Is it true that all we need to do is not worry and be happy? Is it really that easy?
Sometimes it is easier said than done. When you are caught deep in the spiral of a bad day or the web of worry, it is hard to see the happiness. It is hard to let go of the stress, and to trust that things will work out for the best.
There are plenty of catchy quotes to tell us that we need to practice the art of trusting, and letting go of results. But what do you do when you’re stuck in a rut and you need to shake yourself out of it?
Here are my tips to de-stress and change your thinking.
- Deep belly breathing. Taking a moment to breathe deeply in your stomach is one of the best things you can do, period. Most of us are shallow chest breathers, using our chest and shoulders to do all the work. Simply put, they are not meant to do that and it is too much work for those muscles, day in and day out (this is what causes neck and shoulder pain for so many of us). Try this instead (not a video of me). Lay on your belly, rest your forehead on the backs of your hands. breathe deeply into your belly, you should feel it pressing against the floor. This is how babies breathe, and how we are all meant to breathe. This kind of breathing is calming to your entire body and mind.
- Exercise! Any kind of exercise will do. Simple walking is actually fantastic. It does get your heart rate up, it gets your mind off your trouble and it puts your muscles to work. I like lifting weights, but sometimes if I am really distracted that is a baaaad idea. exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you feel good. When you are trying to not worry, this is exactly what you need.
- Listen to upbeat music and dance (here’s one of my playlists here). Music is an amazing way to lift your spirits (just try to pick upbeat tunes that don’t have memories attached to them!). Dancing is also a great workout to help you release your troubles and bring good feelings to the entire body, head to toe. bonus points for sexy dance moves that make you laugh or feel hot.
- Drink something warm like hot tea or hot cocoa. Chocolate also helps release endorphins in the body, but warm drinks make us feel cozy and warm all over. This is an excellent way to slow down and bring your mind to the moment, not your stresses.
- Snuggle up in a warm blanket. Our bodies are extremely tactile, and we respond to touch. As adults we don’t get as much physical stimulation as we used to get as kids, and it is actually tied to our development, studies show that children that get less physical stimulation (regular touching from their parents such as hugs and cuddles) struggle to adjust and develop emotionally, behaviorally, and socially as they grow up. We still need that kind of stimulation as when get older and we can fake it by rolling around on the floor (I’m not kidding) or by snuggling in a blanket.
- Get some unconditional love. I don’t personally own a pet, but I love getting to play with adorable dogs and cats. When I visited a friend in LA days after a breakup, she took me to the best place ever. Not any of the normal touristy places. She took me to a pet store where the dogs run free and you can come in and play with them (and then adopt them. Thank god I didn’t live locally, I would have taken four dogs that day). Playing with a pet is a phenomenal way to get your mind off yourself and just have fun.
- Do good for someone else. I am in the middle of a Random Acts of Kindness project and it has been so much fun. Passing out hot cocoa packets to strangers was a ton of fun, and a surprising way to connect with other people. Focusing on someone else will remind you that your worry is only temporary.
Letting go of worry and de-stressing is combatting your problem from a stronger place. If you spend all your time worrying, you become so focused on the problem that you missing seeing the solutions. Letting go of stress frees up the possibility for the solution to come to you.
The times when I have let go and loosened my tight grip on controlling every little detail are the times when I have had the best results. Answers come from thin air, miracle shifts happen, and I see the good in the world around me.
Besides, there are so many better things to occupy my time other than silly little worry!