April is Stress Awareness Month, although every month in the last couple of years has made us aware of stress in one way or another. So whether we like it or not, tress is an integral part of our daily life. And we all have been doing a great job navigating through crazy times of uncertainty, saddening new and illogical rules, while understandings that no one can predict what else might happen tomorrow.
There have been numerous books and articles written about stress and the ways to cope with it, and I am sure each one of us knows some ways to deal with stressors, yet today I would like you to shift the focus and look for unusual and weird ways to deal with stress.
All our systems are interconnected so let’s experiment with unusual and different solutions and notice what works and doesn’t. If the old solutions don’t work, it’s time to try something new to help our overwhelmed body and mind to pull themselves out of a stressful state.
1. Walk barefoot for a day (or half a day, or an hour, do it!)
It is proven that connecting to mother Earth has a calming effect on the human body, yet we often don’t pay attention to this basic grounding. Take a walk on the grass, on the beach, in the field. If you cannot go out, still let your feet be free for a while and notice the sensations in your soles when you touch the surface.
2. Strike a tree pose
Another way to connect to nature is to become a part of it by being a tree. Besides calming you down, the Tree yoga pose helps the body balance and strengthens the core. Stand with your feet grounded. Take two deep breaths. Lift one leg, shift the weight to the other and hold the leg up. Now, bend the leg you have lifted, and place it on the upper thigh of the other leg. Lift your arms and start swinging like a tree. Stay in this pose for 5-10 long deep breaths.
3. Do things the opposite way
It is all about neural pathways and creating new ones while breaking the patterns and teaching the brain to look for an unusual solution. Challenge yourself to do five things the opposite way today to beat the stress. Walk backwards, drink water while bending down, write with your left hand. Be creative and free in making choices.
4. Do a random act of kindness
One of the best ways to deal with stress is to help others. Do something unexpected for someone you work with, for example. Buy a cup of coffee for the office guard, get some flowers for the cleaner, call your great-aunt and chat to her about the weather. Do it intentionally and genuinely, and notice how it makes you feel.
5. Do unusual creative task
When was the last time you were singing? Drawing? Dancing? When was the last time you were doing something that was entirely out of your character? Well, do it today. Challenge yourself to write a poem, draw a painting or sing a song from the latest Adele album. Make it happen!
6. Practice throwing
Any activity with rhythm and repetitive patterns might help shift the mind and refocus. Find tennis or a golf ball or make a paper one and have ten attempts in throwing it into the paper bin. Focus very hard and see how many times you will hit the target.
7. Tell a story of your life (or from your life)
Talking things through even with an imaginary audience is one of the best ways of dealing with stress. Imagine speaking at a Ted talk or an award-winning ceremony. Set the timer for 10-15 minutes, imagine the grateful crowd and go for it. It might feel weird in the beginning but persevere and continue talking. You will be amazed how the narrative will come out, and the conclusions will be made.
There you go. These are just seven simple ideas from us to you. What else can you think of? Unusual and weird ideas are wonderful because they are, well, unusual and weird. They allow us to take ourselves out of everyday routine and look at things differently.
So here’s to challenging the stress in the most creative and fun way!
If you would like to speak with a counsellor about how we can support you, please contact us.
by Anoush Davies
Find out more about Anoush here