Stress is something weâ€™re all familiar with. Whether it’s stress related to a specific eventâ€”such as preparing for a presentation at workâ€”or stress thatâ€™s chronic and perpetual, stress can be both good and bad. For those who are suffering from chronic stress or acute stress that gets in the way of health and happiness, adopting strategies for reducing stress is important. Consider a few of the following strategies for reducing stress, and reach out to our therapists at Evolution Counseling for additional help and guidance.
Meditation is one of the most effective ways of reducing stress. Meditation is something that you can do with a professional as part of a group setting, using an app (there are both free and paid meditation apps available), or on your own. While there are different forms of meditation available, most meditation focuses on mindfulnessâ€”the practice of being focused on, or mindful of, the present.
Another easy way to calm yourself in the moment and help your mind and body cope with stress is to practice deep breathing. Like meditation, there are many different techniques for deep breathing. One example that many people find effective is square breathing. With square breathing, you will breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of four, breathe out for a count of four, hold for a count of four, and repeat (changing the number of seconds based on your comfort). You can also try breathing in deeply for three seconds, holding for one, and then exhaling for three.
If you are experiencing anxiety or a high level of stress at the moment and are having racing thoughts that are feeling overwhelming, distracting yourself can be positive. Try dance, art, music, or another creative form of expression. Distraction can be even simplerâ€”try naming five things in the room that are a different color or start with a different letter.
Meditation, deep breathing, and distraction are all fast-acting strategies that can work at home or on the go. For developing longer-term health and well-being, consider your diet. Eating poorly can lead to greater reactivity toward stress. A diet that is well-balanced and focuses on non-processed, low-sugar, whole foods can help you to combat stress over time.
Like eating well, regular exercise is a great way to manage stress and improve mental and physical health. Depending on your activity level, this can be 30 minutes of walking daily, or it can involve more intense exercises.
Another long-term strategy for combating stress is developing positive habits related to self-talk. Talk to yourself in a way that is compassionate, patient, and understandingâ€”the way a good friend or loved one might speak to you.
In addition to the above, working with a therapist is a great way to manage stress. At Evolution Counseling, we provide therapy services for individuals and families. Reach out to us today by phone or online to schedule your first appointment.
We welcome any and all questions! For anything that may require a general response feel free to leave a message and we will respond in a timely manner. For questions specifically for our clinicians, please call our office.