Mallory Welsh, LCSW

If you read my last blog post titled, Simple Stress Guide Part 1, referencing The New York Times article, “How to Be Better at Stress” by author Tara Parker-Pope, you may be wondering about the additional tips about how to better manage stress. 

Below are the remaining key points from Tara’s article touching about tips and tricks on how to manage stress better. 

  • Body Movement. As mentioned in the first part of this blog post, moving your body does not necessarily take away stress in your life, but it does however help give your body the physical condition to recover from the stress. Tara’s article goes into detail about which type of exercises, how often, and where to exercise is best. While there are excellent points in the article, the important take away is, just moving your body to some degree at least each day is going to decrease the impact stress has on you. So, whether you prefer to do yoga outside, weight lifting at a gym, or a Pilates video in your studio apartment, any form is likely going to help you feel better able to manage your stress levels. 
  • Reset and Recharge your Mind. Just like it is important to charge your phone when it is on low battery, it is important to charge your mind when it is on low battery. This could simply look like allowing time for you mind to rest and recharge. For some, that could be simply just like every hour of your day, you take a two-minute break to fill up your water, take a short walk, and/or a stretching break. Our minds were not meant to be working 8 straight hours; it is important to hit a short reset button for your mind!
  • Inhale, Exhale. Not only does practicing breathing techniques each day also reduce the impact stress has on you, it can also help reduce anxiety, depression, trauma response, insomnia, and attention deficit disorder. Some people will do a guided meditation to help with their breathing technique. Just like exercising, deep breathing techniques won’t take away your stress, but rather it will help you better manage the stress. I personally like coupling my guided meditations with some soothing essential oils like lavender and eucalyptus.
  • Journaling. Journaling is another amazing stress management technique. One may wonder how to journal and also why it helps reduce stress. Most people who struggle with stress, also struggle with their inner dialogue they have with themselves. Researchers suggest that it can be helpful to write down our own narrative and then edit it. Many times, individuals feel stressed or anxious because of the negative narratives they create in their heads. If they rewrite their own narrative, it might help them change their perspective about themselves which then could result in reducing their own stressors. 
    • Daily Journaling. Most times even writing down your thoughts, feelings, and emotions on a daily basis can help make your circular thoughts then become linear. Often, people are not even sure what and why they are anxious until they are able to put it into words. Also, through daily journaling, it can help you look back at situations to better explore how you handled it and perhaps how you could better handle it in the future.
    • Personal Mission Statement. While many companies have a mission statement, I also encourage clients to have their own mission statement. When writing it down, whether it includes their values, aspirations, passions, etc., it can help people better be able to understand potential barriers in their life and also motivation for reaching their current goals. 

If you are currently struggling with anxiety, it may be a good idea to connect with one of our skilled counselors at Symmetry Counseling in Chicago today. You can contact them at 312-578-9990 to set up an appointment.