No matter how organized we are, every one of us experiences stress throughout our lives at one point or another. Some stresses come in small forms, like burnt toast or the details surrounding a minor traffic inconvenience. Some are on a grander scale, like the political state of the country or the health of our loved ones.
There are many theories and books and seminars and TED Talks about ways to combat stress. For some people, it helps to engage their senses. Aromatherapy with a scented candle or bath salts is something that takes all of their cares away. Peeling an orange has been shown to help because of the soothing citrus scent and the distraction that comes from performing the task of peeling the fruit. For others, stress relief might come in the form of a soothing massage. Some people like to unwind with a soothing cup of hot tea. For some people, having a loud solo car concert might be just the thing they need to get on with their day and back to feeling like their old selves.
While some people turn to their favorite sweet or savory comfort foods to relieve stress, it has been proven repeatedly that eating healthier is what works best for fighting depression and anxiety. These foods are called superfoods for a reason, they do wonders for our bodies, both mentally and physically.
It might seem counterintuitive, but sometimes welcoming the stress is a good way to reframe how your body and mind handle it. Remind yourself that stress is inevitable, but it is also temporary. These two factual statements trigger your prefrontal lobe, which puts you in a more logical mindset than letting your amygdala do all the heavy lifting and putting you in a much more emotional state of mind.
Sometimes it helps to give yourself a start and end time to allow yourself a scheduled period to worry about something. That way you can validate yourself and acknowledge that there is something stressful happening in your life, but you also won’t let it control you or dominate the rest of your day.
Sometimes it helps to get out of your own head completely and make a list of all of the things you are grateful for. Gratitude lists are great for giving you a fresh perspective on any given situation.
Some people think they can tough it out alone but it’s surprising how much it can help to reach out to someone for a feeling of connection. Even if it’s a work colleague, just forcing yourself to laugh and enjoy a lighthearted conversation might actually make you feel better in the long run.