“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”
– Winston Churchill
What is “Stress”
Stress is emotional or mental tension we feel as a result of difficult or trying circumstances. It is a fight or flight response we exhibit in response to circumstances we’re not sure how to deal with. Stress isn’t necessarily unhealthy. There is a range of psychological tension that we call “stress.”
Low-level stress can actually help boost brain function, create a sense of resiliency in you, motivate you, enhance productivity and focus, and even provide a short-term boost in immune system functioning.
Ever been able to pump out a paper for school in just a few hours before its due? Low-level stress was a major factor in making that possible.
Chronic stress, however, is clearly unhealthy both psychologically and physically. It leads to confusion, inaction, has an actual negative physical effect on us, and ultimately can potentially result in depression and insomnia.
10 Ways To Relieve Stress Quickly & Consistently
1. Write Down What’s Stressing You Out and Why
Most of the time we’re completely illogical about whatever is making us feel stressed. Taking the time to separate from your jumbled and negative thoughts and emotions by putting them on paper will help you see more clearly that stress is not the answer.
Write and answer the following:
- What is the situation that’s “stressing me out?”
- What are the different ways I can deal with this situation?
- What are the possible consequences of the different courses of action I can take?
- Is being stressed helping or hindering my ability to deal with what I’m facing?
2. Use This Two-Minute Breathing Exercise
The idea is really to stop the flow of negativity you’re feeling by quite literally preventing your attention from focusing on it. Any exercise to stop the connection between your attention and the negativity you’re feeling will work.
Here’s an exercise for you to use:
- Sit in a chair and relax your body – try to see where you sense tension and let it fall (in your face, shoulders, lower back, everywhere).
- Take 30 very quick, short breaths through your nostrils.
- On the 31st breath, take 10 deep, long breaths. In through your nostrils and out through your mouth.
3. Realize That We Usually Have Something To Be Thankful For In Stressful Situations
When we’re complaining about how much work we have to do, or juggling personal and work-life, remind yourself how blessed you are to have a family worth stressing about, and a ton of work to do to accommodate your style of living. Trying circumstances are more often than not a result of being fortunate. Remember that.
4. Get Physical
Another way to get out of our hearts and open the door to relief and the ability to face whatever is stressing us out is by getting into our bodies. Physical stimulation not only fosters a sense of positivity and happiness, but it makes it way harder for you to sit and dwell about the stress of a situation.
A walk might not be enough, but a light jog will definitely do the trick. A more physical workout is guaranteed to make you feel better about whatever it is you’re facing. Your emotions have a chance to calm down and you can then face your circumstances logically.
5. Call The Person You Trust Most In The World
Doesn’t matter if its a parent, sibling, friend teacher or psychologist. Calling the person you trust most in the world automatically reunites you with feeling connected to a safe place. If you can, try avoiding complaining about what’s stressful. Explain the situation as objectively as possible and ask for their guidance.
When I was a kid and either me or one of my brothers was sad my parents would make us stand in a circle, hold hands, and we would fake laugh. It’s pretty incredible how our fake laughing quickly turned into one of the most hilarious situations in the world. Fake laughing (especially with someone else there) WILL make you burst into genuine laughter, which reminds you that you can feel light hearted in the face of anything.
7. Take A Quick Nap
Again, this is about breaking the movement of negativity you’re feeling. We all know w hat it feels like to go to bed really upset about something and wake up in a completely different, clear-headed mood. A quick nap will change your mood at least a little bit. Make use of it to re-boot your mindset.
8. Get logical
One of the easiest ways to relieve stress that you’ve attached to a circumstance very quickly is by getting out of your emotional functioning and into your intellectual function.
If you think about the type of situations that “stress us out,” they usually require either deciding between alternate courses of action, taking an action you already know is necessary, or simply thinking about future situations that haven’t even happened yet and any negative thoughts or emotions you attach to it.
Get out of your heart and into your head by reminding yourself that all you can do is make sense of the situation and do what you think is best.
For example, if you’re stressed out about having so much work to do with not enough time, use your mind to create a plan that makes sense for accomplishing the different tasks. Everything else – all the negativity is simply made up in your mind. In the end of the day all you can do is get what’s necessary done, or face the consequences of not getting it done.
When it comes to stressing out about future situations, remind yourself that you cannot possibly avoid what is inevitably going to happen. All you can do is decide the best way to deal with it and move forward.
9. Watch 3-4 Hilarious Youtube Videos
Get on youtube, look up “funny babies” or “funny puppies” and open up your heart to positivity. If you don’t feel at least a little better after watching some really funny shit, keep going until you find something that really has you bursting out in laughter.
10. Use These Affirmations
Use these specific affirmations to take control of your thoughts. Play around with them to better suit your personality and your needs, but saying these out loud to yourself is a really good way to break the chain of negativity you’re feeling.
Whether or not I feel stressed, the circumstances I’m facing already exist.
I have no choice but to deal with anything that comes my way.
I can and will always find a way to intelligently and thoughtfully handle stressful situations.