When stress is triggered and you’re having a hard time regulating, here are a few ways to cope and get grounded.
Self soothing – use your 5 senses and find something that feels comforting and soothing to each one. For me, smell = lavender oil, taste = tea or a really strong peppermint gum, touch = super soft clothing, sound = one of my yoga playlists, sight = flipping through my camera roll on my phone or looking out my back window at the trees.
Breathwork – apps like Calm, Insight Timer, Headspace, and Stop Breathe & Think are all great tools to help practice breathwork. Simple techniques that you can do at any time, like square breath (in for 4, hold for 4, out for 4, hold for 4, repeated 10 rounds) can also be quick ways to use your breath to shift your nervous system.
Awareness of your window of tolerance – start to get familiar with idea that we all have different capacities to handle stress, and that capacity changes depending on a variety of factors. As I practice things like setting boundaries, breathing, prioritizing my needs – my window of tolerance grows. I can handle more. If I’m aware that I’m starting to move out of my window of tolerance, I have new awareness to disengage more promptly and return to taking care of myself.
Boundaries – Setting limits is essential to stress management. Start to become aware of the answer to this surprisingly difficult question: “What do I need?” We often ignore our own needs and this is the root of so many stressors.
All of this and more can be part of your therapy journey – learning more about the “why” is essential to having a long-term balanced relationship with stress! – Amanda