14 Dec De-Stressing Techniques For A Chaotic World
Let’s face it, every time you turn on your TV, check your favorite news Internet site or flip on the radio you hear about the chaos and the crazy that is happening in the world today. The avalanche of information we receive in our 24-hour news cycle can be overwhelming, especially when so much of it is negative. These terrible events dial up the stress in everyone’s lives and make it harder to decompress at the end of the day. So what is our overstressed, overwhelmed and overly angry culture supposed to do? Below are just a couple techniques that can keep the worldly chaos at bay. By applying even just a few of these steps to your lifestyle, you can reduce your stressors and focus on what fills you up instead of what tears you down.
Stop consuming the news
Simply do not turn on the TV, check your favorite news site or social media accounts or turn on the radio (unless it’s a relaxing music station). For those who are news junkies this will be a difficult task. Start slowly. Instead of checking the news four times a day, try just checking it once a day. Eventually try checking it once a week or not at all. Reward yourself when you meet your goal. If you live with someone who is a negative news junkie then set boundaries. If they are watching the news in a shared space, such as a living room, then go into another room or suggest he/she go into another room to watch it. Or you can make up a new agreement with your person. Suggest that the TV stays off at least four times per week. Tell your person you simply do not want to know what is happening in the world and remind him/her of that when they try to discuss the day’s headlines with you. The goal is to get the yucky energy generated by the news media out of your space, so your mind doesn’t try to over focus or over analyze the information. Most of these stories are not in your control to fix or change anyway so knowing about them can only bring up a sense of helplessness. Just remove yourself entirely from the experience so that you can get the peace you need.
Focus on the things that make you feel good
This is one of my favorites. Just make a list of things that bring a smile to your face. What do you enjoy doing? Is there a favorite TV show or movie you love? A person you enjoy seeing or talking to? Certain music or activities that make you feel happy and at peace? As you review your list, see which ones you can incorporate into your daily or weekly life. For example, I love to play with my dogs when I get home. Even if it is just for ten minutes or so, it gives me a chance to connect to what is truly important in my life. We run around, play catch with the ball, hold each other and tell each other about our day. It re-grounds me to my heart and my spirit. It let’s all the negativity roll off my back and I can just be in the moment. Any task that can help ground and connect you to what fills you up should be revisited every day if possible or at least four to five times per week.
Give back to others
Another excellent way of refueling your soul is by finding a way to give back to your community. In a world where it is hard to feel like you have much control over anything, giving back to your community gives you the opportunity to feel like you are doing something. It can instill a sense of importance, humility and gratitude for your own place in the world and builds appreciation for the opportunity to help others who may not be able to help themselves. You can do something as simple as checking on your elderly neighbor, volunteering at a non-profit or charity of some kind, offering to help a friend move, take your co-worker’s dog for a walk, etc. Giving back to others is an act of service, and acts of service are decadent treats for your higher self to feast upon. It gives you a sense of purpose and in short, it makes you feel like you matter.
Take up exercise
If negative energy does build up in your brain and body a great way to counterbalance it is with exercise. Not only does exercise release endorphins but it burns off stress. Yoga is a great exercise for learning to breathe, increase flexibility, build strength and focus. All of these things on their own are great for stress reduction, but when you put them together they are a force to be reckoned with. If you need something more then yoga for your stress levels then running or weight lifting is a great too. If you hate the thought of exercise then try a sport or activity you love to do such as swimming, racquetball, tennis, softball, bowling, archery, etc. There are so many different physical activities to try that if you haven’t found your “thing” yet keep looking. Try out different activities until you find something that clicks!
Make more time for important relationships
Think about the people in your life who truly matter, the ones that you will always know and will always have a connection to. What is it that they need from you? What can you do for them? What makes them feel loved and supported? Find a way to re-connect to these people in your life. Spend more time with them, send them thoughtful gifts, come over and help them clean their garage. Anything you can do to help strengthen your key relationships will fill you back up. Do you have a relationship that needs repair? Did you have a fight with your Dad? Perhaps its time to pick up the phone and call him. If you can find a way to let go of your old grievances for those important people in your life, then it will release a huge burden off of your own shoulders. Once you can let go of your own anger your energy will soar. If you need to be forgiven, then find a way you can make amends for your own failings. Your apology or act of reconciliation will either be accepted or it won’t be at least you will have the peace of mind that you tried.
Try meditation and/or adopt a religious or spiritual philosophy
Of course meditation is always a key activity to reduce stress. I cannot emphasize enough how powerful it can be to reduce tension in the body and mind. There are many different kinds of meditation practices you can try from guided meditation to walking meditation, etc. I mentioned a few methods in an earlier blog post called “4 Easy Ways to Learn how to Meditate” which you can check out for more details. Meditation is a great way to connect to your own higher power, thus strengthening your inner resilience. However if meditation isn’t your thing, another way to do this is by spending more time focusing on the spiritual or religious practice that you connect best with. Whether it be spending time in prayer, reading a book or blog on a spiritual practice you believe in, or attending services at a church, temple or synagogue, it’s important to feed your connection to your own God or higher power. I am not promoting any kind of specific religious or spiritual belief here, but if you do have a philosophy you subscribe to, then its important to keep your connection to that source a thriving part of your life. This spiritual anchor can promote hope, compassion and grace in your heart, especially when in the face of senseless and meaningless things that happen in the world. It gives you the strength to keep moving forward and the hope that better days are ahead.
Be present and practice gratitude
Finally the practice of being present and offering thanks are among the best ways to combat stress. The act of being present is really just being aware in the moment and observing what is. There is no judgment when you are being present and open, you are just watching. If you can stay present and also connect to a sense of gratitude for the wonderful positive things that are happening in the moment then your energy and spirit expand tenfold. Gratitude is a beam of positive energy – like lifting love weights for your soul. It’s your way of saying, “You know what, I’m thankful for everything that I have, for the chance at life on this planet, with these people. I get this opportunity and I love it, despite the hard times, I still love it.” The ability to focus on the positive and feel great appreciation for all that we truly have is the best defense for negativity. It generates love and compassion for those you agree with and those you don’t, for situations you agree with and situations you don’t and for the people you love and the people you don’t. The most important thing it does though is it makes you an example of how we all could be if we just expand and open our hearts to each other. Be grateful, be open, don’t judge. In a world full of anger, egos and negativity we owe it to ourselves to set the example of who we can be, not reinforce what we’ve become.
I hope that some of these ideas help you design a positive way to deal with negativity. For further guidance or support please check out my blog and services here: https://sherriewirth.com/