourself with, we’ve got you here.
6 – Be grateful and connect
I like to keep a stock of old-fashioned Thank you cards but even without looking out for the exceptional stuff, if you spend a few minutes thinking back over the past week you will undoubtedly remember a few things that made you feel grateful. Check up on the people who made you feel loved or appreciated and reach out. This is an excellent way to feel connected to others and feel good.
7 – Reminisce
Take out the photo albums or look through your phone/camera for some photos. Or even make a photo album. I know we digitalise everything now but it doesn’t need to be tedious and in fact, can be a lot of fun. This is an excellent way to chill out, disconnect little and remember what it is you actually need in your life because it reminds you of the joys that come with connecting with the world and the people you love.
8 – Visualise
Sometimes we get stuck in our current reality and forget that it is not set. I find that spending 10 minutes closing my eyes and thinking up my dreams in vivid detail helps me remember that whatever today looks like, it doesn’t have to be that way and it’s up to each of us to make the changes we need to make. The idea is to really think through how everything feels, how it looks, and how it smells even so you make it a real possibility.
9 – Create spaces
If you are spending more time at home, it may sometimes feel like all the spaces in your home blend together, making it feel the same and cramped. You can functionally partition the space you live in by using lighting, accessories and clever storage to help break the day up, helping to stay in the moment and enjoy the flow of time. In turn, living in this flow of time instead of against it always helps to ease any sense of agitation.
10 – Mind the air your breathe
When was the last time you opened all the windows or went for a walk? Stale air traps you in, and dulls the senses. Refreshing the air, and cleansing it with beautiful scents is often the best way to immediately changing the way we feel.
Until next time,