I am stressed and have anxiety, how can I comfort myself?
What is stress? According to the Cleveland Clinic, "stress is a normal reaction the body has when changes occur. It can respond to these changes physically, mentally, or emotionally." Did you know that stress can be a positive thing? Yes, it can. Stress can keep up us on alert, focused, and can keep us away from dangers or from overwhelming ourselves. Is there such a thing as "happy stress"? I think there is! For some, planning a party can be happy stress because it is a happy occasion even though you have to get food, decorations, and invite people may not want there. But because a party is a joyous occasion, this sort of stress can be positive. It all depends on perspective. But 'I have anxiety too' you say. By the way, did you know that anxiety is not a feeling or emotion? No, it is not. Anxiety is body's reaction to fear. What do we fear? Pretty much everything, we fear the unknown. And why do we fear the unknown? Because we cannot control it. But anxiety can also be good. Anxiety is also there to warn us of dangers or to keep us "on our toes"; getting us to work on time, making us study for a test, or doing that presentation at work because our paychecks depend on it. According to Harvard Medical, "experiencing anxiety is complete normal".
So when are stress and anxiety not healthy for us? It is when these reactions do not allow us to move forward and/or allow us to function on a daily basis. It is when we become stuck in our stress and/or experience anxiety on a daily basis, that is when we need additional help in dealing with both stress and anxiety.
How can I comfort myself when I have stress and anxiety?
1. First, tell yourself "the problems I am having today will not last forever". Remember every problem has a solution. You may not like the solution but there is always a solution to every problem. Think back, do you have the same problems today that you had a year ago? Six months ago? Maybe even a month ago? Probably not. Because we are in a constant state of change. So think forward and remind yourself, "I will not have these same problems a year from now, six months from now, or maybe even a month from now".
2. Talk, talk, talk to someone. Anyone. Even if it is a stranger on the bus! In order to begin the healing process, we must let our feelings out. If we do not talk about our problems, how are we let them out? Also talking about our problems allows us to problems-solve and in doing so with another person, provides feedback and another perspective we may not have thought of.
3. Do something FUN! When was the last time you did that? Go out with friends or do something you enjoy doing on your own - watching a funny movie, dance around the house to your favorite music, or play games online.
These are just 3 of countless ways to cope/comfort yourself when you have stress and/or anxiety. I have included links from both the Cleveland Clinic and Harvard Medical on both subjects which include additional coping/comforting skills.
If you'd like additional coping/comforting skills please click on contact, send me a request "More Coping Skills for Stress and Anxiety", and I will send you more.
For more on stress and anxiety how they affect mental health, read on: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11874-stress