We often talking about ‘beating’ or ‘overcoming’ stress or stressful situations, but it’s not possible to escape stress completely – however many yoga or meditation rituals we try.
Stress is a natural part of life and, rather than trying to avoid it, we’re better off developing coping mechanisms. So, we’ve put together five easy ways to help you manage stress mindfully this month.
Let the big stuff go
There are many things in life that we can’t control and worrying about these can create more stress than it’s worth. After all, if you can’t control something, worrying about it won’t change a thing. Instead, try to focus on the smaller elements of the day, event or situation that you can control. Even if it’s as simple as making sure guests, colleagues or your children are well-fed and watered. Get the small stuff right and let the big stuff work itself out.
Get a sweat on
If you’re struggling to leave a stressful day behind you, lace up and work up a sweat. Go outside for a run and soak in the fresh air and greenery or take yourself off to a yoga session to rejuvenate body and mind. Getting your feel-good endorphins pumping is a fantastic way to give your mindset a quick reboot. It may also help you find some perspective and think about things more rationally.
If you’ve got an important work event, stressful meeting or long day ahead, try to put yourself into a positive mindset. Think about embracing your quickening heartbeat, sweaty palms and butterflies as signs of excitement, rather than fear. According to meditation experts Headspace, ‘If we believe we can handle the challenge, we experience an “approach-motivated” stress state. Our body prepares to approach or address the stressor, allowing us to feel excited, amped up, or even angry.’ A negative mindset does the opposite and can actually constrict blood flow. Not very useful when you’re about to step up to a big challenge! Try the Headspace app for more top tips on how to change your mindset.
Talk it out
A problem shared is a problem halved, or so the saying goes. And, talking through something that’s bothering you, with a friend or family member, could help you to see the issue from a different angle. According to the NHS, ‘a good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way.’
Don’t reach for the gin
It’s tempting, when life gets stressful, to drown your worries in a bucket of G&T come Thursday evening or an extra-large flat white Friday morning. But these stimulants will only provide temporary relief and won’t help you deal with the actual problem. If things are getting on top of you during the day, plan a last-minute class or meal with a friend in the evening instead, to talk things through or work up a sweat before you get home.