Techniques for stress management are what we’ll cover in this short blog post. This is not a complete list; it just happens to be what I find helpful when going through it. I find simple is best when shit hits the fan, so here are my most trusted tools when the spiral starts.
Stress is an inevitable part of life. It’s natural to feel stressed out or anxious once in a while, but it can become unhealthy if you feel this way too often.
Stress impacts your physical and mental health and can lead to serious conditions like heart disease and depression. If you want to feel a little more joyful and lead a healthier life, then it’s essential to learn techniques for stress management that work for you. This article will explore a few different methods — from deep breathing techniques that help relax the body to physical activities that promote calmness of mind. It’s all about discovering what works for you. Plus, keep in mind that what works may change. We go through seasons of life, and our coping mechanisms ebb and flow with them.
In other words, do what works best for your lifestyle. There are plenty of techniques for stress management that aid in reducing anxiety levels so you can enjoy greater peace of mind. Think of them as tools you keep in a tool kit a pull out as needed.
Techniques for Stress Management
A specific skill I find pretty helpful when I’m in the middle of a freak out is remembering my breathing. And, two of my favourite and fast-acting are slowing down my exhale and boxed breathing.
Taking a deep breath is often recommended as a way to calm yourself. But keep in mind, you must exhale slowly. Think along the lines of blowing up a balloon or blowing out a shitload of candles. The calm down process happens while you exhale, so the exhale must be longer than the inhale.
1. Make sure all the air has left your lungs by exhaling slowly and intentionally. Force out all the air. Try and feel your deep abdominals contract. Pause for a moment or two.
2. Then, intentionally relax and let the inhalation naturally take place. Continue several times. By doing so, you will activate your parasympathetic nervous system.
A method of calming yourself and avoiding panic breathing during challenging situations is box breathing. Breathing is divided into four phases (like the four equal sides of a square). Here’s a link to the perfect YOUTube video to breathe along with.
Or you can simply…
1. Inhale for four seconds.
2. Hold for four seconds.
3. Exhale for four seconds.
4. Hold for four seconds.
Repeat & Renew
Isn’t it amazing how our brain likes to discuss our worries with us right before we fall asleep, or sometimes even in the middle of the night too?
Sometimes it can be difficult to keep up with our thoughts and worries. A brain dump is an excellent technique for stress management. Plus, it’s a way to get our stressors and worries out of our heads and onto paper. In addition, the physical act of writing down our fears can lighten the load, which lends a big hand when trying to fall asleep at night.
It’s easy: grab some paper and a pen, and write your worries down. Anything and everything goes.
Doing a “brain dump,” or writing down your thoughts and feelings, is an effective way to decrease worry — it helps to “conclude the chapter” on the day and psychologically move into bedtime mode with less mental and emotional weight.
Above all, understand there is no one way to manage stress. What works today may not work tomorrow. It’s important to remind yourself what’s available.
Here’s a link to a blog post about Why meditation works to reduce stress. You might find it helpful too.