It’s an element of my life that I never was able to combat. I remember when I was in high school, I went to the doctor and she asked, “What are you stressed out about?” To this day I don’t remember why I was there, but I remember that I wasn’t exactly relaxed about…something.
So, throughout the years I thought that I was “managing” stress by writing to-do lists (which helped, somewhat), and doing my favorite activity, listening to music. However, 80% of the time I felt alert and anxiously waiting for the next stressor. This was especially true in college. Exams, papers, presentations…ugh! (Glad I’m done with that).
But, it wasn’t until I began therapy for OCD did I learn one way to truly relax, and it helped a lot. The technique? Diaphragmatic breathing. Once I learned how to do it, I used it all the time: at work, and whenever I needed to refocus and felt scattered.
But, that wasn’t enough. After I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) a month or so ago, one of the ways to manage the disease was to reduce stress. So, I found an article with suggestions.
In addition to my diapragmatic breathing, I now do yoga, and get out in nature (code for “more exercise”). Norah Jones, who I love, has become a prominent fixture on my iTunes when I need to relax–in addition to my other favorites–and write in my journal. And I talk about my problems instead of keeping it all in. Same goes for my emotions.
Also, getting a grip on my OCD is a stress reliever. Not having to worry about certain things takes a load off my mind.
I’m open to other stress busting techniques, though! So, how do you manage stress?