When you’re feeling stressed, it’s easy to let whatever you’re stressed about take over your thoughts. And then when you’re constantly thinking about your stressor, you can start feeling down or hopeless. So, how can you escape that stressed out feeling that gets you in a bad place when you’re feeling stressed?
Sometimes you simply can’t get rid of the stressors you encounter from day to day. (That’s the case for most people.) Instead, you can change how you react to stress. Your reactions in the face of stress can make you more resilient, and ultimately, happier. Plus, stress resilience is associated with better brain health.
Stress can fill your days (and nights) with negativity. The next time you find yourself in the middle of a swirling storm of worries, take a seat and get out a pen and paper. Make three columns on your paper. Title the columns, “Tomorrow,” “This Week,” and “This Month.” In each column, list the things you are looking forward to in that time frame. They can be simple, like, “Drinking coffee in the morning,” or “Listening to the radio the next time I drive.” Maybe you have friends to see a family member in a few weeks or plans to cook your favorite meal this week. Aim to put at least 5 things in each column.
After you’ve completed your list, read each item aloud to yourself. It’s likely you feel a little joy with each announcement, as your brain finds the happy place associated with each of the things you’re looking forward to. Plus, you’ll be able to see that your life is filled with tiny, joyful moments.