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Guest Posts

Stress Relief in Stressful Times


Written By PensacolaFlorida.com
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Categories: Guest Posts

Stress Relief in Stressful Times

By Elizabeth Curl

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of additional stress in everyday life. According to the American Psychiatric Association, 8 in 10 adults say that the pandemic is a significant source of stress. Stress may also strain your personal relationships, especially now if you are an essential worker, working from home with children, or going to school online. When stress becomes a constant issue, it can lead to physical or mental health issues. In order to better cope with stress, it is important to understand what it is. Though everyone’s personal definition of stress may be different, stress is generally considered to be the body’s response to situations that cause emotional or physical tension.

Symptoms of stress may include: 

  • Physical pain
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • Exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension

 

Here are some stress-relief techniques to try on your own!

Tapping

Otherwise known as EFT (emotional freedom technique), tapping is an alternative treatment used for relieving physical pain and emotional distress. It is a treatment that is still being researched. EFT is based on traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture. Instead of applying pressure with needles, fingertips are used to put pressure onto specific areas of the body.

 

Box Breathing

According to Medical News Today, box breathing is a simple relaxation technique that helps bring the body back to a regular breathing pattern. 

First of all, make sure to prepare by sitting in a chair where your back is supported and your feet are on the floor. 

To start, close your eyes, breathe in through your nose, and count to four. Make sure to focus on feeling your lungs fill with air. Then, hold your breath while counting to four and make sure to avoid inhaling or exhaling. Begin to exhale for four seconds. 

Make sure to repeat this process at least three times or until you begin to feel calm again.

 

Positive Affirmations

Saying positive things about yourself can help to change a negative mindset into a more positive one. It can also help you gain more confidence, and focus less on insecurities and perceived flaws. Positive affirmations are pretty simple.

Instead of saying something negative such as, “I can’t get this assignment done, I’m going to fail,” use a positive affirmation such as “I will do what I am able to complete this assignment, but my grades do not define me as a person.” 

Repeating positive affirmations a few times daily can help shift your mindset so that you are better prepared to take on stressful situations.

 

Counseling

Counseling is a mental health tool that has grown in popularity during the pandemic in order to cope with stress. It is not just for people with severe mental health issues, either. Speaking with a professional regularly can give you advice and guidance in order to deal with everyday stressors, in addition to addressing mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression. Though counseling is becoming more accessible with the rise of telehealth services, it must be acknowledged that not everyone has equal access to a counselor, especially with the increase in demand during the pandemic. According to the American Institute of Stress, there are some smartphone applications that may be able to help with stress management and relief if counseling is not accessible or available.

  • Headspace
    • A meditation application. Users can complete a free trial and purchase a subscription to gain wider access to more meditation sessions and programs.
      • Free and available on both the iOS and Google Play stores.
  • Sanvello
    • Sanvello, formerly known as Pacifica, is an application that is based on principles used in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Users are able to track how they feel, set personal goals, and practice relaxation techniques. 
      • Free and available on both the iOS and Google Play stores.
  • ReachOut Breathe
    • This application helps users control their breathing. It has a unique feature that can detect the user’s heart rate through the device’s camera.
      • Free and available on the iOS App Store.
  • WoeBot
    • WoeBot is a messaging-style application that utilizes artificial intelligence in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to help users deal with distressing emotions and thoughts. 
      • Free and available on both the iOS and Google Play stores.
  • Virtual Hope Box
    • For people who have PTSD, Virtual Hope Box provides a variety of tools to help reduce stress and has been one of the few phone applications empirically tested to support users at risk for suicide.
      • Free and available on both the iOS and Google Play stores.

 

If you or a loved one is dealing with a mental health crisis, there is support available. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ for more information.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline chat: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/

If you or someone else is in danger, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.