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How can I cope with stress and anxiety?
You can help yourself by bringing some elements of positive psychology into your daily life. You need to build a self-care regime alongside developing healthy coping mechanisms. There are a variety of techniques and training options on how you can manage stress and anxiety.
You learn how to manage your stress, it’s a process. There are some very simple techniques that you can implement at any given time. Try to identify your stress signature, by noticing when your stress starts and when your bucket is overloaded. Maybe it’s time to open the top and let some of that stress out. And you can do that through using some helpful coping mechanisms. And these techniques should not be reactive, rather they should be proactive.
There are a vast array of different helpful coping mechanisms, some include simple things like breathing exercises, going for a walk, maybe even reading a book, participating in mindfulness yoga exercises or even sitting still and practicing meditation.
Breathing is essential for life. Fact. In simple terms, breathing is the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, if anything affects this system, it may stop working as it should. Interruptions to this process have shown to result in increased feelings of anxiety, in extreme cases even panic attacks.
We interrupt this process unknowingly when we become overwhelmed with emotion, thus it is detrimental that we focus and control our breathing when we reach this state. In this case You could say that our respiratory system also has an inbuilt stress relief system, but we don’t necessarily utilize it in that way. Simple deep inhalations and slow exhalations, that is all it takes. It is something you could do discreetly. People around you won’t even notice it, but it can really help you to control the physical signs of stress.
There is even potential that this exercise may very well be what keeps you comfortable and calm under pressure and stress.
Try this simple breathing technique:
5 ways to wellbeing
You should proactively do things to help manage stress so it doesn’t trigger your negative thoughts and emotions. Some people walk or listen to music, others choose different forms of relaxation such as: meditation, gardening, taking a bath.
These are great things to do because you’re focusing on other things, bringing your attention to something that is positive and makes you feel pleasant. So you’re not worried about the rather difficult things going on in your life.
Here is another little exercise which is quite useful. When you are worrying too much about the events of what happened in the past or you are caught up overthinking about what is going to happen. Stop. And give this a try. It is grounding and it takes just a few minutes:
Just ask yourself what 5 things can I see right now? Wherever you are now just have a look around and just see what 5 things you can see, it might be a car outside, it might be someone at the desk, a picture on the wall or it might be a piece of paper on your desk, it could be anything – 5 things you see.
Now name 3 things that you can hear. What might be the sound of a car, people talking, birds tweeting, what are 3 things you can hear?
Think of 2 things that you can smell. So that might be someone’s lunch or you might smell something from outside or even something with quite a foul odour. What are 2 things you can smell?
Now try to remember 1 thing that you can taste. That might be the flavor from a coffee house this morning or from the lunch you just ate. What is the 1 thing that you could taste?
This very grounding exercise, focuses on 4 of the 5 senses. It helps you to calm your mind, lower your heart rate, bring your senses into the proper present, which means you’re going to be fully aware of your situation , you are going to be calm, collected and ready to tackle your problems
Activity Menu Ideas for Self-Care
Take a few minutes to identify what your stresses are and what your stress signature is. Then compile a list of helpful coping strategies, be sure to only add the strategies which you can actually implement. When carried out you will eventually see your coping techniques are really good in helping you to manage your stress.
Here is a list of activities that can help you to build your emotional fitness. You can simply download them.
If you want to learn more about self care techniques you should follow Siren Training on social media, we regularly run free webinars on mental wellbeing.
If you want to learn how to take care of your own mental health and help others get on one of the mental health first aid courses online or face to face.