The mindfulness mode
Feeling stressed, overwhelmed or anxious? Well, if your answer is “Yes” then you came to the right place. Because we are about to crack the stress code and find some of the most powerful and effective ways to de-stress, relax and calm an anxious mind. So take a deep breath, switch into “the mindfulness mode” and hold tight.
But before I properly begin, I wanted to give a little disclaimer, that talking about stress makes me feel a bit anxious. But, I guess it’s quite normal. Besides, I truly believe that a small amount of anxiety can be actually beneficial for us and serve some positive purposes like such us increasing motivation or boosting productivity levels. It’s all about attitude. I’m telling you.
So, get ready because we are about to discover some serious tips, tricks, and healthy hacks to stress and anxiety relief. Let’s crack the stress code and indulge in sweet relaxation. Shall we?
Detect the source of the problem
Well, the first step when you’re dealing with an issue (in this case it’s stress and anxiety) is to adopt a problem-solving mindset. The one that will help you to get through a tough situation maintaining focus, attentiveness and positive attitude. Without the right mindset, it will be very difficult if not impossible to fight negativity and intrusive thoughts corrupting and manipulating your mind in the state of severe anxiety or panic attack. And we all know how hard is to maintain focus when the worst-case scenarios are playing in head. Even if they are far from any objective reality it not that easy to figure it out.
In order to find the way out, you need to be self-aware, self-conscious and determined to achieve your goal, which is finding the best solution to your problem.
Next step is to identify properly what you’re dealing with. Because, how you define the problem determines whether you solve it or not. The best way to do that is to take a piece of paper and write everything down. Describe in detail what happened, how you feel about it are what are possible solutions to this particular situation. When you do that you will be able to move on to the next stage of the problem-solving process.
Then, as soon as it’s done you can finally identify the causes of the problem, prioritize them, select possible solutions and implement the best option. And then, my friends you can congratulate yourselves! Because you managed to identify properly the problem, detected the source of it, address the issue and then fix it. It’s a big deal because problem-solving ability requires courage and sense of responsibility. So you should be really proud of yourself. Because I am very proud of you!!
Stress is a survival mechanism. It’s an essential part of our daily life. Maybe this sounds irrational, but a small amount of stress is actually good for us. However, if we deal with chronic stress that lasts for an extended period of time it causes serious health problems and can actually contribute to life-threatening diseases. That’s why it is so important to de-stress and relax on a daily basis. Furthermore, rest and relaxation should be an important and solid part of everyone’s daily routine. We live in a hurry convinced that we should be always in motion, constantly productive and motivated and never stop just like the world we live in. And the real problem is that we often mistake relaxation for procrastination. How ridicule is that? Quite a bit, I would say. Of course
So if you’re still with me, hold on because we’re going de-stress and crack the relaxation code.
12 Powerful ways to relax and calm your anxious mind
1. Make relaxation a habit
We are creatures of habit. The more we repeat a certain activity the more natural it becomes. It’s a strategy that helps us go through the day, accomplish our tasks and achieve our goals.
We are what we repeatedly do. Success is not anaction but a habit.” – Aristotle
- Incorporate relaxation in your daily routine
- Relax on purpose
- Plan, plan and plan your relaxation time – remember planning is prevention
- Avoid, if possible things that increase your anxiety and stress levels
2. Accept (radically) what you cannot change
Embrace your reality with kindness, self-compassion, and self-respect.
If you don’t like something, change it. If youcan’t change it, change your attitude. – Maya Angelou
- Accept what you cannot change (I’m still figuring out how to do that)
- Accept your feelings without judging them (It’s OK not to be OK)
- Accept the unpredictability of life
- Make choices that are realistic and set achievable goals
3. Practice gratitude
Did you ever think that the things you take for granted are the things others are praying for? We really don’t pay enough attention to that. We don’t appreciate things that deserve our gratitude the most. We just assume that if we have something, know somebody or experience a certain feeling it will last forever. It won’t. Every second is precious. Never forget about this. Don’t wait until something you love is gone, don’t wait until something precious becomes a past.
- Do the Mirror technique exercise – Stand directly in front of the mirror, look straight into your own eyes and give yourself a pep talk. Reflect on your worth and value.
- Keep gratitude journal
- Express yourself & share your feelings
- Be spontaneous – if you feel the need to tell somebody something just do it!
- Learn to say “thank you” and do it!
- Allow yourself to be vulnerable – don’t be afraid of embarrassing yourself
- Help others selflessly without getting something in return.
