7 tips for coping with modern day stress

 

stress photo

7 tips for coping with modern day stress

Stress is unavoidable in today’s world. There are bills to pay, debt, traffic jams. difficult people, relationship issues – the list is infinite. Finding ways to cope with modern day stress will put you ahead of the pack in terms of effectiveness, happiness levels and quality of life.

Here’s how: ACCEPTS

Activities

When we engage in activities, we give our brains a rest from the continuous worrying. Activities that require engagement and thought are a great way to alleviate stress. One of the main principles of mindfulness involves being in the moment and when you are highly focused on playing a sport, exercising or doing a hobby, you give yourself a psychological break from anxiety and stress.

Contributing

Give something back to the community – do something for someone else. When we focus on something other than ourselves, we take the focus off our own worries and engage with someone else. Helping others can also help us to feel gratitude, especially if we are helping those less fortunate than ourselves. Spread a little love and kindness – always a great antidote for stress.

Comparisons

Comparisons need to be used wisely. Never compare yourself negatively to someone else. We all tend to do it, assuming others have better and more exciting lives than we do. Facebook is a bad culprit for this, increasing the feeling of deprivation. This type of comparison is unhelpful as it never helps us to feel better about ourselves.

It can be helpful though to compare yourself to those that aren’t doing as well as you are as this encourages perspective and helps us to feel more gratitude and appreciation for what is good in our lives. It is equally useful to compare times in your life when things were worse and how you managed then – remind yourself of your strengths and previous examples of your resilience.

Emotions

Do something that will create a happy emotion for you to counterbalance your stress. Watch a funny movie or put on inspiring or soothing music. Have a pillow fight with someone, be playful. Choose the opposite behaviour to improve your mood. Stress tends to lead to isolation, rumination and feeling sorry for ourselves. Try to get yourself out of that funk but doing something fun.

Pushing Away

Some thoughts tend to want to stick around. Learn to let go of worrisome thoughts. Picture them as leaves floating past you on a stream. You can watch them float by, you don’t need to pick each one up and focus on it. You can’t stop thoughts but you can choose how long you want to focus on them. Imagine writing your problem on a piece of paper, crumpling it up and throwing it away. Dismiss thoughts that are unhelpful.

Thoughts

Choose thoughts carefully. We all tend to engage in thinking errors. Examples: mind reading: where we assume we know what someone else is thinking when in fact we don’t know for sure. We often assume negative thoughts and this leads to further stress. Watch what your inner ‘mental diet’ is – what are you feeding yourself mentally? Is it balanced and fair or is it self critical and full of catastrophising (imagining the worst). Stop the self torture. Replace negative thoughts with more neutral ones. Example: Negative thought=I am never good in social situations. This will create anxiety. Another more neutral thought: I may not feel comfortable in social situations but that doesn’t mean I can’t handle them.

Sensations

Find safe physical sensations to distract you from intense negative emotions. Wear a rubber band and snap it on your wrist, hold an ice cube in your hand or eat something sour that you like. This focuses your mind on something other than your worries. Remind yourself of the difference between a real worry (eg. your car has broken down) and a hyopthetical, non-real worry. (example: what if the bus is full tomorrow and I don”t get a seat?) “What if” worries are wasted mental energy.

There are many strategies we can use to manage stress. We cannot stop stress altogether but knowing how to cope with stress can make the difference between sinking and swimming.

Mandy X

Learn to let it go

let go photo

Learn to let it go

 

Life is a conundrum…even if you live by clear rules and try to do the right thing, that does not guarantee that anyone else will. During our lives we will all come across people who do not practise what they preach, who are dishonest, those that enjoy watching others fail and the general “down and dirty” types.
So, now that we have established that no matter who you are, you cannot escape encountering the ‘mean and nasties’ out there, let’s consider ways to lessen their impact:

1) One nugget of comfort is to remember that those people who project nastiness and anger onto others are usually very unhappy, miserable people in themselves. When they project negative emotions on to you, they are giving you a taster of what they feel inside. Draw some comfort from the fact that these people suffer with those feelings constantly – unless or until they learnt to manage their emotions more effectively and not take it out on others. Happy, content people do not feel the need to project negativity and misery onto others.
2) Try to limit your time with bitter, twisted people. Be sure to train yourself to identify those people in your life that drain you and manage your time with them well. Some people (I call them “emotional vampires”) will drain you rapidly, limit time with them.
3) Seek out those that boost your positive energy levels, inspire you and bring out the best in you! Fill up your positive reservoirs, this gives you the energy to tackle life.
4) Gratitude – tune into what IS good in your life. It can be so easy to get bogged down by what isn’t working but this thinking is not at all helpful. Instead focus on all the things are working for you, however small.
5) Don’t allow those that have upset you to continue to have ‘power’ over you by continuing to let them stay in your thoughts and upset you, long after the event. Distract yourself, go do something but above all – remember that whilst they are in your thoughts, upsetting you…the real person is off doing something else, in all likelihood not at all bothered by you. Don’t let them WIN. Don’t think about them..emotions lessen over time.
6) Focus on what you can control.. empower yourself and watch your thinking. Try not to put yourself down or allow your inner insecurities or fears to get the better of you. take action, minimise the worry – they are just THOUGHTS, not FACT
LET IT GO…..

Mandy X

Photo by Lucy Maude Ellis

Separate Realities

 realities photo

Separate Realities

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are – Anais Nin

Everyone possesses a thought system that is unique, made up of our own past experiences and our genetic make up. Our parents, our backgrounds, interpretations, memory, selective perception and circumstances all influence our thought systems. No two thought systems are alike and this means that they way experience life will be different for everyone. Two people could have the exact same experience yet take away something different from that event.

When we accept that everyone will see things differently, it minimises the chance for conflict. It also helps to reduce mind reading. This is where we make assumptions about what others are thinking. This is a dangerous thing to do as we never truly know what others are thinking unless we ask them directly.

If someone isn’t as friendly as we’d like, we may begin wondering why they behaved in a certain way, we make assumptions. Often this overthinking can cause more anxiety and trouble than it’s worth. We base assumptions on no real evidence.

It is important to remember that we will assume others think the way we do and this can often involve our own insecurities. If we worry about being abandoned or not loved enough, we will interpret someone else’s behaviour in terms of our own thought system. When we learn to let go of mind reading, we free up our mental energy for more productive, happier thoughts.

We can never know what others are thinking and trying to solve this without asking directly can lead to misery. Remember we all live in slightly different realities, make lee way for this and you will be happier for it.

Mandy X

The key to happiness – your mind

 

joyful photo

The key to happiness – your mind

Your mind stores your memories and it also helps you to navigate life with wisdom and common sense. The computer/storage part helps us to analyse the world, compare things and relate facts to each other. The other part, the ‘transmitter’ deals with matters of the heart. It is the transmitter part of our mind that allows us to feel happiness. Unless we understand the value of the transmitter, we will falter when it comes to interpersonal relationships. Sometimes, it just isn’t possible to logically think your way out of a problem using the computer part of the brain.

Learn to trust the intuitive transmitter, the quiet part of your mind that often ‘nudges’ you in the right direction. The quiet part that we often ignore in our quests to control parts of life that aren’t controllable (like other people – what they say and do).

Our minds can work for or against us at any given moment. Get used to tuning in to your perceptive mind (transmitter) – it is the part that helps us to be emotionally intelligent and connect with others on a deeper level.

Mandy X