Dealing with Stress: 5 Effective Ways to Distract Yourself

Note: This post is written by Stephanie Norman

Stress is a major distraction in your life. When you are worried and you carry a huge burden on your back, your work and relationships suffer.

When people are under stress, they might experience increased blood pressure, headaches, muscle tension, sweating, pain in the stomach and neck, an abnormally rapid heart rate, and shallow breathing. They are tense, unhappy, judgmental, and irritable. In fewer words – stress disables you to function normally.

There are a few ways of dealing with stress. Some people do everything in their power to face the problem and find a solution. But sometimes that’s impossible to do, since you cannot always solve issues that are not directly dependent upon you.

When you realize that you have nothing else to do but to leave things to flow naturally, you have to find a way to distract yourself from the stress. If there is nothing you can do about it, you shouldn’t allow the pressure to affect your life too much.

Here are five methods that will help you deal with stressful thoughts and emotions you don’t want to go through:

1. Don’t suppress the thoughts. Observe them!

How are you supposed to distract yourself from stress without suppressing the thoughts that worry you? There is a paradox in the process of dealing with stress: if you cut out the bad thoughts the moment they appear, they will burden your subconscious levels and create an even worse situation for you. Sooner or later, they will come to the surface with full intensity.

Instead of suppressing the thoughts, you should observe them. Allow all thoughts to flow, but do not analyze them under any circumstances. Let’s see a banal example: you had a fight with your best friend and now the entire conversation is being recreated in your head. Don’t stop to analyze a certain argument, thinking ‘I should’ve said this/that in that moment’. Then the entire recreation will take another direction and you’ll start fantasizing. That’s not a good way to deal with stressful thoughts. Just let them pass through your mind and don’t be carried away by them.

This technique is simple to explain, but it takes some practice to gain immunity from the mind patterns. However, it helps by not letting you to suppress bad thoughts and emotions in the subconscious levels, where they can cause physiological and psychological problems.

2. Write!

If it’s too difficult for you to stay detached from your thoughts when you observe them with the previous method, then write them down. Use plain paper and pen instead of a computer; writing by hand enables you to focus more on the process itself. Your thoughts will start to flow; all you need to do is write them down.

Keeping a journal can help a lot in the process of dealing with stress. Take notes about your mental health and write about the way you feel every day. However, it’s important not to focus solely on yourself, since that can make the problems seem even more serious. Take a random event from the day and write about it. You can also write about your impressions from the books you read and movies you see. Don’t focus on sadness and anxiety every single day; find something fun to write about and discover your bright side.

The journal may help you discover the potential triggers of stress. Sometimes you feel bad for no particular reason. When you write the journal, you may discover the patterns and suppressed thoughts that caused that state. Then, you will let them come to surface and you’ll be able to let them go away.

3. Emphasize the good things in your life.

People like to complain. Negativity seems to be a natural state of mind these days. Here is a simple example: you see a woman with a wonderful white shirt – it’s perfectly clean, but there is a tiny mark of a pen on the shirt. Although it’s almost unnoticeable, that mark gets your entire attention, so you forget how clean that shirt looked at first sight.

Your mind is drawn towards negativity, but you can bring it out of that state. This will sound like a cliché, but you do need to perceive the glass as half full.

When you’re burdened by stress, try to think about the things that bring balance in your life. Maybe you don’t have enough money to pay the bills, but you’re loved, you love and you’re healthy. Whatever the case is, you can always find a joyful moment in your life. Think about the good things and be grateful for them.

4. Be active!

Work is a great distraction from stress. This doesn’t mean that you should focus on your job, which brings even more stress on its own. You need an enjoyable activity you won’t be attached to. It shouldn’t bring money or acknowledgment – you do it just because you like it. Think about something you always wanted to do. Maybe you like big, colorful gardens? Why don’t you transform your background into your personal heaven?

You always wanted to go to yoga? Now is the perfect moment to do that; this discipline can help you deal with stress in many ways. Physical activity is important. You can walk, run, or even clean the house to get your mind away from the worrying thoughts. Try painting, knitting, playing music… do whatever makes you happy and engaged.

5. Make a change.

Have you considered the possibility of stressful situation coming with a purpose? Stress is part of everyone’s lives. Why does it always find a way to get into different aspects of our living? Maybe it’s there for a reason.

Every single stressful situation may transform us in good ways. When we observe the events, we realize that we cannot always make a change in the way the world works. However, if we observe and understand our thoughts and emotions, we may come to the realization that we can change ourselves for the better.

Stress may be an incentive for us to accept challenges and learn something more about ourselves. If you focus on finding creative solutions to surpass the stressful situation, you will transform it into a positive state of being. When you understand that stress is a constant, you won’t allow it to bring you down. Instead, you will use every situation for your personal progress.

It’s Not About Avoiding Stress; It’s About Dealing with It

No matter how hard you try to suppress or avoid stress, it will get to you at one point or another. The way you deal with these situations determines how much they will affect you.

The most difficult aspect of dealing with stress is staying away from the state of disappointment. With the five methods explained above, you will learn how to get through the most stressful periods of your life and rise like a phoenix from them.

Stephanie Norman from Sydney has been a contributing blogger and professional writer for 4 years already. She writes creative and business content covering writing and inspirational issues as a freelancer. Also, sometimes she provides editing service at Australian Writings. You can follow her at Facebook and Google+.

Photos by bottled_void, churl, Melissa