The Best Coping Skills for Finding Calm in a Stressful Environment
Do a body scan
One of the ways that we can understand how our body responds to stress is by doing a body scan. This is an activity that involves closing our eyes and turning our attention towards different parts of our body, making our way from the top of our head down to the tips of our toes. As you turn your attention to each different part of your body, really explore how it feels, but try not to react with any judgment. The aim is not to “fix” anything, but merely to observe where your body is in that moment.
The more you practice body scanning, the more comfortable you’ll become with your body at any given moment.
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Practice progressive muscle relaxation
If you’re taking stress home with you, or if you’re in the middle of a stressful situation and can feel pain in your body from tension, you should try and release it as much as you can.
One of the best ways to do this is by practicing an exercise called progressive muscle relaxation. It’s easiest to do in bed or while lying down, but once you get the hang of it, it gets easier to do while seated. The best way to do it is by working upwards from your toes to the top of your head, clenching and releasing your muscles as you go. Start with your toes, then move to your ankles, calves, knees, thighs, and so on. The clenching helps remind us of how tense and strained we are and helps us differentiate between tension and relaxation.
Begin a practice of mindfulness
Many people find that practicing mindfulness on a daily basis helps them feel more comfortable with the different emotions that they experience in their lives. Mindfulness is simply the act of being present for what you’re currently experiencing, without judgment. It helps give insight into how your mind works, so you can better cope with stressful situations. It can also change the way that people relate to their emotional, mental, and physical experiences.
Mindfulness practice looks different for different people, but it generally begins with a small amount of meditation. There are tons of podcasts and apps that are great for beginners, including Headspace and Calm, which is specifically marketed as a tool for stress reduction.