1. Challenge the irrational thoughts
We all experience anxious, stressful and often irrational thoughts that don’t necessarily make sense. These thoughts are often rather extreme and focused around the worst-case scenario. You could potentially sabotage areas of your life due to these thoughts and find it hard to move on from where you’re currently at.
The best thing you can possibly do is attempt to challenge these thoughts when they occur:
- Is this really likely?
- Is this a rational thing to think?
- Has this ever impacted me before?
- What’s the worst possible outcome and am I well-placed to handle that?
After you go through the questions, you should then try to reframe the thoughts and apply logic. So, instead of thinking “I don’t want to go to the supermarket, I might see someone I know and I can’t handle that”, try to think “I’m going to the supermarket, I need to get some supplies and if I see someone I know, I’ll say hello and continue with my shopping – they’re probably busy too!”
2. Think it through properly
Many people try to create a mantra for tough situations. Something realistic that you can believe in, for example “what’s the worst that can happen?”
This enables you to reality-test situations.
Doing this can enable more rational thoughts to flow back in and replace the unhelpful, irrational thoughts.
3. Listen to your favourite music
Music is known to have a calming effect on your thoughts and emotions. Of course, different genres can have different impacts, so be sure to choose something likely to have the impact you desire! Heavy metal isn’t always the answer…
4. Move your focus elsewhere
You can leave the situation you’re in, change the room, go outside, whatever it takes you to switch your focus.
It’s well known that we don’t necessarily make the best decisions in times of heightened anxiety. For example, have you ever called something off the night before, yet woken up the next day and felt you would have dealt with it fine?
5. Relax your body and practice breathing exercises
Anxiety, anger and stress can have a physical impact on your body. Whether you feel tense/rigid or actually are, it is possible to control your physical state through deeper breathing and muscle relaxation exercises. Meditation can be great for this.
6. Write down how you feel
Journalling can really help to process emotions and make a note of what impacts you negatively.
Some people use this to help avoid certain triggers, as well as generally helping them to become much less stressed on a daily basis.
7. Enjoy a walk outside
Walking outdoors in the fresh air can be great for our mental health and wellbeing. It helps us to process how we’re feeling and can encourage positive thoughts, additionally it helps to release endorphins which are the body’s natural ‘feel good’ hormones.
8. Keep your body fuelled
Hunger and dehydration can impact our mental health detrimentally in ways we may not have previously foreseen. Often, if you’re hungry or thirsty, many of the techniques mentioned above simply may not work. Stop what you’re doing and prepare something healthy to eat and drink plenty of water. It may just be the underlying cause of some of the stress you’re currently feeling!
We hope you find these tips useful. Please take care of yourself and don’t forget to put your mental health first.