Steps To Stress-Free Living And Mental WellnessBy Nofisat Sonekan
Published: July 2, 2014
Inside stressors are worries we create upon ourselves for not being perfect like worries that “things will never get better for me,” that “no one at my job likes me,” or that “I will never be good enough”. The good news about inside stressors is that they are changeable. They can dissolve with a switch in perspective and positive outlook. It all depends on how you view the world around you.
When a negative thought comes to mind, simply let it go. Acknowledge that it is just a single thought in time and detach yourself from the thought immediately. Negative thoughts come to everyone, but dwelling on them brings feelings of inadequacy and does not allow you to enjoy the present moment. Practice zapping negative thoughts as they come, so you don’t become a constant source of your own stress.
Another way to always keep your cup half full is to find gratitude. Create your own gratitude ritual by journaling or giving thanks for things in your life, especially things we take for granted every day. Keeping a constant log of gratitude will remind you of all the tools you actually do have under your belt.
Outside stressors are strains that are thrust upon us, such as medical illness, financial problems, relationships, school, and work. We normally view this type of stress as unchangeable. Even though some elements of our lives can be a constant source of pressure, it is important to realize that stress is not what happens to us, it’s our response to what happens.
Motivational author and physician, Spencer Johnson, talks about ways to deal with life stress in his clever one-day read, Peaks and Valleys. His approach forces us to realize that ALL people will inevitably have challenges that create valleys, but how we respond and manage is what helps to build our success, or peaks.
It is important not to internalize the bad times. Focusing on deficits at home and at work will only bring you towards despair, longing and fear, and drag you deeper into a valley. When things aren’t going so great, do things that will automatically catapult you towards another peak.
- Detach yourself from outcomes and be flexible. A lot of things in life are not under your control.
- Focus on finding benefits instead of faults. This is a more efficient use of your energy and time.
- Create sensible and attainable step-by-step goals for each problem.
- Don’t compound “inside stress” on top of “outside stress”.
- Always make it a priority to learn.
Be Mindful of your body – Your body is always telling you what it needs one way or the other. It yawns, it growls, it becomes jittery, and the list goes on. In addition to using mental techniques to achieve wellness, make sure to take care of your body to maintain mind-body balance. Always be aware of your body’s needs and do something to meet those needs.
Sleep – It is a known fact that sleep helps to improve memory, learning/cognition, immune function, mood, and metabolism. It’s your body’s built-in reboot.
Nourish – Eat a nutrient-dense diet and drink plenty of water. Avoid extremes such as too much caffeine, alcohol, or foods high in fat, sugar, or salt. Stay away from fad diets. It is always good to indulge and give yourself a treat every now and then too, especially if it makes you feel good. But don’t over do it!
Breath – Research and medical experts have shown that breathing relaxation techniques, especially those that incorporate abdominal breathing, help treat anxiety, panic attacks, and detoxify internal organs.
Connect – Touch and laughter has been providing natural healing and stress relief for time immemorial. Don’t be afraid to grab a loved one and stir up some fun.
Move – Running, walking, yoga, dancing, tai chi, biking, gardening, cleaning the house, it’s your choice. Any physical activity can be a form of meditation in motion. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins, which help to reduce pain perception, reduce stress, prevent feelings of depression, and boost self-esteem.
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