Psychologists are specialists who help us resolve problems, overcome fears, and sort out our feelings so that we can be calm and healthy. But they are also human beings and sometimes they have to cope with stress too.
Bright Side will tell you some methods that even professionals use to help reduce stress.
John Duffy, a clinical psychologist and the author of a book about teenagers’ upbringing, says, “To reduce stress, I make notes. Thoughts, situations, relationships with people, article ideas. I write down and give structure to everything that comes to my mind. This creative process is really helpful because we forget about problems, our head becomes clear, the tension goes down. After that, I can see things from a different perspective.”
Psychotherapist, writer, and teacher Jeffrey Sumber uses such methods to cope with stress:
“When I feel depressed, I like to eat. But it should be healthy food or a dish that I’ve never made before. I spend a lot of time going through the store, picking out the ingredients. Then, I cut them carefully, prepare the dressings, and slowly eat the dish. I often post the results on Facebook so as to make my friends envious!”
American psychotherapist Kevin Chapman uses the method of progressive muscle relaxation that was developed in 1920.
The idea is simple: after any strong tension, strong relaxation comes. It means that you have to tighten your muscles for 10 seconds and then focus on the feeling of relaxation for 20 seconds.
There are 200 exercises for all of the muscle groups in total. Just don’t forget to pay attention to each muscle group.
Psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne doesn’t fight stress. She has a special mantra that she repeats when she gets into a stressful situation. She says, “I can’t change the situation but I can change my reaction.”
A positive reaction to a negative situation helps avoid stress and even get some experience if you treat it as a challenge. You can also learn from your mistakes.
Psychologist Martin Seligman recommends one easy and popular method that helps clear your head.
Clap your hands and scream, “Stop! I’ll think about it later!” You also can wear a band on your wrist and snap it or pinch yourself whenever you start thinking about something that isn’t benefiting you at that moment. Use such tricks to stop the cycle of thoughts and postpone a problem for a while. Then, try to switch your attention to an extraordinary object or an exercise.
Psychotherapist Amy Przeworski recommends having a period of time when you can do anything you want. Read, draw, cook, exercise — whatever makes you happy. No work, no responsibilities, no negative thoughts, there should be nothing that makes you upset.
Toni Bernhard suggests an unusual but effective method based on physiology.
Swipe your lips with your index finger. This movement touches nerves located on the surface of the lips which stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and helps you calm down.
Of course, there are classic ways to get rid of stress that work just as well.
For example, Deborah Serani, a clinical psychologist and the author of a book Living With Depression, tries to give her body everything it needs. “I use everything that touches my feelings. For example, I can just sit in my car and listen to jazz on the radio, draw, relax in the hot tub, or enjoy exquisite and tasty tea.”
Therapist Joyce Marter uses a method that is common among AA members: to clear your thoughts, you have to do something useful. For example, clear the workspace, wash the dishes, and so on. The main rule is that it should help you divert your attention and it should distract you from thinking about whatever it is that’s stressing you out.
The main concept of getting rid of stress is to distance yourself from the problem for a while. And the better you manage to do it, the faster you’ll recover and be ready for new challenges.
And which method did you like the most? Do you have your own unique way of dealing with stress? Share with us!
Illustrated by Ekaterina Gapanovich for BrightSide.me