Stress is everywhere. It’s a constant, and even if you could rid your life of surprise hiccups, like broken-down cars or unexpected visits from your in-laws, certain stressors, such as jobs and bills, would inevitably remain. The key, Jessica Stillman of Inc. writes in a post for the Daily Muse, is to “rewire how we respond to [stress] to minimize its negative impact on our lives.”
Easier said than done, right? Luckily, Stillman has some advice. Having read the PsyBlog post “How to Deal With Stress and Anxiety: 10 Proven Psychological Techniques,” she picked the five least conventional stress-beating techniques. These methods may seem counterintuitive, but they’ve been shown to work, so read on and get ready to feel more relaxed.
1. Assess Your Stressors — The first step, Stillman says, is to make yourself aware of what stresses you out. After all, you can’t beat stress until you know where it comes from. One way to figure this out: Make a list of symptoms that come with stress, such as insomnia or dizziness, and keep a journal of when you experience them.
2. Avoid Venting — You may think that screaming at the top of your lungs or breaking a glass will make you feel better, but according to PsyBlog, “venting emotions can actually cause them to become more powerful, rather than allowing them to subside.” By all means, talk to other people about your problems, but avoid blind rage.
3. Change Your Opinion on Stress — What is stress? Yeah, it’s a gnawing feeling in your gut, but it’s also a “response designed to prepare our bodies and minds for taxing situations,” as Stillman writes. At least that’s how we should think of it. If we do, it’ll change our whole perception of stress, and we’ll be less likely to feel crippled by it.
4. Achieve the Right Level of Busyness — This one’s tricky. If you have too much time on your hands, you’ll go crazy. If you’re overtaxed, you’re bound to feel stressed. According to Stillman, you should make a list of activities you enjoy, so that you can begin doing one during moments of anxious inactivity.
5. Think About What’s Actually Troubling You — According to Stillman, our day-to-day stress is often cover for long-term fears. Don’t ignore the big picture. Find time every day to think about your deepest anxieties. This will help you deal with them.