Sustained levels of high stress impact our mental and physical well-being.
We need to have the tools to manage the high stress of daily life and shut it down before too much stress shuts us down.
Here’s how to immediately relax when stress gets too high, according to YourTango experts:
1. Find calm in the now
Do your best to focus on the here and now, the present moment. Feel your body here and now. Look at the objects around you. Touch the table, coffee cup, or object in front of you. Do this, and take three deep breaths in your nose and out through your mouth. This helps your brain deactivate the fight or flight response, which is what causes the feeling of stress.
When you can calm yourself down, you’ll find things go more smoothly. Another tip is, don’t think about your whole to-do list at once. Focus on one step at a time, and you’ll feel calmer. This may take some practice, but is well worth the effort.
—Cassady Cayne, Energy coach, healer
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2. Turn your stress into clouds
When stress knocks, the secret lies in a mindset that’s all about letting go and keeping it simple. Imagine your stressors as passing clouds. Notice them, but don’t let them become your whole sky. Take a step back, breathe, and remember that in the grand scheme, today’s chaos is a blip.
Think of your mind as a calm lake, the stressors as pebbles. Sure, they create ripples, but those ripples won’t last forever. Let the waters settle by focusing on your breath, finding your center, and realizing that stress is temporary, like clouds passing in the sky.
True resilience isn’t about defeating stress. It’s about changing how you deal with it. Embrace the ebb and flow while knowing that even in the toughest times, there is room for growth.
So, the easiest way to relax? Cultivate a mindset that gracefully lets go, finding peace in the simplicity of now.
— Clare Waismann, M-RAS/ SUDCC II Waismann Method Rapid Detox Founder
3. Get rid of the “have-to-dos”
The easiest mindset to relax when stress gets too high is to let go of the “have-to-dos.”
If the have-to-dos intrude or linger, make a prioritized list of no more than 4-5 specific actions and put it aside. Return to it by the end of one week. With time, the “have-to-dos” shift or weaken.
When you must do something important or time-sensitive, choose one thing to start doing daily and devote 15 minutes to activate the “little grey cells” of your brain. Such lengthening baby steps will accrue and thwart your monkey brain or feelings of guilt.
Of course, explore who will and can help you.
— Ruth Schimel PhD, Career & Life Mgt.Consultant, Author
4. Redirect your focus to joy
Instead of getting lost in stress, focus on gratitude.
What things in your life are you most grateful for? Is it a child, a partner, or a relative? Perhaps it’s a pet or a friend? Reminding yourself about the positive, joyful aspects of your life will help you lower stress about the current difficulties you face.
— Gloria Brame Ph.D., Therapist
5. Get ritualistic about it
The easiest way to relax when stress gets high is through a personalized self-care ritual based on your mind, body, and soul.
The real successful path is always proactive and personalized. One such method can be the use of affirmations and healing numbers.
Affirmations are positive words that help set a positive context subconsciously and empower the person to relax and be calm.
You can also include healing numbers to bring instant positivity in life. Healing numbers are a set of numbers combined with spaces between to bring about positive life changes. You can use “13 13 514” for stress relief by writing these numbers with a blue pen on the left palm.
The practice of using affirmations can be synergistically combined with sound therapy as well. You can listen to 432 Hz or 528 Hz music to relax.
— Sidhharrth S Kumaar, Astro Numerologist, NumroVani
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Though the specific details of the methods differ, all these experts in life and well-being agree. Stress doesn’t have to shut us down.
The moment you are overwhelmed, you can take control of the stress and reduce it by changing the focus of your mindset and remembering to breathe as you move through it.
There is no way to eliminate stress from our lives, but we can minimize and reduce the lasting negative effects of stress on our well-being.
Building healthier mindsets around managing stress only gets easier with practice in time you’ll find your mind flowing with grace as you manage the stressors of the day,
Will Curtis is a writer and associate editor for YourTango. He’s been featured on the Good Men Project and taught English abroad for ten years.