How to Practice Self-Love When You’re Stressed
Loving ourselves by dealing with our stresses
All of us are under stress. Stress is an unavoidable part of daily life. What we do with it, however, is a choice. By acknowledging that we cannot eliminate stress, only manage it, we free ourselves from the burdens of perfection. Stacey Herrera shared her experience with stress, stating, “I didn’t recognize that I was completely disconnected from my body. I was letting stress take up space inside of my dwelling.”
Ways to quiet the mind
It is time to tell stress it is no longer welcome to take up space inside our dwellings. There are a variety of ways to do this. Consider the following options, and find one or two that work best for you:
· Guided imagery;
Some people find writing to be an effective way to reduce stress. Taking 10 to 15 minutes to journal stressful events can help you sort out your feelings about the situation. Journaling about stressful events daily can also offer insight into what is bothering you – and what your triggers are. If you realize, for example, that you have journaled about how stressful your environment is at work for the majority of days over the last several weeks, this can be your epiphany. Is it the location of your office? The people you choose to spend time with? The way you spend your time? Once you identify the stressor, you can address it. Stop letting the stress take up space inside your dwelling!
Rather than dwelling in your stress, take a moment to refocus. First, identify something that interests you. Then, make a concerted effort to spend some of your time doing that. There’s no right answer here. Decide what brings you joy or satisfaction and forge ahead. Consider gardening, knitting, playing with your dog. Perhaps you would like to volunteer your time to a good cause. Maybe you enjoy cooking. While you are doing your chosen activity, make the effort to remind yourself this is supposed to be enjoyable. It should not be an opportunity to go through the motions while you ruminate on that which you find stressful.
Sometimes it really helps to talk it out. This, however, is a slippery slope. A few suggested ground rules are in order. First, set a time limit. Agree with whomever you are talking to that the talk will be limited to 15 minutes. Set a timer and once the timer goes off, move on. Set an agenda. Is this a time for you to vent your spleen? Or are you looking for solutions by having a discussion with a trusted friend? Either is fine. It is just important that both of you are on the same page. There may be a time when your friends and family are not enough. Talking with a trusted member of the clergy or a professional counselor may be in order.
Guided imagery allows you to imagine yourself in another setting, such as a forest or a beach. The idea is to move your brain away from stress and redirect to inner strength, creativity, and peace. Guided imagery can help you fell less stress, but it can have another benefit as well. Professional athletes are known to use guided imagery to imagine success, from start to finish. Studies suggest this actually does enhance their performance. You, too, can imagine your success from start to finish, using guided imagery.
To start a guided imagery practice, go to youtube. You will find a host of options. NOTE: If you find one instructor’s voice to be insipid, annoying, or irritating, just find someone else. There are lots of options to choose from.
Like guided imagery, meditation is designed to move your brain away from stress and redirect you. Meditation has been proven to reduce stress in the immediate here and now. An added benefit to meditation, however, is that meditation has been proven over time to change the way your brain works. This means that as time passes, giving your brain a steady diet of meditation puts you in a position where things you once found stressful are no longer quite as stressful. Things you may dwell on today, allowing them to consume your thoughts, can become less consuming over time.
There are many different styles of meditation. You can experiment to find what works best for you. Some prefer chanting, some prefer silence, with an occasional bell, others prefer guided meditations, which are sometimes indistinguishable from guided imagery. If you take the time to explore, you will find a way that works for you. Don’t be a perfectionist. Allow yourself to start small, with a one or two minute mediation. Build from there.
Dealing with our stress
Dealing with our stress, rather than letting it take up space and residing with us, allows us to be more joyful, happier, and probably healthier as well. Love yourself enough to pick one or two of these activities and try them out for a few weeks.