At times, life gets stressful, and that anxiety can feel all-encompassing. Our mind may continue to repeat intrusive thoughts and worsen our mood. Knowing how to care for yourself is crucial and requires self-coping skills. With the below activities to practice mindfulness, you can deal with stress in a healthy way.
Exercise is a healthy way to naturally reduce stress levels, and walking allows you to relax while you move. Search for local nature preserves and other outdoor locations to go for a stroll on days when the weather allows for it. Sunshine and fresh air are natural mood lifters. Plus, getting out in nature encourages you to appreciate the small things in life, like beautiful flowers or chirping birds.
Create a Gratitude List
It’s hard to see life’s rays of light when we feel stressed or upset, so when your mood is high, jot down the things you’re grateful for. This can range from an incredible friend to your favorite show.
Think about the amazing things you do for your mind and body—enjoy delicious food, laugh with loved ones, and so forth. From here, you can expand the list to your interests, such as hiking or spending time with family. When you feel down, look at your list to remind yourself that those negative thoughts and emotions are fleeting and that there are things to be grateful for.
Engaging your sense of smell can also help you cultivate a feeling of serenity. In fact, aromatherapy is one of the many benefits of candles for relaxation and stress relief. If you don’t know which scents to buy, start with lavender, peppermint, or sandalwood. These scents trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for relaxation.
Sometimes when we talk about feeling stressed, others tell us to “take a deep breath.” Deep breathing is a mindfulness technique that relaxes the parasympathetic nervous system. This can be tricky because it requires you to use your diaphragm rather than taking shallow breaths. As you begin deep breathing, aim to:
- Inhale for five seconds
- Hold your breath for three seconds
- Exhale for seven seconds or longer
The most important part here is to breathe out longer than you inhale. Often, this mindfulness tactic is easiest to do sitting up or lying down.
Another way to learn deep breathing is to join a yoga class. Yoga is a fantastic stress reliever and will supply you with additional coping skills.
Spend Time With Others
The final activity to practice mindfulness is to remember that you’re not alone. Spending time with loved ones allows you to express your worries or engage in fun activities. Never fear asking for help, as vulnerability is an admirable strength. If you talk about your concerns, remember to listen to their worries as well. We’re all fighting a different battle, but with support, that becomes easier for each of us.