We’re so sick of hearing about “taking a deep breath”. If anything, it makes us even more anxious. The trick is to breathe from the diaphragm. Sit up with hands on knees and feet flat on the floor and breathe in and out slowly for about four minutes. Focus your thoughts on your lungs as they expand and contract in your rib cage. Shallow breathing can exacerbate stress. The right breathing helps your blood draw more oxygen, clearing your mind and centering your body.
When you have a stressful task ahead, don’t keep putting it off. That makes it seem more and more stressful. A tough task is an opportunity to get better at something. It is not a threat. Reframing is where we try to look at something from a different angle. Don’t focus on what you can lose if you fail, but on what you can win if you don’t fail.
Reframing is a process that makes it possible to nurture a growth mindset. It takes attention away from worrying about making mistakes and being judged to learning and improving. There’s nothing like procrastination for helping negative thoughts take hold and flourish. Be active rather than reactive to best cope with stress. Being active helps us manage and control stressful circumstances before they become overwhelming.
Embrace the Glorious Mess That You Are
When all else fails, simply accept stress for what it is and how it has affected you. Sometimes it’s like the more we try to be in control, the more out of control we get. If it’s not working, it’s not working. Don’t admonish yourself for being a “mess” and a “failure.” Love yourself, nurture yourself, cherish your abilities to cope even though it seems like you don’t have them. Without believing in your capacity to handle things, you’ll get even worse at it.
Stress is not easy to handle, but if you realize where it’s coming from, you can start making smarter decisions about how to get rid of it. Our six ways to deal with stress will help – give them a try!