10 Proven Psychological Techniques You Can Use
We all get stressed out at different times in our lives.
However, this doesn’t mean that we should let stress control us or even to ruin our relationships and how we feel about our circumstances.
The best way to lower your stress level is to first identify the source of stress and then remove it.
Check out the 10 effective stress reduction below.
1. Develop awareness
This is the step most people skip.
Why? Because it feels like we already know the answer.
But sometimes the situations, physical signs and emotions that accompany anxiety aren’t as obvious in the moment.
Here are a few common symptoms of stress and anxiety:
- excessive sweating.
- tension and muscle aches.
- trembling or shaking.
- a dry mouth.
So, try keeping a kind of ‘anxiety and stress journal’, whether real or virtual.
When do you feel anxious and stressed and what are those physical signs of anxiety?
When you can identify what’s stressing you out and how you react, you’ll know when to use the techniques below.
2. Simple power of your breath
The mind and the body each feed back to the other.
For example, standing confidently makes people feel more confident.
It’s the same with anxiety: taking conscious control of breathing sends a message back to the mind.
So, when you’re anxious or stressed, which is often accompanied by shallow, quick breathing, try consciously changing it to relaxed breathing, which is usually slower and deeper.
You can count slowly while breathing in and out and try putting your hand on your stomach and feeling the breath moving in and out.
3. Avoid venting emotions
Some of the ways we react to stress are built on false conceptions of how the mind works.
‘Venting’ — letting your emotions out in an angry, tearful and emotional rush — is a good example.
It’s commonly thought that emotions have to be ‘let out’ in order to reduce them.
This simply isn’t true.
Venting emotions can actually cause them to become more powerful, rather than allowing them to subside or reduce.
None of this is to say that you shouldn’t talk to others about what is happening, it’s just that the form it takes shouldn’t be a blast of raw emotion.
4. Rethink your mindset
One way to deal with stress is to change the way you think about stressors.
You can do this by reframing the stressful tasks you have to do.
For example, giving a presentation is stressful but, on the other hand, it’s a chance to demonstrate your expertise to others and to network.
One study on how to beat stress had bankers watching a ‘stress-is-enhancing’ video which suggested that some people do their best work under pressure.
For example, Captain “Sully” Sullenberger landed his stricken airliner on the Hudson River and Winston Churchill successfully led Britain through WWII.
Those who’d seen the ‘stress-is-enhancing’ video did develop a more positive stress mindset. This led to them reporting better performance at work and fewer psychological problems over the subsequent two weeks.
In addition, thinking that stress is enhancing was associated with lower levels of cortisol, a hormone closely associated with the stress response.
In other words, people’s physiological reaction to stress was better when they endorsed the idea that stress is enhancing.
5. Accept what can’t be changed
Sometimes, though, trying to find the upside of a stressful situation can be hard.