6 mindful practices to overcome Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety go hand in hand.
This destructive duo takes over your thoughts and traps you in your own mind.
Your mental health is on the verge of falling apart. It all makes you the victim of your story, not the hero. And the villain is the voice in your head that knows all of your insecurities and uses them against you.
But there is a way to silence that nasty little voice and win back the control you have lost. You can become the hero again. With the right set of tools, you can overcome both stress and anxiety and set yourself free from their negative influence.
Here are 6 things to practice to kiss stress and anxiety goodbye:
1. Give your mind a break.
If you feel stressed out, then you are in need of a break. But not your regular “let me check my Facebook feed” break. You need a wholesome mental rest. When you sense anxiety is trying to creep out in your mind, give yourself a little time to relax. Take a hot shower or a bath. Read a page or two from your favorite book. Put some lo-fi remixes of your beloved vintage records on. Take a walk and breathe in some fresh air to clear your thoughts. Whatever you choose to do, let it be something that soothes your distressed soul.
Here is a little mental break breathing exercise from the stress and anxiety coach Sandy Woznicki you can practice:
- Start with a re-calibrating big, big inhale, hold it, and breathe out all the way.
- Now breathe in slowly to the count of four, then hold for a second.
- When you hold, hear the silence between the breaths.
- Then breathe out to the count of four and hold for a second at the bottom.
- When you hold, feel your mind clearing as you listen for the space between inhale and exhale.
- Repeat until you feel relaxed.
2. Be grateful.
Even in times of sorrow, there are still so many things in your life to be grateful for. Whenever you feel emotionally strained, remind yourself of the things you appreciate. Think of the people that are always there for you. Try to recall all the little features and qualities you love about yourself. Write them down if you want. Practicing gratitude is an effective way of coping with stress and anxiety. Do it as often as you need. Your mental health depends on that.
3. Talk to someone.
Sharing is caring. In this case – caring about your own wellbeing. Talking to a friendly face about all the things that cause a disturbance in your fragile mind can help you tremendously. Knowing that you’re not alone in this fight is enough to calm your spirits. However, while sharing about your troubles, make sure you don’t only focus on the negative side. If you are entirely concentrated on the factors that trigger your anxiety, you will only make the situation seem worse than it is. To avoid that, shift your focus to the things that are going well. When talking to a friend, a family member, a romantic partner, or a professional, discuss both the bad and the good about the circumstances around you.
You don’t have to be rich to be generous. You have to be mindful. As Anne Frank once wrote, “No one has ever become poor by giving.” The generosity of the mind is thousands of times more valuable than all the money in the world. You can give love, time, energy, courage, strength. You can give hope to someone who desperately needs it to move forward. This will help you cope with your own hurdles, as it will make you feel a little better about yourself. Giving makes your soul shine. And when your soul shines, the stress and anxiety have no power over you.
5. Acknowledge your feelings.
What triggers your anxiety? What makes you feel stressed out? How did you cope with these negative emotions the last time? Answering these questions will help you figure out the cause of the restlessness you are currently experiencing. It will guide you towards acknowledging your feelings and understanding them. While avoiding the pain may seem easier, facing it will actually help you fight it and eventually terminate it. To win the battle with stress and anxiety, you need to allow all these emotions flow through you, instead of trying to numb them. Stop lying to yourself that you are fine when you are actually struggling. And when you let these feelings flow, you will become aware of their origin and their influence over you. Therefore, you will have all the answers you need to gain back the control over your mind.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Admitting you need help is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, asking for help and accepting it is one of the most courageous things a person could do. It doesn’t make you seem weak. It makes you a human being. We all need help sometimes, and that’s okay.