Showing posts with label how to be happier. Show all posts
Showing posts with label how to be happier. Show all posts

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Quick Recovery from Stress or Negative Thoughts

Did you smile today? Why not give it a try?
Everyone feels down sometimes, and we all have to deal with stressful situations.  Whether you are feeling overwhelmed by politics, world events, bad health, the death of a loved one, or a problem in your family, it is beneficial to know a few tricks to help you quickly improve your mood and put your worry aside, even if only for a short time.

No matter what you are dealing with, WebMD pulled together a list of suggestions to help you feel better in under 15 minutes.  Below is a brief summary of their tips, and some ideas on how they can be applied in your life.  Don't limit yourself to these suggestions.  Be flexible and creative.  Think of your own ways to make these tips work for you. 

Meditation -  This practice scares some people who believe they cannot "empty their mind."  In truth, that is not even necessary.  All you have to do is make some time for yourself, relax, close your eyes, and breath.  You may find it helpful to count while you do it ... for example, inhale for 5 seconds, hold, and then exhale for 7 seconds.  While you are busy counting, you cannot focus on your worries at the same time. Some people find it easier to pray than meditate. In fact, prayer can be very meditative, especially when you use a repetitive prayer for a period of time. When meditating, do not worry if you doze off.  It shows you are relaxing.  You will feel amazingly calmer after this practice, as well as more positive and patient.

Spend time outdoors - Sunshine and fresh air are perfect antidotes for the blues.  You do not have to do anything extraordinary.   You can work in your garden, take a walk in the park, or even just relax on your patio watching the birds and little animals that make their home in your backyard.  Time outdoors can give you more energy, improve your memory, and make you less anxious.

Laugh often and easily -  What makes you laugh?  Do you enjoy silly pet videos online?  What about jokes and cartoons?  Do you have a favorite sitcom or movie you like to watch?  Researchers have found that even the act of faking a smile can make you feel better. A real, genuine laugh can do even more!  It can brighten your day, release feel-good endorphins, and stimulate your heart, lungs and muscles.

If you enjoy reading uplifting, positive books, an excellent choice is "10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works" by Dan Harris. (Ad)

Make a Gratitude List - Reminding yourself of the good things in your life and around the world is a great way to improve your mood.  If someone in your life has upset you, writing down all the good things about that person can have a positive effect on that relationship.

Practice compassion - When other people repeatedly upset you, it can be very helpful to pray for them.  If you prefer not to pray, simply think about them and mentally send them good wishes for their health and happiness.  Doing this will help you feel better about yourself and may improve your relationship with that other person.

Take a Walk - This simple activity can improve your mood, reduce your stress, and increase your creative thinking.  The exercise will flood your body, including your brain, with oxygen.  It strengthens your muscles. And, as mentioned above, spending time outdoors comes with its own benefits.

Listen to your favorite music - Are you getting stressed from watching the news, or is something in your life causing you to worry about the future?  Turn off the news and distract yourself from your worries by tuning in to your favorite music.  Whether it is soft and soothing, or loud and energetic, it is sure to take your mind off negative events.  If it moves you to dance, or you decide to sing along, it will have even more benefits.

Do something productive - We all have that mental list of little tasks which need to be completed, but we never quite get around to doing.  Accomplishing something simple, such as making a necessary phone call, answering an email, or making a small home repair, can make you feel so much better about yourself.
When I was raising my children, a parenting tip I learned was to never ask a young child to "clean their room."  That was too broad a task and could overwhelm them.  Instead, ask them to pick up and put away five or ten items.  Then, check the room and, if necessary, help them put away a few more things.  Before my children knew it, the room was clean, and we had finished the task without a temper tantrum.  Today, I still use the same "trick" on myself.  Instead of telling myself I need to put away that big pile of laundry, address that stack of Christmas cards, or clean out my closet, I tell myself to just do ten small things.  I have found that once I have finished that task, I will usually just keep going and complete the job!  If it is more than I can finish in one day, I remind myself of how much less I will have to do the next day. Doing something productive makes us all feel better about ourselves at any age!

Connect with other people - People who spend too much time by themselves are more likely to be lonely and depressed.  The best defense against these feelings is to reach out to other people.  Call someone or arrange a video meeting with your family or a small group of friends.  Send a birthday card, email, or text to friends and family members.  You will feel happier and you will build up your support system, which is invaluable if something goes wrong and you need help.  Even during times when we must quarantine because of a pandemic, it is important that we reach out to others and put in the effort to maintain our relationships.

Eat healthy snacks - You will have more energy and have a better outlook if you enjoy fruit, nuts and whole grains for your snacks, rather than sugary drinks and cookies.

Help someone else - Need a real boost to your self esteem?  Do something for someone else.  Volunteer, even if you just make calls from home. Donate to a charity. Drop off a plate of cookies to a neighbor. Help a relative get through a difficult time. Smile at people you pass in the street.  If you are wearing a facemask, give them a little wave or nod of the head.  When we lift up other people, we lift up ourselves.

Stretch - Yoga is considered a healthy way to reduce your stress and supply your muscles with the food and oxygen they need.  If yoga sounds too difficult for you, just take some time each day to stretch all the muscles in your body, while taking deep breaths.  It will relax them, loosen them up and it is a great way to start your day!

Hug someone - During the Covid-19 pandemic, and whenever there is a contagious disease going around, one of the activities people miss the most is the simple act of hugging their loved ones.  One study even says that hugging can increase our immune system.  So, as long as you are at home with your immediate family and it feels safe, enjoy that hug!

Focus on your self-talk - Are you overly critical of yourself whenever something goes wrong?  Make a list of positive mantras to use instead of that negative self-talk.  Tell yourself that everyone makes mistakes.  You will do better next time.  It was not a big deal.  You're still a good person. Those types of statements will turn your day around.  One positive statement which I particularly like is "It is never too late to start your day over."  It is a great way to put your troubles behind you, especially if you are feeling guilty over loosing your temper or getting upset about a minor issue.

Send thank you notes - This is a wonderful way to become more grateful for the good things in your life.  I also like to keep a stack of "Thinking of You" cards on hand, to send to people I have not heard from in a long time.  Everyone likes to receive a personal, hand-written note once in a while!

If you keep some of these actions in mind, you will find that you can reduce your stress and turn those negative thoughts around!
Do not forget to be creative and find your own little ways to inspire and uplift yourself.  Read books that cause you to smile, make you happier, or inspire you. A good place to start is "10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works" by Dan Harris. (Ad)

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