By Dr. Rachel Goldman
Stress happens. No one is immune to it, and no matter what we do, stress is going to continue to happen. The key is to learn ways to destress in the moment when we are feeling overwhelmed, or when things get to be too much. Below are 5 ways I encourage my clients to destress when they start to feel overwhelmed.
1. Pause and take a break, or a mini time-out. We tend to go-go-go and unfortunately because of our busy lives, we often miss signals that our brain and body are giving us to slow down. By pausing, we can ground ourselves and learn ways to respond as opposed to react out of emotion. While you are taking this break, it is helpful to do a breathing exercise, or another mindfulness exercise, to help you focus on the present.
2. Focus on what you can control.During stressful situations, we often have those “what-if” thoughts, which is focusing on the future and what has not happened yet, or the “should have, would have, could have” thoughts, which is focusing on the past. Both of these type of thoughts are focusing on things that are out of our control. There will always be things out of our control, but there are also always things in our control.
3. Write down your thoughts.When we are feeling stressed or anxious, we often have racing thoughts. This is a great time to take a moment and jot those thoughts down. Remember thoughts are just thoughts, not facts! By writing them down, this allows us to clear up some space in our brain, to allow space for other things, like being present.
4. Make a list. Many times, we also repeat things to ourselves over and over again so we don’t forget them, such as our to-do list. By simply writing those lists down, it decreases the stress because we can now visually see what we have do and this makes it feel less overwhelming, and allows us to feel more in control. Now we can prioritize our list and start crossing things off, which always feels good and allows us to feel accomplished.
5. Practice self compassion.There’s a lot going on right now. Be kind to yourself and know that this is not easy, but also not impossible. It takes practice and patience, but you can do it.
I always recommend that we have a toolbox full of tools readily available that we can pull from when we need. In addition, getting sufficient sleep, eating well and moving your body on most days is critical to supporting stress levels. In addition, I always encourage that we have supplements in our toolbox to support us and our wellbeing. Some of the supplements that I recommend are Rae’s Multivitamin, DeStress Capsules and Focus Drops.