“Dance to the Music”: 5 Essential ways to manage Stress
Stress management are a various techniques that people use to manage stress. I will be clear in stating that stress is not always bad, and there is no such thing as not having stress. We all have it from time to time. I am sharing ways to manage it effectively, so it does not turn into toxic stress. Five years ago as a Recovery Counselor, I use to facilitate group therapy and my group were people over 40 yrs old, they managed stress in their own ways by gossiping or smoking, drinking etc. When I tried to teach them meditation, they were not receptive to it and stated it would not work. When speaking with them I shared some struggles about myself and challenges that stressed me out, this open the door for them to share how stressed out their feeling. Being transparent, and having ice breakers in group settings are good ways to ease off tension and make people more comfortable.
First, listening to calming music.
Turn on that favorite R&B song and mellow down. I like to listen to music while I cook, drive or even take a shower. Depending on my mood I will listen to something upbeat if I am exercising, or in the mood to dance. I will listen to calming music if I had a hectic day, and I need to mellow down. It all depends on your mood. Putting good old salsa music on in group therapy, brought up happy memories for my group, and they would joke and laugh together. This made their moods shift and feel good.
Next, deep breathing while meditating helps manage stress.
You would be surprised at how many people may forget to just breath… I remember in a sociology class my professor pointed out how we breathe improperly and made us close our eyes and breath. Just like my group therapy session with my clients, I thought it was dumb as hell lol, but then I put more thought into everything he said, and I applied it to my life. I tried it in my therapy group sessions and eventually it really did work.
Now we must not simply breath, but we must close out our thoughts and simply imagine ourselves in a peaceful place. When meditating, I like to image myself on a beach, laying on a warm sand and smelling the ocean breeze. Turn on a candle and appreciate the silence around you. Self-reflection and meditation are so empowering, but that is a whole other subject we will not get into right now.
Next, get moving and dance or start your favorite work out!
Studies show that exercise is amazingly effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate. Everything is a process so never expect that something like meditation or exercise will instantly work when you first try it. You will see progress and feel better when you are consistent.
Lastly, organize yourself, and love yourself enough to practice self-care and get rid of toxic habits and people.
I like to reorganize my closet and give away whatever I’m not going to wear or use, and let me tell you, I felt like a million bucks. It was like I revamped myself. I even cut back on eating certain foods, which also contributes to stress as well. Take baby steps if you must. Self-care is different for everyone, some people like to paint, others like arts and crafts. For me I enjoy taking care of my skin. I like reading on skin care, and using products that benefit me. For men self-care maybe exercise, watching a sports game or going for a bike ride . What matters is picking healthy habits that work for you.