How to deal with stress efficiently
Stressing out about things is in our nature.
It is a condition that all species experience. It is partially responsible for our thriving and survival on this planet. If stress wasn’t part of our lives, we would be careless and fearless all the time. Our ancestors would have surely been eaten by wild animals if they didn’t experience alertness created by stress.
Stress creates alertness, as we mentally prep ourselves to have to deal with the worse possible outcome of a situation.
It makes us replay a situation in our minds over and over again. As useful as this might have been to our ancestors who lived in dangerous conditions, in the modern world, stress can be very detrimental to our health. When it is out of control, it affects our body on a physical level, as well as our mental health. It is important to become self-aware of those feelings and realize that this is just a feeling. You are not in real physical danger.
There are practices that you can do, to alleviate stress in your life, and not let stress control you.
The first step is to look around and evaluate if you are in any immediate danger or not. If your life is in danger, then yes, by all means, the stress that you are feeling is a message from your body that you need to listen to. Remove yourself from the situation and seek help. But if you are not in danger if you are safe, and if the stress comes from scenarios that are playing over and over again, (maybe having to do with unwanted human interactions, a problem you have to deal with, etc,) then you must begin to consciously practice mindfulness and bring yourself back to the present moment. Take a look around, take a breath and bask in the present moment, because the future and the past don’t exist. Only now matters.
2-Redirect the stress-energy towards knowledge
If the stress that you are feeling is caused by an inevitable scenario, then realize that you are not powerless. Don’t let the stress be stagnant in your head. You can redirect the energy towards something constructive. We do not have the power to change how other people behave, or what they choose to do. What we can control, is ourselves, how we react to any situation. If you know that you will face a stressful situation, then redirect the stress towards self-education, preparedness, awareness, self-help. Every time the stress flares up, turn on a podcast that talks about the situation that you are in, and learn about it. Read a book on the subject, make some notes about it. Learn as much as you can, immerse yourself with knowledge. Redirect that energy and turn it into something that you can use.
3-Evacuate the energy with a sport that you enjoy
It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. Just going for a walk, a run, a bike ride will help clear your head. When you experience stress, the worse thing is just to leave this energy stagnant in your body and not do anything about it. You must find an outlet to release it, whatever it may be. By the time you come home, you will feel tired in a good way, your brain will have cleared up to a certain point, making room for new ideas and solutions.
Talking about your feelings to a trusted friend or source will validate them. Validating how you feel is a very important step towards healing. While the people that you have a conflict with might never be able to validate how you feel, as much as it hurts, don’t force it. Look for it elsewhere. Look for it within the healthy relationships in your life. when people behave in a toxic way around you, sometimes, this is a situation that will never change, and so you need to stop expecting that they will fill that void that needs to be filled in that relationship. It simply won’t happen, accept it, let it go, and validate your feelings with people that matter. By letting go, the stress will begin o diminish.
5-Don’t believe your thoughts when you are tired
Sometimes, your mind might decide, right when you are about to go to sleep, that this is a great time for those stressful thoughts to kick in. There are two points I would like to make here. Number one, you will not solve anything when you are tired, and about to go to bed. Therefore overthinking things, and stressing about things at this time is a waste of time and energy. In a way, this is a good time to practice mindfulness, because when you do, you will become aware that this is stress talking to you, but you are actually not in any danger at the present moment. Therefore when you are trying to rest, and those thoughts creep in, say no to them. don’t believe them. Repeat a mantra if you have to. Know that you are tired and that tomorrow, when you are rested, you will turn this stress into knowledge. Until then, do not believe your thoughts. The second point is that when you are tired, things always seem worse than they really are. Think about kids, if you have any in your life. When kids are tired, they get emotional, they cry and this is when the mommy knows that playtime is finished and its time to go to bed. As grown-ups, we are not exactly this far off from this behavior. We are just much better at controlling ourselves, but internally, the kid in us might just come out and want to cry. Sometimes the solution is quite simple. Sometimes, all you have to do is have a conversation with someone to clear things up. Sometimes things might be a bit more complicated, sure. But tiredness will amplify those feelings by too much. Therefore, when you are tired, don’t believe your thoughts. Distract yourself with some comedy, music, hypnosis, and go to sleep.
One of the most important things that you have to do, is learning to trust yourself. Believe in yourself. The more confidence you have in yourself, the more you love yourself, the more in control you will feel in any situation. It might be a good idea to simply focus your energy on yourself. Make yourself stronger, better, smarter. Work on yourself. Is there anything that you always wanted to learn and never did? Why not? Where does the fear come from? Do you feel like you might have an unhealthy lifestyle? Then learn about ways that you can eat and exercise better. The more you take care of yourself, and your body, the more your confidence will rise. Challenge yourself to do the things that you were always too scared to do. The only limit is in your mind. But if you put your mind to it, you can achieve great things. Sure, things might not work out exactly as you planned. They never do. But they will surely evolve, step by step, into something better and better and better. So take control of your life, take care of yourself, and trust yourself.
“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.” ―Steve Maraboli
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