At one time or another we all fall off track, and I have noticed that this is more likely to happen when we are feeling stressed. Pressure at work, craziness at home, lack of sleep, relationship issues, all of these things can contribute to veering off of the track we have set for ourselves. “Off track” can mean making poor eating choices, not exercising, being crabby, or even more unhealthy things like, resuming old bad habits like smoking cigarettes or drinking. When we feel stressed, our mental resistance is down, and we revert to whatever behaviors we believe will make us feel better. So, how do we combat this phenomenon?
Here are three tips to help ease you through those stressful times:
1. Practice deep breathing. Deep breathing is such a wonderful tool to help pull us back into the moment and stop the mental chatter that feels like it is slowly driving us insane! Added bonus: slow deep breaths trigger the release of endorphins, producing a calming effect.
2. Set a routine. Many times when we are stressed, it is because we feel out of control. Setting a routine for ourselves to help us stay in control of our day gives us that psychological control back! Make to-do lists, map out time in the day to accomplish things, include every detail, even the mundane regular events. You will stay more focused and feel in control when we see the day or week play out the way YOU planned it for yourself.
3. Plan activities. Distract yourself with things to do! Have things planned, even if it is just going to the bookstore, stopping to get a cup of coffee, or taking a walk outside for some fresh air. Activities do not need to be expensive or overly involved to be enjoyable. The point here is to distract yourself and give your mind a chance to stop running in stressful circles and get back on track.
There are things in life that we have no control over, but the wonderful truth is that stress will dissipate if we allow it to. We are sometimes our own worst enemies, and we can disregard all that we know about staying happy and positive in the face of stress. Don’t allow stress to let you get off track. Be prepared and take care of yourself, and always remind yourself: This, whatever it is, will pass!