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  • Brandi Sweet, CSW

3 Ways to Deal with Stress

Do you ever feel overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious? Welcome to the club!

The reality is that we all deal with stress on a daily basis, whether we are rich, poor, small, large, young, or old. While some stress can be helpful and natural, it becomes harmful when it extends beyond a feeling and seeps into too many aspects of one's life.

Most of us live our lives in a constant rush from one task or event to the next. Often we are so worried about what will happen next or what has already happened, that we rarely spend time allowing ourselves to be fully present in the moment.

Mindfulness can help lower stress and enhance one's ability to deal with everyday struggles. Mindfulness can help you regulate your emotions in a way that takes you a step back from intense negative emotions. It can help you be more present, aware of emotions and experiences, and accepting of yourself and circumstances. Being mindful can decrease anxiety and depressive feelings. This leads to feeling better and being more effective in life.

Try it out – here are 3 things you can do next time you feel stressed:

1) Breathe

Breathing is among the most common ways to become more mindful. Breathing can help once slow down and notice what is happening in their present life.

To start, find a comfortable place to sit, lay, or stand. Inhale slowly through your nose and exhale long and slow through your mouth. Notice your breathe and the sensations that you have in your body while you breathe (the air moving through your nose, your stomach rising and falling). You will likely notice that as you breathe, you start to feel more calm. Try doing four slow breaths in a row to get the full effect.

2) Mindfulness is not always about breathing and relaxing. It is also about being present enough in the moment to observe the world around us. Most of us are so busy with life that we often miss much of it. When we are mindful, we take time to intentionally notice our environment.

To start, spend one minute noticing whatever is present in front of you. For example, if you were to do this while eating a peach, you might notice the colors on the skin – the yellow and pink shades, the fuzz before you wash it off, the smooth texture as you wash off the fuzz, the sound as you bite into it and that first taste of sweetness your tongue. The peachy-sweet smell. Notice the colors, textures, smells, and taste of your food while you slow down and savor the experience.

Some people set a goal; at morning break they look out the window and notice the beauty of the mountains, the clear blue sky, the fluffy white clouds, or the flowers . This is a great time to take a deep breath and take in the beauty.

3) Appreciate

Mindfulness not only helps us to slow down and become more aware, it can also help us feel more grateful and appreciative. This is because once we do slow down, things start to emerge in life that we were once too overworked and distracted to notice.

Try taking time at the end of your day to acknowledge 3 things that you appreciate.

Mindfulness is a skill. Like other skills (sports, writing, languages, etc.), it takes time and practice to get the full effect. Regular daily practice is key. When we take time to become more present, we can feel happier and healthier. If you are interested in reading more I recommend the book/ audio: Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn or the CD: Guided Mindfulness Meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Or call RCT Counseling @ 801-455-0361, for an individual or group session. Have a great and Mindful day! o

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