Sometimes I have moments in my life when I stress too much, I’m sure we all have them. Small amounts of stress in particular situations may be motivating, but when I’m in a stressful situation for more than one day, it starts to eat me from inside, and I begin to worry about everything, even about things that normally I wouldn’t care about. When this process begins it’s really difficult for me to stop it. Even making lists and organizing everything doesn’t help.
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It’s very important to learn how to get rid of stress, or at least reduce it a little bit. Stress can be very destructive if we don’t manage it well, and it can affect all aspects of our lives. Our effectiveness at work drops down, we don’t care much about enjoying life, instead, we switch to a surviving mode, just waiting for each day to end. We get annoyed very easily, and it affects people around us, especially our friends and family.
I think these words of Dalai Lama are very accurate:“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it's not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”
― Dalai Lama XIV
If anything can help in difficult situations, it’s only clear and peaceful mind. I know it’s easy to say, that’s why if there’s any chance to make yourself feel better it’s worth trying.
Over the years I’ve tried many methods. I don’t have one and only, that works always and for everyone. I noticed that all of those methods help me a little bit, and in different ways. I always combine a couple of them.
1. Relaxing music.
I don’t mean sounds of nature and singing birds (although they’re relaxing too). You know which songs get to you, and really make your heart grow. Sit or lay down alone, get comfortable and do nothing but listening to music. Close your eyes and enjoy it.
2. Have a getaway.
If there’s a possibility, sometimes it’s best to cut yourself from everything and just go. It may not solve the actual problem, but if for example your problem is work-related, and you’ve got a weekend off, there’s nothing you can do about it anyway. The best thing you can do is to charge your batteries.
3. Go to a cinema.
Pick a movie that most probably you’re going to enjoy. If you’re really interested in a movie it will help you to forget about everything for a moment. Also, the atmosphere in a cinema helps not to get distracted easily. You can also do a movie night at home. Turn off all lights, make some popcorn and get comfortable. Pick your favorite movie and enjoy it. It may not be your cup of tea, but for me, the most relaxing are movies of Studio Ghibli - the pictures, the music, the stories - it gets to me every time. My all-time favorites are Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle.
4. Do something you really enjoy.
It must be YOUR favorite thing to do. Sometimes when people see me stressed they want to help me by taking me to a party, and having drinks until I forget about everything. Or they say that I should have some company to relax. Well, I’m very grateful for people who care about me, and I’m sure they’ve got the best intentions, but their ways of relaxing don’t suit me well. I really love to spend my time at home, playing games and drinking coffee or tea, that’s fun to me. Also, I’m more on an introvert side so I enjoy being by myself. It took me some time to understand that there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just who I am. So if you relax being around people - that’s fine. If you prefer being alone - that’s fine too.
5. Challenge yourself.
Get your mind busy with something else than your problems. It may be puzzles, crosswords, quizzes or check out The Challenge Book on this blog.
I’ve read a lot about meditation, but I didn’t realize how powerful it is when it comes to relaxation until I’ve actually tried it. I’m not an expert in this field, so I won’t write about it much in here, it’s better to learn from professionals. Type in “how to meditate” in your browser and you’ll find instructions that will work for you.
Many studies show that exercising has very positive influence on our mental health. Apart from scientific stuff, I can feel that when I exercise regularly I feel better overall, but what I like the most is when I go to the gym, put on some good music and focus on exercising - I forget about everything else in that time.
8. Take a bath.
I know that this method is the main point of every article, post, and video about reducing stress. Maybe it is overused as a miracle cure for everything but what can I say if that actually works for me? I love a hot bath with bubbles, bath salt, essential oils with lights turned off, surrounded by candles and listening to music or watching YouTube videos. It helps to relax my muscles, which may be tense when I’m stressed.
9. Get advice from people who inspire you.
If you’ve got someone who you like to listen to and you think that someone has something valuable to say make use of that when you’re stressed. I really like watching videos of Marie Forleo and Pick Up Limes recently I really liked the book "God never blinks" by Regina Brett.
10. Read a book.
I’ve read many times that detaching yourself from all electronic devices helps to calm down and have a good night sleep. Sometimes I feel like it’s really what I need - after working on a computer all day, using my phone during breaks and watching TV after work, my eyes and brain are just tired.
What are your favorite ways to relax?
What are your favorite ways to relax?