One thing that is consistent in life is change. Change can be one of the hardest and most stressful things for us to deal with. Think about your first day of Kindergarten as a child. Perhaps you were crying, afraid to leave your comfort zone. Even as we get older, anything different or new, can seem scary.
Everyone needs support. It’s important to have at least one person you feel safe to talk with whether it be a friend, a parent, or your therapist.
But sometimes, you don’t have those people with you during times of stress or anxiety.
So now what?
Here are some tips to help you manage stress and anxiety on your own:
1. Breathe. It sounds so simple and silly, but we all forget to pay attention to our breath. Take a deep breath in through our nose and slowly push out through your mouth. At our worst times of stress, we breathe rapidly and shallow, which makes our heart beat faster and stress actually increases. So pay attention to your breathing, and slow it down.
2. Think Positive Thoughts. As you breathe slowly, you become more in control of your thoughts… so choose them wisely. Think of positive
3. Journal! Write down your thoughts and feelings. Sometimes we don’t feel like talking and we get stuck in our busy minds. When you write it out, you release some of the worry from being stuck inside. You can also create a success journal. Write down small goals, as simple as smile today, and check if off once you did it. It not only boosts your self esteem when you complete the goals, but it is proven that when a goal is in writing, we are more likely to achieve it.
4. Mindfulness. A key skill to help people focus when they are anxious is focusing on your senses. Ask yourself, what do I hear? Focus on 2-3 things you hear. What do I see? What do I feel (physically)? What do I smell? This is a good strategy to bring you out of the future panic mode and bring you back to the present and focusing on the now.
Try not to judge yourself in these moments of stress or anxiety. We all have obstacles to overcome and you can and will.
And if you need us, we are here to help.
-Meghan Lynch, LPC
Meghan Lynch, LPC is a licensed psychotherapist at Well Being Therapy Center. Her many areas of expertise include working with teens and their families, young children, ADHD, and anxiety. Meghan is also a school counselor in the Fort Lee school district where she oversees hundreds of children and assists with ensuring their healthy development.