Figuring out ways to destress can feel impossible when you’re in the middle of an anxiety attack.
Your stomach is clenching up, you can barely sleep, and maybe you aren’t even eating. These are some of the physical symptoms I suffer from during bouts of extreme anxiety and stress.
Although these aren’t solutions to the root of what’s making you anxious or stressed, these are methods that can help relieve some of those physical symptoms.
When you feel a little better in the moment, you’re more equipped to handle whatever life is throwing at you.
Here are five ways to destress in five minutes…
1. Write it down, throw it away
Write down whatever it is that’s bothering you and on your mind. Get all of the negativity and worries out of your mind and on to a piece of paper. Then simply crumple it up or rip it to shreds… and throw it away.
The point is to get it out of your mind and vent, even if it’s in written form.
2. Take three deep breaths
Picture breathing in what stresses you out and then exhaling it out into the world. The important part is getting it out of your body.
Pairing that visualization with deep breathing is a quick trick to feel some immediate stress relief.
3. Think of three things that are going well and three things you’re happy about
This may feel like an impossible feat, but you’d be surprised how quickly positive thoughts can float into your mind when you let them. Think of anything that is going well – it can be the simplest of things. Some of the things on my list in the past have been as small as “I got my favorite cookies at the grocery store today” or “my favorite show premieres this week.”
4. Take five min or more to vent about everything on your mind.
Say it all out loud, even if you don’t have anyone you feel comfortable enough to talk with. If you do have someone to talk to, sit down with them or talk to them on the phone. Get it all out of your mind.
5. Don’t wallow in your suffering.
It can be so easy to just bask in the pain. But the best way to feel better is to look forward and slowly coach yourself into feeling better.
For me, I have a tendency of making myself wallow in my suffering as punishment for whatever mistake I’ve made.
That’s not productive. It’s not easy to retrain your mind to let things go and give yourself a break, but it’s worth it.
My mom always tells me that when I was a little kid, she never had to punish me for misbehaving because I would punish myself even worse. I’d lock myself in my room and couldn’t forgive myself, as a five-year-old. I realized that I do the same thing now when I feel I’ve made a mistake, whether it’s self-imposed exile or silencing myself and isolating. I’ve come to a realization that I need to be able to forgive myself for making the wrong choice.
Step into the daylight and let it go. – Taylor Swift in 30 Things I Learned Before Turning 30
My favorite mantra now is “onward. upward. forward.” Because you can’t change what’s already happened. All you can do is try to deal with what’s in front of you… and move onward, upward, and forward.
Start releasing some of that stress from your body and out into the world.
These are my five go-to methods for a quick destress. They aren’t everlasting solutions, but they are effective ways to make yourself feel a little better in the moment… and that’s the best place to start.
Excelsior! Onward & Upward…