Listen…stress has been trying to be my best friend since the end of last year. Every time I turn around it’s all up in my space, threatening me with its heavy burdens. The other afternoon I made plans to head home immediately after I finished my work, change into some workout clothes, and get to my exercise class on time. Well…..I did make it home, but I didn’t get a chance to put on any workout clothes. As soon as I stepped over my threshold, I was greeted with water all over my kitchen and living room floor - saturating my beautiful rugs and internet router. My first reaction was “are you kidding me!?”….and I let myself have that moment. Then I exercised one of my stress-fighting tactics and looked on the bright side. I began to think about the other tragic things that could have happen but didn’t. My mood was instantly lifted, and I began to rectify the situation as best as I could.
Chaos doesn’t stop. Life will continuously happen. Just as the sun comes up, it’s a pretty good chance some crap will come up with it. Therefore we must learn how to manage most of our stress because life is on a roll, and it’s not slowing down any time soon. In case you’re still struggling with ways to control your stress, maybe some of the 10 tactics I’m using to manage my stress will give you ideas. Check it out below.
I’m not viewing everything as a stressful situation - At one point in my life, every bump in the road seemed like a stressful situation BECAUSE I MADE IT ONE!!! I would often make a small issue bigger than it needed to be. Now days, if it’s something that hasn’t harmed me or my loved ones or jeopardized my livelihood, I take it with a grain of salt. Delayed flight? No worries, I’ll get there when I’m supposed to. Missed opportunity? It wasn’t meant. Late getting to an event to no fault of my own? Guess I wasn’t supposed to be there at a certain time. It’s too many inconveniences happening throughout the day to make a big fuss about all of them. So when it comes to this stress thing, I’m choosing my battles wisely.
Sometimes I do nothing - Every now and then I stress myself out more when I try to find a solution to an already stressful situation. These days, if it’s out of my control, I try to leave it alone and let it work itself out. When we take our hands off of certain situations, the Creator then intervenes on our behalf. This is where the serenity prayer comes in handy (google it if you need to).
I’m being grateful - When something crazy happens, I always try to be grateful for the simple fact that it could have been worse. I think about people who’ve gone through far more trying times, and suddenly my problems seem trivial. Gratitude forces me to nix my complaining and count my blessings.
I give myself a moment - We get so caught up in trying to be the ultimate positive person that we forget we are real humans with real emotions. Sometimes when we are hit with an unfamiliar occurrence, our first reaction is not always zen-filled. And my advice is to give yourself a moment to express your authentic feelings towards any stressful situation. Allow yourself to be human. If you’re mad, be mad. If you need to cry, cry. Holding in frustration and faking the funk will only lead to more stressful feelings internally. So have your moment, give yourself the space and time to feel whatever you need to feel, then move forward. Releasing your true feelings is like releasing toxins from your body…..it’s good for your internal system. It’s nothing wrong with expressing true emotions, just don’t dwell in that emotional space.
I laugh at some of my problems - Of course not all problems are laughable, but the ones that don’t wreck havoc get a chuckle or two from me. This reminds me not to take life too seriously. It also reminds me that I’m way more powerful than the problem at hand.
I go to hot yoga class like it’s church - Going to my hot yoga class has truly done wonders for my stress levels. Yoga emphasizes the importance of relying on your breathing in every pose/situation. This practice forces me to be calm, still, in the moment, and patient. Being in the moment is half the battle when it comes to managing stress. To sum up a message from my girl Erykah Badu, most stress comes from thinking about the past or thinking about what’s to come….and we don’t have either. All we have is now. So with the help of yoga, I’m able to be more mentally discipline and hone in on the present.
I look for the lesson and/or blessing - When a stressful situation arises I take the time to feel my emotions, grasp what’s going on, and then I ask myself, “What can I learn from this?” or “What good thing came out of this?” Almost every time I ask myself those questions, I get an answer because I’m seeking one. When you look for the good, it always shows up.
I listen to jazz - Music is like food to me. It fuels me. And when I seek calmness, one of my go-to music genres is jazz. Jazz is medicine for my soul. It’s soothing to my ears and mind. Jazz has a way of smoothing any mood out, and this is especially helpful during difficult times.
I rest in the fact that it will pass - My favorite mantra I reference often is, “This too shall pass.” With a little time and a lot patience, whatever I’m dealing with will pass. When a problem arises, I return to this mantra. I also recall all of the past problems I’ve had, and I think about how I got over them. And I know this one will not be any different.
I get it off my chest - Sometimes you just have to hear yourself talk about your issues. Getting it off your chest or discussing your issues with loved ones is another way to manage your stressful situations. A listening ear is valuable, and sometimes just by hearing ourselves talk about our problems out loud we began to feel better or find a solution on our own. And if you prefer not to talk to anyone about your problems, release your frustrations on paper. Lingering stress is equivalent to having an infection in your body. You have to get it out or else it will fester and turn into something worse.
There you have it, 10 ways to get your stress under control. If you have any other suggestions on managing stress, please leave them in the comments below!
Oh and peep out my stunning outfit I found at Fharenheit 360. I can’t get over this tiered skirt!!
Peace and Blessings,
- Samjah Iman
Picture Credit: Urban 504 Photography