Did you start the New Year off wanting to be a better, less stressed version of you? It’s a common goal, but the ongoing pandemic may make it a bit more challenging. Mental health experts recommend these research-backed tips to help channel a calmer, happier version of yourself in 2022.
- Practice the “STOP” skill - Clinical psychologist Dr. Sabrina Romanoff shares this strategy that comes from Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT, that can help you regain control when you feel yourself panicking. “Stop stands for: Stop; Take a step back; Observe; Proceed mindfully,” she explains. “When emotions take over, you may find that you act impulsively. When you react impulsively, you do not have time to use your arsenal of skills.”
- Or use the “TIP” skills - Also from DBT, Romanoff explains that “TIP” breaks down to mean “Tipping the temperature of your face with cold water; Intense aerobic exercise; Paced breathing and Paired muscle relaxation.” She says each of these techniques works quickly to change your biological response to stress and helps ground you in the present moment so you’re better able to cope.
- Get outside in the daylight - Thomas Plante, a psychology professor at Santa Clara University and adjunct clinical professor of psychiatry at Stanford University Medical School, says you don’t even have to do vigorous exercise outdoors to get stress-relieving benefits. He says just walking outside for 15 minutes a day can leave you less stressed over time.
- Connect with others when you’re lonely - Reach out to a loved one who may also be feeling lonely or to someone who you haven’t heard from in a while. Plante points out that when we’re kind to others, they’re usually kind back to us, which creates a “positive boomerang effect” and that can lower stress, anxiety and depression for everyone involved.
- Identify your triggers - Therapist Lin Sternlicht says the most efficient way to reduce stress is to start doing stress reduction techniques as soon as you’re aware you’re feeling stress. In order to do that, you need to know what triggers stress for you so you’re ready to deal with it when you know it’s coming.
- Try the “5-4-3-2-1 grounding method” - Staying grounded in the present moment can help relieve stress and the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding method can help keep you in the here and now. Just think of five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste.
Source: Fox News
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