Advertising
Advertising

Published on February 26, 2020

11 Ways to Handle Stress Wisely

11 Ways to Handle Stress Wisely

As the number one killer of men and women, stress is the root cause of many diseases, from cancer to heart disease. Left unaddressed, stress has a crushing force that, over time, can lead to ugly repercussions. From frequent headaches to regular fatigue, symptoms will come pouring in if you don’t learn how to handle stress wisely. [1]

We can’t always prevent or avoid stress, but how you conduct your lifestyle can radically reduce it. Instead of viewing every problem as a massive explosive strapped to your body, it’s worth it to slow your thoughts down and recognize that nobody is a superhuman.

If your stress is coming from your job or career, try to find ways to appreciate the little things as opposed to viewing everything as a puzzle to solve. How you approach communication and problem solving will make an enormous difference.

It’s easy to be absent minded in tense moments and act or respond impulsively when issues arise. Stress accumulates because we allow things to fester and don’t effectively sort out various dilemmas in our daily lives.

Mindfulness is the key to successfully navigating stressful situations. While stress fogs our brains, an open mind leaves room for new insights we otherwise might not have considered, so it’s important to keep our minds free of unnecessary mental clutter.

Every system of the body responds to stress, so learning how to respond positively can have numerous benefits. With that in mind, here are eleven ways to handle stress wisely.

1. Ease Into Your Day

Before you even get out of bed in the morning, give yourself some time to meditate. Focus on your breath and get unnecessary thoughts out of your head to change the way you think and perceive situations or events.

Beginning your day by easing into it in utter silence will enhance your performance at work and keep you calm enough to adequately process chaotic or busy moments.

Advertising

Avoiding a muddled mind will improve your ability to accomplish tasks and execute them to completion at an optimal level. A clear mind promotes effective cognitive processing and assessing, so if you work in a hectic environment, it helps if your thoughts and actions naturally calm you down.

2. Consider Self-talk

Self-talk, when done correctly, can give you just the confidence you need to tackle any hardships you may encounter at work or home.

Affirmations are a form of self-talk and include reminding yourself that you are where you need to be, that you can handle anything that comes your way, and that you’re a fast learner. If everything feels difficult, remind yourself that, with time, what was once so challenging will become second nature.

Self-talk can serve you as a remedy for boosting your mood when you’re feeling low or like you just can’t cope. How you speak with and interact with yourself should align with how you interact and speak with others.

Anxiety is often self-induced by our thoughts and internal dialogue. What and how you think creates a ripple effect in your communications with others. Self-talk may be just what you need to overcome challenging obstacles in your day-to-day life.

3. Be Honest With Yourself

Being honest with your friends, peers, and colleagues is one thing, but being honest with yourself is quite another. Telling yourself the truth when you’ve goofed up or made an already difficult situation worse might be a tough hurdle to overcome, but doing so can help your mind handle stress more efficiently.

If you’re prone to worsening your own stress, be honest with yourself about it and determine to work on it. Using mindfulness and grounding techniques, you can overcome your tendencies toward stress before, during, and after life events and difficult situations.

4. Omit Unimportant Details

Unimportant details might include worrying that a friend, colleague, or boss has it in for you, that you could have done this or that better, or that you’re not exactly where you want to be in any given moment. All of these nagging thoughts are just your mind entertaining unimportant details that you don’t need to indulge.

Advertising

Our own thoughts have the power to completely inundate us with pointless or even silly concerns, so omitting them can be key when learning how to handle stress.

Have you ever found yourself in a stressful situation at work and later found yourself ruminating until your head ached? This needless mental torture is a surefire way to drain all of your energy. Instead, omit the ruminations and focus on the positive aspects of your day.

5. Become a Pro at Assessing Situations

When things get chaotic, it can be difficult to appropriately assess all that’s going on. One way individuals exacerbate their stress is by acting impulsively or doing something absentmindedly. It’s not uncommon to misinterpret rapidly unfolding situations, so moving and responding mindfully and slowly can be beneficial.

Even in the core of chaos, pull yourself together and create a system. Find ways to be skilled in assessing situations in the moment by slowing your mind and thoughts down with your breathing.

Being mindful not to throw fuel on an already raging fire will allow you to find the next best thing to do. If we can do that, we can drastically improve our ability to handle stress.

6. Learn How to Self-compromise

Practicing self-compromise means that you are willing to accept stress as an unavoidable part of life that you can work with without being overthrown or dictated by it. A wise mind knows that stress doesn’t have to hold the reigns.

Self-compromise is an empowering skill to acquire — you’re accepting something as is while deciding not to be controlled by it.

7. Visualize Scenarios to Apply in the Present and Future

Visualization is a great resource for those struggling with anxiety or stress. Before going to work, visualize yourself having a successful day and create a plan for yourself.

