Have you noticed how life can suddenly change and turn everything upside down when you least
expect it? Pregnancy, job transfer or sudden unemployment, divorce, death of a loved one, illness
or the diagnosis of a disability?
How do you react when you are faced with stress/challenges?
How does one achieve peace in the daily stresses/challenges of life?
Here are some tools that can help us to thrive in the midst of the stressors in our lives:
Change your attitude
The words and language you choose to use when faced with a life challenge are extremely
powerful in transforming a negative mindset to a positive one. Words have the ability to shape
your thoughts and as the saying goes, “what you focus on grows”. So be aware of your thought
patterns amidst change. To encourage feeling positive, there are many ways to ‘rewire’ the brain
so you can be master of your thoughts rather than being a slave to them including:
Collect and repeat positive quotes that really mean something to you.
Keep a gratitude journal to jot down special memories that will remind you of the good things in your life.
Be kind to yourself, by acknowledging you are doing the best you can.
Talk it out
When you can confide in another, whether that be your best friend, sibling, parent, pastor or
counselor, you open the channel for communication. By being willing to express your fears, it
allows you to brainstorm options. Your confidante can offer a listening ear, a perspective or a
solution you may not have considered previously. Personal connections lower cortisol levels—a hormone in the brain related to stress—which means you can recover faster from stress and thus
know better how to deal with such stressors in the future.
Spend time every day being kind. Pamper your pet, talk to a friend, reach out to a loved one who
is lonely. Don’t forget to show some kindness towards yourself too, through activities that
nurture you. If you’re feeling disengaged lately from someone you care about, rather than taking
it personally, ask yourself, what is happening for that person right now? Are they okay? This
kinder approach can only strengthen relations and fuel a greater understanding, thereby promoting peace and togetherness.
Be consistent with self-care
When people get stressed and anxious, there is a tendency to neglect self-care as a way of saving
time and energy. Unfortunately, this approach only adds to the pressure and we end up getting
less done and feeling anything but calm. Making self-care a priority is a top strategy for
generating calmness within us and around us. Self-care includes making sure you get enough
sleep, eating healthily inclusive of whole plant foods, and getting regular physical activity. It also
includes attending to any physical or mental health issues by engaging health professionals.
“Anxiety happens when you think you have to figure everything out all at once. Breathe… You’re strong. Take it day by day.” Salmansohn
A sense of overwhelm at times robs us of calmness. In this situation, often the best thing is to not
try to work everything out all at once. Just stay focused on today and perhaps this week, and
don’t look any further ahead especially if the future is uncertain. Staying in the present moment
means bringing your thoughts back to now when your mind wanders to the past or future. Research shows that the more time your mind spends in the present moment, the calmer you will
feel. You can ground yourself in the present moment by engaging with your surroundings, and
focusing on the world through your senses (rather than your thoughts). A personal favorite is
sitting on a beach and focusing on the sound of waves and the sun’s warmth on my skin. This exercise helps to keep you in the present moment.
MSc. Clinical and Counseling Psychology