Life is a roller coaster of ups and downs. We do our best to plan ahead, but the truth is that we can’t avoid every curveball thrown our way.
What we can do is prepare for those hiccups and learn to stay calm through the chaos. And the pros are here to help us do so. Follow their 6 effective tips for dealing with life’s stresses:
1) Learn to be mindful.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker Dr. Sal Raichbach says that practicing mindfulness is an effective coping skill and overall beneficial technique: “Practicing mindfulness is something you can do almost anywhere. All you need is a quiet place and some time. The goal is to center your thoughts and remain in the present. Our fast-paced lifestyle can get us caught up in the future or dwelling on past mistakes, which is both counterproductive and stressful. Using mindfulness meditation techniques, we can bring ourselves back to the moment we are in. This is especially useful when work, school, or life throws you more than you can handle. Just a few minutes of mindful meditation can help you refocus, divide, and conquer whatever life throws at you.”
2) Acknowledge your true feelings.
“In today’s society, people are generally neurotic in the sense that they are disconnected from their true feelings/desires. As a result, many people are unable to move forward when the going gets rough,” explains Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics. “To move past this and get in control of your life, it is necessary to become aware of one’s true feelings. Likewise, it is imperative to learn to embrace solitude and introspection in the hopes of avoiding falling into this menacing trap. That’s why I recommend finding the time and places throughout your life, which are conducive to thought, so that you may learn your insecurities, fears, and shortcomings.”
3) Find your grounding.
Therapist and yoga teacher, Meghan Renzi, recommends you find solid grounding in overwhelming moments. “Grounding is a great way to come back to the present moment when you’re up in your head with anxious thoughts,” she says. “I teach my clients the 5,4,3,2,1 game. In this game, clients observe their present environment—5 things they can see, 4 things, they can hear, 3 things they can tough, 2 things they can smell, and 1 thing they can taste. Coming back into your environment can remind you that in this moment you are okay. I also encourage using grounding objects, like worry stones during times of stress.”
4) Keep a journal.
Rebecca Lee, registered nurse and creator of RemediesForMe.com, says that journaling is another great way to find your center in the midst of chaos. “Keeping a journal is effective at relieving stress and anxiety—and there is no right or wrong way to keep a journal,” she explains. “Writing can help you to sort through hidden and dormant thoughts as well as emotions. Sometimes it’s hard to comprehend what you’re going through, and it may be easier to better understand them when you see it on paper.” Furthermore, “writing down how you’re feeling also provides an outlet for your emotions. Noting past traumas or hurt can help you let go of negative thoughts and help you move onto a happier state.”
5) Think about the ‘why.’
When life gets tough, it can also prove beneficial to think about why you’re in the current situation and why you feel the way that you do, according to Maureen Clancy, licensed clinical social worker: “Make meaning as in a ‘why this is happening’ meaning. Human beings are wired to make meaning of things. When you’re in the middle of tough times, this meaning making can be difficult, but extremely helpful. This gives you a new perspective on why this is happening and the pearls of wisdom that you’re gaining from this time in your life.”
6) Consider a different perspective.
Evanye Lawson, licensed professional counselor, stresses the importance of perspective. “Perspective is everything! You can take the most hectic days and turn them into a good day. Changing your perspective looks like focusing on what is going right. When things get chaotic, it is easy to focus on all the things that didn’t get done, that still need to get done, or if you will have enough time to get it all done. Try focusing on what you are actually doing to get things accomplished on your task list. Focus on what is going right vs. what is going wrong. Focus on the belief that no matter what goes on in the day, you actually got through the day. When you take the time to focus on what’s going right, it can make the chaos look less daunting.”