Advertising

Fear of failure often contributes to stress and anxiety, so visualizing situations of success has the ability to change how you function in your day-to-day life. It can be a weapon for combating stress before its onset.

Before you have to perform at work, visualize yourself reaching your desired outcome. [2]

8. Maintain a Problem-solving Mindset

In difficult matters at home or work, maintaining a problem-solving mindset will keep your creative juices flowing, and you’ll be quick and effective in your responses.

You will also set yourself up for success by not viewing issues or problems as if they are large mounds of tangled thread. Instead, when something comes up, imagine yourself solving the problem quickly. Maintaining this frame of mind will put you in the driver’s seat as opposed to stress driving over you.

9. Let Go of What You Can’t Control

Another way stress accumulates is through our desperation to steer the ship of our circumstances and outcomes. The only thing you have control over is your behavior, responses, and how you navigate life in the right direction.

Train yourself to let go of the things you have no control over. Instead of trying to make problems disappear, take control of how to handle stress when you face those problems. This will naturally point you in a better direction.

10. Seek Simplicity

Every aspect of life has its complications, from relationships to work to how we spend our free time. Our thoughts naturally spiral and blow everything out of proportion, causing us to over-analyze situations, so learning how to reign this in and handle the stress it causes is crucial.

The simplest thing to do when this happens is to breathe. Relaxed breathing can intervene and bring your thoughts back to a more concrete and accurate place from which to work. [3]

Advertising

11. Don’t Internalize Stressors

It’s not uncommon to take someone else’s worries, burdens, fears and make them our own. On the other hand, we regularly keep our own stressors locked away and baking on high temperatures, which creates a quick route to burnout.

If you notice yourself holding on to a stressful situation, try an activity such as writing in a journal or completing a “brain dump,” the act of emptying the mind of troublesome or recurring thoughts by putting them into a different medium.

Drawing boundaries with those around you can also help to avoid internalizing stressors. If you don’t want someone handing you their problems, create some distance or vocalize your concerns.

The Bottom Line

Stress can be far more destructive than we realize. More importantly, it can kill the joy in our work and hobbies and destroy our overall well-being if left unchecked. You have the power to take back control and not be consumed by stress. Maintaining a wise, open mind can eliminate stress from your life and allow you to take back control.

Learn to quiet obsessive or unnecessarily repeated thoughts using meditative breathing and grounding techniques. Focus on the present moment and do so with the goal of keeping things simple.

Instead of letting stress consume you, learn how to handle it wisely and experience the benefits of a life lived with less worry.

More Tips to Restore Energy and Reduce Stress

Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Tessa Koller

Author, Motivational Public Speaker and Artist

9 Happy Habits That Will Change Your Outlook and Your Life How to Work Towards a Healthy Life Balance 11 Ways to Handle Stress Wisely How Many Hours of Sleep Do I Need? (What the Science Says) 10 Ways to Step Up Your Personal Growth and Succeed in Life

Trending in Restore Energy

1 How to Deal with Stress at Work in Times of Corona 2 Benefits of Having a Pet: Why Keeping Pets Gives You Positive Energy 3 7 Signs You’re Burnt Out (And How to Bounce Back) 4 Why Am I Exhausted? The Real Causes and How to Fix It Forever 5 20 Best Guided Meditations for Sleep and Insomnia

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 3, 2020

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life. To control your thoughts means to influence the way you live your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affects your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive, and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Be someone who can control your thoughts—become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have a few thoughts that are not of my choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in control of your thoughts.

If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create unhealthy and unproductive thoughts.

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words—many times your parents
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples’ expectations
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance, and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is youwhy else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future—in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear, which is often irrational and has no basis. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

Advertising

3. The Reactor or Troublemaker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration, and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

This person can be set off by words or feelings and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control. He is run by past programming that no longer serves you—if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity, and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You can control your thoughts, but you must pay attention to them so you can identify “who” is running the show—this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind.

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go-to” thoughts in applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

1. For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

Advertising

You can also have a dialogue with yourself to discredit the ‘voice’ that created the thought—if you know whose voice it is:

“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready.

This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

2. For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally, and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind, and creates anxiety in the body. This may make it more difficult for you to control your thoughts effectively.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above-stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time, you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense. Both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Advertising

Now, take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like! Do it until you feel that you’re close to being in control of your thoughts.

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

For example: If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place.

Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

3. For the Troublemaker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers. But until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain.

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds—just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize. Now, you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior, and you’ll be more in control of your thoughts.

Advertising

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

4. For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher, and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with a replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and thoughts, and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method, I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (closed, of course). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon
  • Shut down your thinking
  • Calm your feelings
  • Simply focus on the present moment

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable, and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. You can be in control of your thoughts. The choice is yours!

More About Mental Strength

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Read Next