Over the last seven weeks or so, I’ve started to change as a person. How do I know this? My husband has commented on my “transformation” several times. He’s amazed by how the little things that used to make me upset or emotional don’t seem to affect me in the same ways. And you know what…I feel it too!
What brought on this seemingly sudden shift? To be completely honest, I was fed up with always being stressed about everything. I hated how I felt after getting super pissed about something trivial. It was starting to feel like my emotions controlled me, and I wanted to change that! But the real turning point came when Vishnu pointed out that my average stress level was way too high, and that I needed to do something about it!
And so I did.
Before I share what’s worked for me in turns of de-stressing and bringing more Zen into my life, I have to say that this is one of those endeavors that requires hard work and focus. And if you really want to change, you have to face the not so positive stuff head on. You have to be honest with yourself about your thoughts and behaviors and how they are impacting you and those around you. You have to acknowledge the not so great parts of yourself and commit to being different and actually work on it.
Also, by sharing my thoughts in this post, I am in no way saying that I never get stressed anymore. Even when we commit to a different way of being, there will be good days and bad days. And let’s face it – stress is part of being human. My thoughts are more so around how to manage it in a productive and healthy way.
With all that being said, here are 5 tried and true ways to de-stress…
1. Don’t go at it alone. When I committed to dealing with stress differently, I enlisted Vishnu’s help. I picked him because he’s always honest with me, I trust him, and he’s my husband (duh!) and the person who has to deal with me day in and day out!
Over the past few weeks, he’s been able to give me real-time feedback on what he’s noticed and how it’s affected him (good and bad…but mostly good!). This in turn motivates me to continue on.
2. Meditate for a few minutes every day. I’ve talked about this on the blog before, but this is the first time I’ve actually stuck with a mini practice. And the reason I’ve stuck with it is because it works!
I listen to BK Shivani’s guided meditations on YouTube (this morning mediation is my favorite) because they’re short (just being honest!) and really impactful. When I sit down and meditate/focus first thing in the morning, I sense a difference in the way I view my day and the things happening around me. I’m not as frazzled and all over the place. It’s hard to explain, but all I can say is that it’s made a huge difference for me.
3. Listen to your self-talk very carefully. Over the years, I’ve learned that when my self-talk turns negative, my stress goes up. And inevitably it shows up in the way I behave/react which then starts a vicious cycle.
When negative self-talk has been a part of your life for a long time, it’s hard (near impossible) to stop cold turkey. The key for me has been to nip it in the bud before it takes over and permeates every possible thought. I know from experience that NOTHING good comes from putting yourself down, and that knowledge is enough to make me change the way I think. Now instead of being mean to myself, I try (still working on this) to take a different approach and talk to myself the way I would to my sister or a good friend.
Being kinder and more forgiving to myself has definitely helped keep the stress at bay. Who knew!
4. Slow down! I am notorious for doing everything quickly. And sometimes that’s ok because the situation warrants it, but most of the time, rushing does no good. Personally, the faster I go the more mistakes I make and the more stress I cause.
My day to day responsibilities and work don’t require speed…quite the opposite in fact, so this has been a bit easier for me to do. When I feel myself speeding up, I take a deep breath and slow my roll!
5. Pause. Kind of in line with slowing down, when I feel the stress building up, I take a quick pause. And when I pause, I breathe and ask myself, “What is the best thing you can do right now?” The answer is never to stress out. So I try not to!
Pausing has also helped to keep what’s important front and center. Most of the things that stress me out will be erased from my memory in five years time (if not less), so why am I letting them consume me right now.
Like I said, you can’t stop stress from trying to creep into your life. But you can find better ways of dealing with it, and that’s exactly what I’ve set out to do! It’s not easy, but it’s 110% worth it. Not only is my husband more appreciative but so is my skin (I’ll leave that for another blog post though!).
What’s one of your tried and true ways to de-stress?