Back before the internet, you got your mail in actual envelopes and you got some calls on a landline. Today is a different story. We’re all running around overstimulated and overwhelmed. You check your email all day long, only to have a full inbox when going to bed, your boss texts you at 8pm on a Sunday night about a project deadline, your DM’s are always full on your social media platforms, you have a family, try to stay in shape and attempt to have a social life too. There is a never ending to do list, and constantly something taking your attention. Damn, I noticed my heart rate elevated just from writing that paragraph. It’s insane, right?
Don’t get me wrong, the internet and social media is wonderful, it’s a powerful tool to connect with others from all around the world and make a greater impact because our circle of influence reaches much further. But it’s not surprising that we have higher numbers of anxiety, depression, constant overwhelm and day-to-day stress.
The overstimulation isn’t going away. Unless you quit all social media and live off the grid. Since it’s not going away, we need to learn to manage the stress so we aren’t constantly running around like a chicken with our heads cut off.
Here are 4 ways to manage your stress better.
- BREATHE. Okay, I know you’ve heard this one before. Breathing isn’t a new concept. We’ve been doing it since we’ve been alive. However, when we’re stressed, we breathe shallow, in the top portion of our chests. When you’re feeling stressed, try the box-breathing technique. This technique triggers the parasympathetic nervous system and will help calm you down and think clearly.
Here’s how you do it: Inhale through your nose for a 4 count, gently hold the breath for a 4 count, slowly exhale through your nose for a 4 count, gently hold for a 4 count before inhaling again. Repeat for 5-10 breaths. If you can’t hold for a 4 count, reduce the count to 3 or 2 and work your way up.
- Practice TT aka the Theater Technique. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, practice tip #1. After that, imagine you’re in a movie theater. The movie that is playing is your life and the particular circumstance you’re stressing about. Look at it from a spectator view. What do you notice? What can you learn? The TT technique helps us get out of our heads and take a step back.
- Resolve, Don’t React. If your clothes are on fire, you have two options. Option 1, you scream, run and flail your limbs wildly, while the fire grows. Option 2: You jump in water, stop-drop-and-roll, or get your clothes off as fast as possible. When feeling stressed, it’s hard to not let our emotions take over. If you follow steps 1 and 2, you will be able to think clearly enough to ask yourself how to respond and resolve the situation, and not emotionally react.
Hope this helps! Comment below if you have any questions or comments.