Last updated on February 13th, 2021 at 06:01 pm
Guest post from Carolyn at Just Breathe Mama
Do you know how you normally react when you are feeling stressed or anxious?
If the answer is no, that’s totally okay!
I’m here to help bring these reactions to your attention and to help you adopt healthy habits that can be game-changing at relieving stress and boosting your mood!
For a long time I was COMPLETELY UNAWARE of my natural reaction to situations where I felt overwhelmed or stressed, which meant that I reacted completely out of habit.
Unfortunately for me, the habits that I had acquired over my lifetime were not very healthy ones; in fact, they were actually putting me into MORE of a frenzy than I was already in. You still with me?
I’ll give you a concrete example — I frequently get overwhelmed with my ‘to-do’ list that seems to be constantly growing (I know you feel me on this!). When I felt this causing me anxiety, I would start rushing around to get everything done. This rushing led to MORE anxious thoughts and physical symptoms; eventually, I’d end up in a breakdown, which was highly unproductive.
I was left feeling more stressed than I had felt in the beginning! In summary, my unhealthy habit of rushing was of NO benefit.
So, what healthy habits can we adopt when we are feeling overwhelmed? Well, I’m here to tell you!
Simple Habits to Reduce Stress and Boost Your Mood When You’re Feeling Anxious
Sleep on it.
I have noticed over time that my worries and feelings of overwhelm often pop up when I’m tired.
It’s during periods of tiredness that my mind more easily exaggerates the problem in front of me and I think ‘I’m NEVER going to be able to get everything done’. This is false!
But, it’s hard explaining this to your tired self who wants to believe everything that your mind is telling it! So, a good habit to adopt is to sleep on it.
I find that getting a solid night’s sleep allows me to wake up with renewed energy and a fresh mindset. The next morning, I often see the ‘problem’ much differently and realize that it wasn’t much of a problem at all. In fact, it is something that I can take small, active steps to deal with. [Also read: The Importance of Sleep and How to Get More Of It]
Do a brain dump.
What the heck is a brain dump!?
If you haven’t tried this before – YOU HAVE TO! I find it super therapeutic for my anxiety.
A brain dump is the idea that you get ALL of the thoughts that are circulating in your brain out onto paper. If you want all the specifics on how to do a brain dump, including a free printable template, then check out my blog post here.
By getting all of your thoughts, to-do’s, feelings, emotions, etc. out onto paper, your brain doesn’t have to mentally try to sort through it. This allows much more time to focus on what is happening in the moment. This small exercise can take two minutes is often extremely therapeutic in itself.
However, you can also take this brain dump one step further (once all of these thoughts are down on paper) by grouping and organizing the information into categories. Visually categorizing all of the information then allows you to prioritize what needs to get done in a timely manner.
There’s nothing like a little fresh air to fix your problems.
Getting outside connects you with nature, and often helps you to gain perspective. It’s often when I’m outside of my ‘bubble’ that I realize that there are bigger problems than what is causing my current stress.
Not only that, going for a walk and taking a few deep breaths of fresh air can bring you into the moment, feel good in your physical body, and distract you from whatever is making you feel stressed or anxious.
Pick up our Free Self-Care Checklist Printable
Meditate for 10 minutes.
Yes, you read that right — meditate!
It’s all the rage these days, and I have become the biggest advocate. Why? Simply put, it works.
If you’ve never tried meditation before and are hesitant to start, check out my blog post, Beginner’s Guide to Meditation.
Meditation has the ability to center and ground your mind on the present moment by paying attention to your breath. It can also leave you feeling a sense of calm.
When I feel anxious or stressed, my thoughts go all over the place — I begin jumping ahead to the future and making stories up in my head about how I will be unable to cope. Or, I’ll ruminate on things that have happened in my past where I reaffirm the thought that ‘I will not be able to cope.’
Meditation takes you away from both the past and the future and trains your brain to be present and mindful. This is beneficial because there’s no amount of stress or worry that you can do to change your past or future self. In the present moment is the only place that we need to live to take actionable steps.
Take a break.
This is the LAST thing that I ever want to do when I’m stressed! ‘ARE YOU CRAZY — take a break when I have one hundred things to do?’
This reminds me of the idea that you should actually get up out of bed when you can’t sleep. At first glance, it seems very counterintuitive.
But I’ll tell you why it works! Giving your brain a rest from all of the inundated thoughts, will allow you to come back to whatever is causing you stress with increased concentration and (hopefully) a change in mindset.
So, grab a book, watch your favorite show, drink tea or listen to some music for a half an hour — because this can actually help to increase your overall productivity!
Embrace all things cozy.
Now this may be more of a personal choice, but there’s nothing that boosts my mood more than getting cozy.
Changing the ‘feel’ of your environmental surroundings can affect how you are feeling internally.
So, putting on sweatpants, dimming the lights and lighting some candles may be just what you need to find your inner calm. Our brain is constantly feeding off of the information it takes in from our five senses, and this is a simple way that things can feel less stressful than they are!
So there you have it my friends, these are a few simple, healthy habits that we can all learn to adopt when we are stressed. The first step is recognizing your natural reactions and then moving forward from there! Please don’t hesitate to comment below if you have any other tips or tricks that help you in stressful times!
Much love, Carolyn
Hey friends, I’m Carolyn! I’m the brains behind Just Breathe Mama, which is a mental wellness blog that teaches overwhelmed women about mind-body connection, a positive mindset and personal growth. I’m a Mom (first), but also a Nurse and a brand spankin’ new Yoga Teacher.
I’ve struggled with perfectionism my whole life, but being diagnosed with Panic Disorder and Generalized Anxiety shook up everything that I thought I knew about myself. I’ve done a lot of research to better my anxiety, and I want to help you too! So hop on over to my website where you can learn to find peace and happiness with your here and now.
Also read —
Glow Up Challenge + 5 Pages of Printables, Including Daily Trackers to Keep You Motivated
Try One of These Stress-Relieving Hobbies
30 Stress-Relief Adult Coloring Books — The Perfect Way to Unwind and Lower Anxiety
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