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Person worrying with their head in their hands

Helpful Tips To Untangle Your Worries And Stress

Worries and stress are an integral part of life, much like the ups and downs of a heart rate monitor that proves we’re alive and living. However, there is no need to pass them the steering wheel of the car of life! We don’t need to let them dictate every one of our moves and actions like we’re at their mercy. We will realise we should not be controlled by them once we learn some useful tips to untangle worries and stress. Here are a few to get you started!

 

Person worrying with their head in their hands

 

Short-term tips

1. Take a walk.

Simply taking a walk whether it is around the neighbourhood or in a park helps with providing a change of scenery. Instead of remaining in an environment that is inducing stress and worry such as your office or study room, placing yourself in a different setting can help take your mind off things and relax.

Person taking a walk in the park

While walking, consciously focus your attention on the environment around you instead of ruminating over the worry or stress-inducing circumstances in your mind. Pay attention to the sky and the clouds, listen to the birds chirping or observe your fellow human beings to help you refocus your attention!

 

2. Try the box breathing method.

Also known as the four-square breathing technique, box breathing is a rhythmic inhaling and exhaling that can be done in four steps. Just like a square, these four steps flow into each other like a cycle. This technique is used even by U.S. Navy SEALs! 

 

Box breathing can help unwind your mind when facing overwhelming situations anywhere and anytime. However, it is recommended to find a suitable place for yourself that is preferably quiet. Here are the 4 easy steps you can do to start box breathing:

  1. Inhale through your nose as you count to four.
  2. Hold your breath for another count of four.
  3. Then, exhale all the air from your lungs through your mouth for another four counts.
  4. Hold your breath and count to four once again.

Repeat the cycle from Step 1 until you’ve relaxed and calmed down.

 

3. Meditate with mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the practice of being consciously aware of the present moment without being bothered by thoughts of the past or future. While mindfulness can be practised in many simple ways such as being present in the moment, focusing on your breathing and paying attention to your five senses, mindfulness meditation is said to be a more structured way of practising mindfulness.

 

The body scan meditation is one of the examples of mindfulness meditations where your awareness is brought throughout the entire body, from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head while releasing the tension in your body. 

 

Long-term tips

4. Build a schedule that is inclusive of leisure.

Person writing and planning a schedule in a planner

Almost all of us have fallen into the trap of hustle culture, where every moment spent doing something that cannot be monetized or bring any sort of success or gain is considered as a waste. Thus, we are constantly obsessed with being productive, which invites in more worries and stress.

 

But here’s the truth: your hobbies and interests are just as important in contributing to a better life as your pursuit of success. Explore your interests and take up anything that excites you regardless of whether it can be monetized. Be a plant mum. Learn an instrument. Take up pottery making. These can be elements in your life that can help you de-stress and prevent stress and worries from building up.

 

5. Change your perspective.

Often, our worries and stress can stem from changing circumstances that are demanding something out of us. When such a challenge comes up, we have a choice to either see it as a stressor or as an opportunity.

 

When we view it as a stressor, we obsess over it by thinking about how things can go wrong or how hard and trying the process is going to be. But switching your perspective to see the challenge as an opportunity and thinking of what you can possibly learn or gain from it can help us approach challenges more constructively.

 

6. Build a social support system.

A group of friends sitting on a picnic blanket under a tree

Having people to fall back on when the going gets tough is vital! Although they might not be able to solve our problems or address the source of our stress and worries, they may be able to provide a shoulder to lean on during trying times.

 

We need to acknowledge that there are sources of stress and worries that cannot be eradicated by simply changing up our perspective. Sometimes, we just need someone to listen to us and be there for us without judging us or giving unsolicited advice. So, be sure to build a circle of reliable friends who will have your back. 

 

Habits you can develop to help untangle stress and worries:

1. Say ‘NO’.

The build-up of stress and worry can sometimes be attributed to having more on our plates than we can handle. Our hopes to not upset people and be good friends or colleagues can sometimes lead us to take up more things when we already have enough things to do. We fail to set boundaries and say ‘no’ when we are incapable of taking something up, be it dog-sitting for our neighbour or covering our co-worker’s shift. We must understand our limits and honour them because doing so is being human, not a weakness. 

 

2. Ask for help.

You don’t have to be strong and independent all the time. Sometimes, it’s okay to take a step back and ask for help when the going gets tough and everything becomes a little overwhelming. Please don’t feel like you’re a burden to someone for asking for help. Because the truth is, your loved ones will be more than happy to be there for you. Remember that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. At times, this could be your greatest strength.

 

 

While stress and worries cannot be completely removed, we can consciously choose to respond better during trying times. It may not change overnight, but with persistence and intention to deal with stress and worries better, we will eventually get there. You can do it, Crunchies!

 

Interested to read more about handling stress? Check out this article on mental resets and how they can help you deal with stress.

Psychology student. Writer. Speaker. A bundle of sunshine.

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