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Last Updated on June 11, 2021
Stress is unavoidable because it manifests in different situations and in many ways. Whether it is at work, in your relationships, health or finances, stress has a way of making you feel burned out and unable to see the many positive things to be grateful for. Stress is widespread in the US as 33% of people report feeling the extreme form of it, while another 50% admit to not knowing how to manage the situation. How do you deal with life’s pressures on your own? Let’s find out how to calm your mind and restore peace to your emotions and mental health.
- Practice self-compassion
On many occasions, you are your own worst critic. The act of being too hard on yourself is an issue several people are unable to deal with. For some reason, many people think being self-critical is the only way to push themselves to greater heights. Unfortunately, that is an unfounded truth. Self-criticism only leads to subjecting yourself to unreasonable demands and expecting to achieve unrealistic goals, whether in the short or long term.
If for nothing at all, self-criticism can be destructive and impair your natural resilience to challenging or stressful conditions. If left unattended, that can lead to bouts of anxiety and depression. On a brighter note, however, there is a way to deal with it. Self-compassion is the exact opposite of self-criticism. The former thrives on placing yourself in a safety net of self-love. This has nothing to do with narcissism. On the contrary, you are mindful of your emotions, senses and physical state at every point in time.
In other words, practising self-compassion does not mean becoming oblivious to negative tendencies such as self-criticism. The definitive difference between the two is knowing that the latter exists, but you are unwilling to feed it with harmful elements whenever you fail at something or are stressed out. As you will find in some Albert Einstein quotations, you are better off knowing and accepting your limits to enable you to move ahead.
- Know what the stressors are.
To put it in another form, list item two propagates ‘knowing who your enemies are.’ Stressors are the external or internal elements that immediately bring on the tension and pressure you try to do away with. Knowing the enemy offers you the chance to discover its weaknesses and, most importantly, how it influences your mind. In simple terms, what used to scare you loses its hold once you understand how it operates.
For example, a stressor can be a person, group of persons or activity. Once you identify what they are and their negative influence on your mind, a more straightforward solution will be to avoid them. However, running away only saves you for a short while until the next time you’re faced again. Therefore, the best solution would be to grow thicker skin and not allow these stressors to get the better part of you.
- Practice mental decompression
Mental decompression allows you to feel the stress but still in control enough to take a step back. Decompressing is akin to a system reset and allowing your mind to unwind from all the pressure. There are many ways to decompress mentally, but a few are highlighted below:
- Deep breathing techniques.
- Read a book (if you love to).
- Watch a movie
In other words, decompressing mentally is a technique you employ to counter the lingering adverse effects of stress. This means any healthy thing you do to take your mind off the current situation is beneficial to calming the mind. Once your mind is relaxed, you can resolve the situation at hand.
- Sleep and allow your mind and body to unwind.
One of the worst things you can do in a stressful situation is losing sleep. Sleep in itself is therapeutic, and missing out on it brings on more agitation than you would have thought. If you’ve ever gone a few days without sleep in hopes of meeting tight deadlines, you know how distressing that can be. A tired mind cannot do much unless it’s well-rested. Did you know that lack of sleep can be damaging to your overall well being? Indeed, it can therefore avoid mental fog by allowing yourself to take a much-needed snooze.
- Be mentally prepared for any situation.
Being mentally prepared for any situation means you have trained your mind to remain calm, regardless of the situation. Mental preparation is one of the most desirable traits of the military as it has several benefits to the general wellbeing of their men and women. Because the brain influences everything you do, a mentally prepared mind helps you build resilience to stressful situations. After all, you are aware of possibilities and likelihoods, which is what mental toughness is about.
- Avoid caffeinated foods
Caffeine acts as a stimulant on the central nervous system. Believe it or not, it is a food substance you will want to stay away from when attempting to calm your mind. Consuming caffeinated products is akin to adding fuel to a raging fire. Instead of helping you relax or calm down, this stimulant overwhelms parts of the brain responsible for thought processes. As a result, you will remain agitated and tensed up for longer than expected. Please stick to water instead.
Did you know that more than 30% of Americans who admit to experiencing stressful situations prefer to take a walk? Walking improves mood, increases mental clarity and helps you remain focused. Indeed exercising has a long list of benefits as does sleeping. The former, however, activates the release of endorphins, which has a calming effect on the mind and the entire body. As little as five minutes of brisk walking can have considerable benefits to the body and your overall mood.
In conclusion, obviously, you cannot avoid stressful situations, but you can adopt ways and means to deal with them. A calm mind is resilient, composed and strong enough to push forward positively. Hopefully, this article showed you a few ways to calm your mind in challenging situations.