Stress is as much a part of today’s society as going to work or getting dinner with friends. Burnout, feeling overwhelmed, unmanageable stress and its physical manifestations have become ordinary. Yet, this shouldn’t be the norm; and with stress management, it doesn’t have to be.
1. Create time to distress
Mindfulness is becoming aware of your internal and external environment. Take a moment to answer these questions. Be honest and take your time:
- What emotions am I feeling?
Are you sad, angry, anxious, overwhelmed, happy, joyful, content? It can be more than one emotion, and it can be conflicting! Try not to judge your emotions, simply feel them.
- What am I feeling in my body?
Is there tension in your shoulders or jaw? Which muscles are tight, and which are relaxed? Start in your toes and work your way to your head, noticing where you hold tension and trying to loosen or stretch those muscles.
- What am I thinking?
This one can be tricky but try noticing what your thoughts are. Imagine that your thoughts are a passing train, and you are simply an observer. Let your thoughts naturally flow and notice what direction they take and how your emotions change with them. Is there a theme?
We don’t have to constantly strive to achieve something, to keep up with continuous tasks. It is okay to take a break and breathe. In the long-term, this will help you manage stress and live a healthier, happier life.