How to escape stress and anxiety?
Do you suffer from anxiety over general things in your life?
Often some of these anxious moments come from the smallest things. Getting caught in traffic jams is one of my anxious moments. Even though I have left the house early enough to cover most traffic issues, sometimes an hour early departure is necessary. And then there is that anxiety of being late to an appointment.
How do you handle stresses that come along in life? Do you have a plan to get through life’s difficult circumstances?
Here are 3 techniques to handle stress and anxiety which I hope you find helpful!
Let’s first look at a general definition of Meditation:
Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.Wikipedia
For me, meditation has been a practice in which I continually work to achieve perfect stillness and quiet in my mind.
Then one day as I was trying to get to that quiet spot of listening closely to my breathing and control my racing thoughts, I discovered it’s ok to have those thoughts…just don’t hang on to them. Give them space and let them pass through.
What a relief for me to know in that moment it was ok to let in that thought, wish it well and let it go. From then on it was ok with me if sometimes I didn’t reach that perfect, illusive stillness. Just the very act of sitting down, getting quiet and focusing the mind is all that is needed to lay the foundation for an ongoing desire to continue a daily practice.
Making meditation a part of my day puts me in an emotionally calm, stable state of mind, relieving anxiety.
How can reflection help you escape from stress and anxiety?” Let’s turn again to a general definition:
Reflection is the change in direction of a wavefront at an interface between two different media so that the wavefront returns into the medium from which it originated. Common examples include the reflection of light, sound and water waves… Mirrors exhibit specular reflection.Wikipedia
One of the ways I have found that helps me to reflect is to ask myself questions.
I usually do this in writing but it can be done mentally (sometimes in traffic!). I use these two questions: What did I do right? What can I improve?
In traffic, for example, my responses to “What did I do right?” could be “I left 15 minutes earlier than the time it should take to drive this distance. I prepared for any delay by bringing water.”
Use your imagination here…there are several other things that you can reflect that you did right if you give yourself the moment to think of them.
For “What can I improve?”, in the traffic situation, my responses could be: “I could have looked up Google maps and found that there was a jam and I could have chosen another route.” In traffic especially, for me to reduce stress and anxiety, I observe my thought process to reflect on these two questions: “What did I do right?” and “What can I improve?”
Journaling Helps Escape Stress and Anxiety
How does Journaling help to escape stress and anxiety?
Again to start with the definition of journaling:
It’s simply writing down your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly. And if you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can be a great idea. It can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health.Health Encyclopedia
I agree! I have found journaling soothing and encouraging. My practice has been to take the first of my day and write, taking a pen to paper and writing my random thoughts. Just the sitting and putting thoughts down on paper brings clarity. Doing this daily has been my key to my results.
If just writing random thoughts is difficult, write to a friend…they will love you for it.
Such masterful advice, Joan. The world can certainly use your wisdom on escaping those things that keep us from being our best, and achieving our best. Thank you for sharing this!!
Thank you for your words of encouragement. I appreciate you.
Great tips Joan, I was using these today!
Good for you Jennifer….great way to start a productive day. Thank you for the comment.
Great practices Joan, thank you for sharing! I’ve been practicing meditation and journaling consistently since a long time, and it pays indeed, both in the short run and (even more) in the long run; I have been less regular on your third tip, “What did I do right?” and “What could I improve?”, and I will take your advice to use it more regularly, especially the next time I find myself in a traffic jam…because this is one of the rare things that can still turn me mad! 🙂
Absolutely true Luc. For me, prayers and saying my gratitude out loud or to myself if necessary really help with difficult situations.
Beautiful insights Joan! Thanks for sharing.
Such great tips Joan! Thanks for sharing.
Love this, Joan! “What did I do right? What can I improve?”… such a fabulous way to practice taking responsibility for everything we do and set a pattern of continual increase, improvement and drawing out the best version of ourselves. Thank you for your tips!
ahh thank you so much Joan for such valuable tips & also for the ‘do it now’ prompt to get back into my morning journalling, Artists Way style.
Thank you for sharing valuable tips Joan! Those questions: What did I do right? and: What can I improve? These are questions I have used since decades and they have really made my life so much easier, but foremost have they been to a phenomenal help for my personal growth. Especially “What can I improve?” It seems that there always is something that can be improved and when you can see that as a gift your life is truly an adventure!
Joan, I really enjoyed your blog and your three techniques to handle stress along with anxiety. I also felt your questions (What did I do right and what can I improve on?) were also helpful tools for me to focus on reflecting . What specifically makes journaling encouraging and calming for you?
So grateful for all that we are learning. I now love to journal. I used to be that, what do I write on this piece of paper? Thanks for your insights. I love this so much!
Thank you, Joan, for doing such a wonderful job of detailing ways to escape stress and anxiety. So many people are looking for what we’ve got.