- Don’t give up even if someone won’t appreciate you’ve been appreciating them
- Stop taking things for granted – Close your eyes and feel blessed
- Cultivate “dolce far niente” – indulge in pleasant idleness
4. Bring mindfulness into your life
Living in this frantic world and playing by today’s society rules kill our ability to relax, live the present moment and experience the beauty and authenticity of here and now. So let’s stop for a second, take a deep breath and celebrate every single moment of our precious life through:
- Mindful meditation
- Meditation with progressive muscle relaxation
- Breathing exercises
- Practicing Mindful relaxation
- Keep Journaling
5. Give yourself a reality check
When you have catastrophic thinking and worst-case scenarios playing in your head there are actually some easy and effective grounding techniques that will help you to come back to reality.
- Stop, take a deep breath and look around. Ask yourself a question: Is the situation really as bad as you catastrophic thinking tells you?
- Come to your senses – reconnect with reality using your senses. What do you see? Is there any particular flavor you can detect? Can you pinch yourself?
- Be mindful – focus on one, simple activity
- Silence your inner critic
- Give yourself a hug (seriously!)
6. Develop a support system
Building a healthy support system is much more than finding people to talk in a moment of a psychological crisis. Because in a high-stress situation we need to talk to or with a mental health professional or with somebody who we trust and who can understand our feelings and who makes us feel secure.
- Learn to ask for help – sooner or later everyone needs it!
7. Quite anxious thoughts & reduce worrying
- Declutter your mind – Do Mental housekeeping – focus on your mental wellbeing, develop self-awareness and self-acceptance
- Declutter your space – I don’t know about you but honestly, I cannot relax in the middle of the mess.
- Are the intrusive thoughts and worst-case scenarios playing in your head – Say “STOP” – Call the shots, don’t let your anxiety or stress to control you.
- Learn to make decisions especially in tough moments – kick the habit of indecisiveness that only increases your anxiety and stress
- Get rid of negativity
8. Self-care like a boss
Adopt healthy 5 dimension self-care as a holistic approach to your wellbeing.
- Mental – revitalize your mental energy
- Physical – celebrate your body
- Spiritual – nourish your soul
- Emotional – boost your positive emotions
- Social – treat yourself
9. Treat yourself well
Well, if you’re not treating yourself, I’ve got one simple question for you: What are you doing with your life? It’s high time to change this!
- Celebrate your achievements especially the small ones because they lead to a big success
- Go for a date with yourself (create “alone time” routine)
- Practice positive self-talk (start small, get better)
- Listen to some good music – I’m spending my day with Frank Sinatra
- Netflix and chill – Do I need to say any more?
- Have a good laugh – How Self-Initiated Laughter Can Make You Feel Better
10. Holistically speaking
There is nothing wrong with taking medications for depression, anxiety or any other mental health problems. If you take meds don’t feel ashamed or weak because you’re a brave, self-conscious, reasonable and responsible human being! But you can also try some natural and holistic remedies for stress and anxiety.
- Essential oil (chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm, lavender, frankincense, clary sage, jasmine, green tea, rose tea)
- Teas and herbs(green tea, chamomile,
- Food reducing anxiety (Fatty fish, nuts and seeds, leafy greens, Maca root, Blueberries, Dark chocolate, Turmeric, Avocado, Greek yogurt and many more!)
- Supplements (Omega 3, L-lysine, VitamineD)
- Connect with nature – Call me crazy (I
don’tmind because for me it’s a compliment) but I love embracing trees and layingdown in the grass… it makes me feel like a kid again…
11. Sweat the anxiety out
Calm your mind through physical activity. Working out is one of the best ways to get rid of all the accumulated negativity that occupies your mind, body, and spirit. And we’re talking here about difficult emotions, feelings, anger (our favorite secondary emotion) intrusive thoughts, worst-case scenarios playing in your head. Sweat it out!
- Engage yourself ina physical activity to de-stress, overcome anxiety and release worrying (fast cardio, HIIT workout or some heavyweight workout)
- If you’re not into high-intensity workout try yoga, pilates or mindful walking
- Punch your way out– get yourself a punching bag (you can stick someone’s photo to it – gosh, it’s so relaxing); hit pillows or mattress with a tennis racket or just using your fists, lie down on your bed and scissor-kick your feet up and down (sounds crazy but it makes feel so good)
12. Eat, sleep, love
- Eat: Improve your Nutrition – adopt a nutrient-dense food and treat yourself with healthy options, Incorporate superfoods into your diet, Don’t skip breakfast, Reduce caffeine and theine intake
- Sleep: Get quality sleep, Adopt a healthy sleeping routine (LINK) – Sleep is the best medicine
- Love: Spend more time with loved ones, Practise self-love, Engage yourself in positive & pleasurable social situations (go to the theatre, start a new group course, yoga course, organize friend & family dinner)
Crack your stress code and relax!