This article was originally published for #AllTheVibes, a collaboration between I AM THAT GIRL and Biossance Skin Care. I really loved writing this because it gave me a chance to pass along practical tools for stress management that I've learned in my professional and personal studies. Let me know if you find any of these tips helpful in the comments!
Some days, we could really use a reset button. We’re stressed out about a test, recovering from a painful breakup, or totally bummed about not making the volleyball team, and the whole day seems lost in bad feelings. Finding your way out of a rut can feel impossible – but the good news is that it isn’t. Here are some ideas about how to move on from those sucky days in a healthy way and be our own reset button.
· Repeat the mantra: I am enough.
Dealing with stress, heartache, or feelings of rejection can really affect our self-esteem. Close your eyes, put your hands over your heart, and say out loud, “I am enough.” Regardless of the test grade you get or your status as single or taken, you are worthy of love, just the way you are. Once you believe that, there is less reason to stress.
· Accept the situation.
Ask yourself, “Is there anything I can do to change this situation?” If the answer is no, we need to learn to accept it. The poetry magazine came out and your poem wasn’t selected to be featured. Right now, you can’t do anything to change that. Accept that this is the situation in the present moment – but find peace in knowing you will have so many future opportunities to excel.
· Practice deep breathing.
When we’re stressed, our breathing quickens, our heart rate speeds up, and we start feeling like we had too much panic-flavored coffee. When we practice deep breathing using our diaphragm, a large muscle found at the base of our lungs, oxygen levels in our blood increase and our heart rate slows down, returning us to calm. Put one hand on your chest and another below your ribcage. Inhale through your nose, counting to 6. Feel your stomach expand as your lungs fill up with air, and feel your chest remain as still as possible. Exhale through your mouth, counting to 8.
· Visualize your worries floating away.
If you’re really hung up on a particular worry, try this visualization technique. Close your eyes and imagine that you are sitting beside a slow, steady river. As you watch the river, you notice a leaf on the water in the distance. Imagine that the leaf represents your worry. Watch it come closer toward you, floating on top of the clear, fresh water – and then watch the leaf pass by. Watch it float along the river into the distance, and notice it getting smaller and smaller until you can’t see it anymore. Like the leaf, imagine that your worry has floated off into the distance, becoming something that you can no longer see, hear, or feel. Let your worry disappear.
It can be tempting to sink into bad feelings, because it’s tricky to pull ourselves out of them. Shifting perspectives and choosing positivity is a powerful way to reshape even the worst of days, and we all have the tools inside of ourselves to do it.