Stress is inevitable. We are all bound to encounter negative life events, stressful times, and situations that take us off track.
It is important to realize that stress is not bad in itself. It helps us achieve our goals and protects us in life-threatening situations. However, when we carry stress for a prolonged amount of time without adequate coping strategies, it begins to affect our health, relationships, and all-around life satisfaction.
However, there are also proven strategies to help train our minds and bodies to better handle that stress in a more mindful and proactive manner. If we have a few tools in our back pockets when stressful events arise, we’re more likely to successfully overcome them.
Here are five mindful techniques you can use the next time you encounter a stressful event:
1. Remove yourself from your thoughts with meditation.
Our thoughts can be harsh—we are our worst critics when we should actually be our best advocates. When we encounter a negative situation, we tend to engage in catastrophic thinking. Our thoughts tend to exaggerate the magnitude of the problem, and if we take our thoughts seriously, our stress levels rise.
When you find yourself jumping from one thought to another, check out. Mindfulness meditation has been found to decrease negative automatic thoughts. Observe your thoughts rather than identifying with them. Meditate for one to five minutes daily, focusing on your breath and a relaxing view or focal point.