During these difficult times it is so easy to get caught in fear and anxiety. below I have provide some ways to help you deal with these feelings.
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Dealing with stress
Ideas for managing stress
|Become knowledgeable about stress Identify your major sources of stress. Anticipate stressful periods and plan for them. Develop a number of constructive strategies and practice them.||Come to terms with your feelings Do not suppress your feelings: acknowledge them to yourself and share them with others. Learn to be flexible and adaptable.|
|Develop effective behavioural skills Do not use the words ‘can not’ when you actually mean ‘will not. Use free time productively Be assertive. Avoid blaming others for situations. Provide positive feedback to others. Learn to say no. Acknowledge problems as soon as they appear.||Develop a lifestyle that will strengthen you against stress Maintain correct weight. Regularly practise some form of exercise vigorous, stretching, and recreational. Engage regularly in some form of systematic relaxation. Use alcohol and caffeine in moderation or not at all. Avoid the use of tobacco. Avoid foods high in sugar, salt, white flour, saturated fats, and chemicals. Plan your use of time both daily and on a long-term basis. Seek out variety and change of pace.|
|Thinking skills Challenge your ‘musts’ and ‘shoulds’ . Don’t jump to conclusions. Dwell on the positives rather than the negatives.||Establish and maintain a strong support network Ask for direct help, and be receptive to it when it is offered. Rid yourself of dead or damaging relationships. Tell the participants of your support network that you value the relationship.|
I believe journaling is a way to access your inner thoughts and to find answers to lingering problems in your life. Through journaling, your hand reaches into the depths of the self and allows for free expression.
Think about how often you have been asked how you were and you automatically responded with “Fine.” How many times were you really fine, or worse, couldn’t really say how you were feeling?
In a world where people are so busy they take their cell-phones to the beach on their “vacations” and the laptop into the bathroom, journaling can be the perfect way to take inventory of yourself and your feelings, resolve conflicts, make decisions and bring clarity to your life as well as to record your personal spiritual journey.
Don’t let a lack of time get in the way of your writing practice. Get up a few minutes early. Stay up a few minutes later. Hide in the bathroom if you have to. But make writing a priority, a ritual, a practice of self-care and nurturing.
First, kick the editor, the parent, the critic and the teacher out of the room. Then take a few deep breaths. Close your eyes. What images come to you? Write about them. What feelings are closest to the surface? Record them. Write quickly, honestly, deeply and without hesitation. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar or penmanship. Keep the doors open to intuition and creativity. If you get stuck, write the last word you wrote over and over until another comes to you.
Some Benefits of Keeping a Journal
- Reduces stress
- Sets goals
- Helps focus
- Can improve well-being
- Makes time for you
- Creates a personal reminder
- Brings new insights
- Can find answers to your questions
The beauty of keeping a journal is that it is your book. You get to choose not only when to write, but what to write.
Three minute breath
1. Awareness: Ask yourself the question: How am I doing right now? Focus your attention on your inner
perception. Notice which thoughts, feelings and physical sensations you are experiencing. Try to translate
your experiences into words. For example: “there are self-critical thoughts” or “I notice I am tensed”. What are
you feeling in your body? Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling in the current moment. Accept it. You can
tell yourself that it’s okay what you’re feeling, whatever is there is fine just the way it is.
2. Breathing: Next focus your full attention on your breath. Follow the breathing with your attention.
3. Expansion of attention: Allow your attention to expand to the rest of your body. Feel how your breath moves
throughout your whole body. With every in-breath you can feel how your body expands a little and with each
out-breath how it shrinks a little.
NB: During this exercise, your attention might get distracted by certain thoughts or feelings. Simply notice this. You can decide to observe these thoughts and feelings for a while and then return your attention to your breath or your body.
Ruminators repetitively go over and over events asking questions like “why did that happen? Will this ever end? I don’t know how to change this situation”.
Research has shown long term over-thinking (ruminating) causes depression and anxiety.
Here are some tips to help bring it back within your control.
Write it Down see journalling above
Try writing all your thoughts on a piece of paper then burn it.
Categorize your thoughts based on urgency; then try the traffic light system.
• Green = urgent…needs doing today.
• Amber = could wait a few days.
• Red = not that important.
• When you are avoiding doing something you want to do.
• Jumping from one idea to the next.
Be Mindful of Rumination
Stop. Take some time to notice your thoughts. Try naming them, like here is a worry thought, here is a planning thought; then let them drift by.
• Practicing mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment
without getting caught in your thoughts.
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way;
on purpose, in the present moment,
Stop! Stop! Stop!
Use this CBT technique to interrupt your thoughts by saying STOP! STOP! STOP! out loud.
Try distracting yourself by doing something that takes your mind off the repetitive thoughts.
• Walking and noticing your surroundings or if you having t stay in then be mindful of what you are doing like washing the dishes.
• Your favourite hobby
Choose a Time
If you have to worry, than set aside, say, 10 minutes to worry. The rest of the day remind yourself consciously “this is not my time to worry about this”.
Use a focused breath like the 5/7 breathing technique…
breath in slowly through the nose to a count of five then out through the nose to a count of seven. Repeat this for 5 minutes.
All or Nothing Thinking
Or thinking in black and white terms.
- “It’s always been this way, nothing will change”
- “I am a terrible person”
- “I’m a failure”
Try and recognise the messages you are saying to yourself, then look for an alternative way of thinking about the situation that’s more positive.
You can carry on beating yourself up over something you did wrong or you can let it go and move on. You have a choice.
Imagine a pleasant scene or experience. Close your eyes and play it in your mind like a movie. Connect with all the senses like colour, sound, smell and most important, feelings.
- Engage in activities that foster positive thoughts.
- Control – Is the problem within your control? If not, nothing will be gained by agonising over how to change or control it. Think of ways to ‘manage’ it instead and how to work with the problem.
- Make a list of the things that are bothering you. Then categorise your worries as to which ones you can actually do something about. Develop small, do-able action-based goals to tackle the problems where you can take action.
- You are always going to feel better when you are taking concrete steps towards resolving problems as opposed to just worrying about them.
- Have a favourite photo you can look at to remind yourself of the nice things in your life.
- If you have to stay in the why not catch up on those jobs you have been putting off.
- Spend time learning mediation to still the mind, you can download a recording here https://drive.google.com/file/d/1aUaXrz46RBVcmMhw6f52Ub49sI1cWVCT/view?usp=sharing