When time and energy levels are on our side, we may take on huge responsibilities or burdens. However, we may not be able to handle all these tasks perfectly all the time. Sometimes the load is not voluntary, but the pressure is still on. Your work becomes more demanding, that weight keeps piling on, and there’s too much to do at every point.
Sounds familiar? Many people have too much on their plates and insufficient resources to handle it all. There are families to support, deadlines to meet, and several chores to juggle throughout the year. It’s no surprise that our daily stress levels are up.
When we experience stress, it adversely affects our physical and mental health. Hormone imbalances, weight gain, and the usual fight-or-flight response take hold of our bodies. If we’re not careful, stress can evolve into a chronic condition. The chemical changes it causes might raise heart rates, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.
With such serious potential consequences, it’s time to learn how we can manage daily stress. While taking vacations and meditation might help, mindfulness practices are what we need to manage everyday stress. Not sure how to go about it? Let’s have a look at some techniques now:
1. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
One might consider DBT to regulate emotions if daily stress levels get too high. It’s a therapy that deals with emotional and mental health challenges. The basic idea here is that two opposite things can exist in one space. For example, an individual accepts themselves but also wants to change certain aspects of their personality.
The mindful exercises for DBT teach individuals how to cultivate mindfulness, a state of non-judgmental awareness and acceptance of the present moment. These exercises are an essential component of DBT, a therapeutic approach developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan to help individuals manage emotions, improve relationships, and develop effective coping skills, particularly for those struggling with intense emotions and borderline personality disorder.
When going through Dialectical Behavior Therapy, you learn:
- Emotional regulation, which helps an individual to understand their emotions and manage them better. It includes learning to identify feelings, put a name to them, and consider positive ways to deal with them
- Distress tolerance, which helps one cope with emotionally painful moments
- Interpersonal effectiveness deals with enhancing communication skills, social abilities, etc. In this exercise, an individual learns to acknowledge their needs while respecting those around them.
DBT involves working with therapists, either in individual sessions or group settings. The therapist assists you in applying the skills above in real life. The main idea is not to focus on why a person has extreme emotions or behaviors. Instead, DBT works on helping us keep unwanted behaviors and reactions to a minimum. As a result, many individuals might experience better social connections, emotional control, and positive feelings about themselves.
2. Mindful Eating
This technique involves the following basic steps:
- Put down your phone and keep all other devices away while eating.
- No distractions at all, not even a book while you’re eating.
- Your focus should be solely on your food, how it tastes and smells, and the flavor it brings to your mouth.
- Eat slowly, perhaps 20 to 30 chews per bite.
- Savor every bite; try to engage all your senses. For instance, enjoy the perfect crunch of a sweet red apple when you bite into it. Inhale the scent of freshly-made tea or coffee and enjoy the different colors in your salad.
Mindful eating has a lot of benefits, and minimizing stress levels is one of them. You will enjoy every meal more than before, even if it’s the same. For adults, mindful eating can be a great way to lose weight without practicing restrictive dieting. Some experts also state that this practice can help us build a healthier relationship with food.
3. Practicing Gratitude
Take some minutes every day and think about the good things in your life. It might be the setting sun, the fact that you live in a place with clean air, or just the presence of certain people. Reflect on how grateful you are for these blessings.
When you focus on the positive aspects of your life, your mindset follows suit. Over time, you will learn to live and be more grateful for what you have. It’s a much healthier mindset than always pondering what you don’t have or striving to get more material belongings.
4. Practicing Mindfulness on the Go
Contrary to what some people might think, practicing mindfulness on the go is possible. You can look at activities that help to cultivate mindfulness while also encouraging some sort of movement. These may include:
- Tai chi
- Mindful breathing techniques
While practicing these, pay close attention to how your body feels with each movement. Focus on the moment and try not to let your thoughts wander. Such mindful movements can calm your thoughts and help your body relax.
5. Have a Digital Detox
Social media on your smartphone keeps you hooked all day long. Seeing all those fake pictures, glammed-up lives, and the other usual content can make anyone depressed.
The first thing to remember here is that not everything is real as what it seems on social media. The second thing is to consider staying away from such content altogether. The best way to do this is to put down the phone and don’t pick it up again for hours.
Use this time to pursue other, healthier activities. This way, you can relax and be present in the moment. By disconnecting yourself from the digital world, you can give yourself and other people in your life some quality time. Digital stimulation is real, so you might feel more relaxed and focused when away from the phone. This is also the perfect time to practice social connections. Go out and meet a friend the old-fashioned way; you might be surprised at how much fun it will be!
The techniques above are excellent ways to make mindfulness a part of your daily life. When there’s constant stress, practicing mindfulness can help. However, keep in mind that mindfulness will require significant patience and practice. It’s best to start with small acts, such as being grateful for every bite you take. With time and dedication, you can gain control over stress and transform your life!