Worrying Better

Contributor: Elizabeth Thibaudeau

We all have worries. In fact, it’s probably one of the few guarantees in life that we will worry over something. The act of worrying isn’t always a bad thing, however, as most of us worry because we care. We stress over situations, people, and possibilities that are meaningful to us. In some ways, stress helps us tune into the most important areas in our lives.

But stress becomes a problem when mental worries trigger physical responses in our body. While we can never eliminate all the worries in our life, we can build healthy habits to reduce the power of these worries, as well as adopt strategies for managing stress.

What do people worry over?

According to the American Psychological Association, common worries among American adults include money, pressure at work, and relationships. Additionally, health factors can be a source of stress. Chronic pain or illness, a health crisis (for yourself or a loved one), sleep deprivation, and poor nutrition can all trigger stress in our lives.

On any given day, we can find ourselves stressing over innumerable situations. Recent world and domestic events have us worried over financial stability more so than in previous decades, with unemployment rates at record highs and little sign of change happening anytime soon.

Our physical health is being threatened by an invisible foe—and while we may be individually healthy, the last thing anyone wants is to infect someone more vulnerable. Unrest over racial inequality keeps many of us up at night, wondering how to better teach our children that love, acceptance, and fair treatment regardless of race are the only pathways forward to a brighter future.

Of course, all these stressors are compounded by media overload. Being inundated with news, television, radio, and social media is also a widely experienced stressor according to the APA. In the current social and political climate, it’s no surprise that the future of the nation was reported as Americans’ number one stressor in 2017. Given the events of the last few months and days, that stress is undoubtedly rising.

How can I manage my stress?

Stress management looks different for everyone—depending on your lifestyle, schedule, and concerns, what works for one person doesn’t work for everyone. Keep in mind that mitigating your stress levels is an active journey, not a fixed destination.

Here are four tips to practice as you work on keeping both your worry and stress levels in check.

1.) Know Your Triggers

Stress relief begins with minimizing your exposure to stressful triggers. If you’re finding that news, social media, or being around a certain crowd is causing you distress, consider limiting how much time you spend on those interactions. This could mean watching TV for only thirty minutes or setting a screen time limit on social media apps

2.) Redirect Your Response

Discussions of stress often focus on its negative impact and don’t often consider how we can channel our stress response into something positive. Most of us typically only stress over issues that we care about deeply.

The next time you find yourself feeling stress, consider how you can channel that energy into action. Use the hormones released in your body to drive creativity and problem-solving. For example, you could volunteer in your community, offer to help a family member, or pour energy into a creative outlet like cooking, drawing, or writing. Look for opportunities to replace your fear with a focus!

3.) Just Be and Breathe

When stress occurs, set aside time for yourself specifically with the purpose of a mindful check in, a meditation, or just a quiet moment. Give yourself five or ten minutes to focus only on your breath, to feel your inhales and exhales.

You can also try a guided breathing meditation specifically PBR (Pause Breathe and Respond), whether on the Solvasa Life Mindfulness app or your go-to meditation app. The key here is to allow your mind to settle so you can reset, then face stressful situations with a clearer intention.

4.) Sensory Tools

Remember the fidget spinner craze from a few years ago? I’m pretty sure every household had at least five of them overnight. While they were fun toys for kids, fidget spinners and other sensory tools are powerful at helping adults manage stress.

Studies support the claim that these sensory distractions can help reduce distractions, anxiety, and worry. The Solvasa Crystal Energy Wand is a perfect tool to help you relax and reset when faced with stress-inducing situations throughout the day.

Worrying better is a worthy goal we should all be working towards. Along with countless long-term health benefits, training our mind and body to live fully in the present is priceless.