While life will always have its stressors, these are the few ways that I handle life's stress from overwhelm. I have developed these practices to help me be more mindful, less stressed and better able to remain the peaceful parent I strive to be.
To avoid the burn of acting out during an emotional upsurge, take a few simple steps to calm your heightened spirit and quiet your uneasy mind.
My personality and the way that I care and invest in things makes me very prone to stress, anxiety, and depression.
I feel like this is something I will always battle in whatever complexity (and maybe everyone does?), but as I get older, I’m really trying harder to safeguard my mental and emotional health.
Take care of your body. I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and hypothyroidism, I’m gluten intolerant and have a couple other minor food sensitivities, and I get headaches really easily. Put some love into your home. I’ve found that one of the biggest contributors to keeping my sanity is having a nice, safe, comforting place to come home to in the evenings. Those are great overall life goals to keep stress and depression at bay (for me at least), but what to do when you are really having a rough day? Take a few deep breaths and read “Desiderata.” During one particularly rough time in college, my dad called me and read this poem to me over the phone, hoping that it would help me. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.
Remember that having a bad day (or even a sequence of bad days) doesn’t mean you have a bad life! Again, these are not meant to be a cure for depression, just ways to help keep a more positive physical, mental, and emotional attitude. I’ve been an anxiety struggler for many moons now, and one thing I’ve learned is that sometimes it is help to engage many senses at the same time when trying to calm down!
We breathe everyday, every single moment of our lives that it’s easy to take it all for granted.
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When the moment has passed, you'll be grateful you were able to be the master of your emotions.
This was something I really, really struggled with during college as my health issues, low energy levels, un-settled-ness, stress of grades and performance, exhaustion from difficult and draining courses and late nights studying, difficulty making close friends, distance from family (etc…) really led me into a difficult mental and emotional state. Because of my low energy levels and digestive issues, it is super important for me to eat a healthy, whole foods diet (free from wheat, barley, and rye, and limited on milk, eggs, and sugar) and it is essential that I get a good amount of quality sleep (8-10 hours a night, doing my best to avoid waking up in the middle of the night). The things we surround ourselves with take up so much mental, physical, and emotional space in our lives. It is really easy to get caught up in the get up, go to work all day, come home, clean up the house, make dinner, go to bed routine, leaving no time left to focus on things you really love or enjoy.


A nice cup of tea or even just warm water with honey and lemon is really nice to sip on while getting ready in the morning.
This can be different for everyone, but for me, I like to try to get in the shower by 9 p.m.
He often quotes it, especially in that “the universe is unfolding as it should.” I find that when I’m having a hard time, re-reading it not only reminds me of him and that memory and that everything will be okay, but it brings a little more peace into my life. Depending on your situation, this might not work, but often times the easiest solution is the simplist.
Sometimes I get so wrapped up in certain situations that I keep re-living them over and over in my head, making me unable to move on with my life or focus on the tasks at hand. This isn’t always an option (especially if you are at work), but if this is possible in your situation, take advantage of it. Paint, craft, crochet, garden, build something, whatever, but do something that you can feel good about making.
This one is also pretty obvious, but sometimes the best medicine is to forget about your problems and just hang out with someone you love. I usually just turn on my favorite Pandora station or look up my favorite song on YouTube, but I would love to sit down and compile a playlist of songs that bring me joy to play when I’m feeling down. Listening to relaxing music and lighting a candle with lavender or eucalyptus and cuddling something soft stimulate lots of different pleasure pathways at once, which seems to help my mood more significantly. But there is actually a difference between normal breathing and deep breathing—the latter can be healthier when done regularly.
Calms down the nerves: breathing deeply and slowly (but not too slow as to actually reduce the volume of your air intake) gives your nerves time to relax. Lowers blood pressure: because breathing deeply relaxes the muscles, and the body’s arteries or veins (those little tubes through which our blood is transported throughout the body) are essentially muscles, then a lowered blood pressure is also one of the benefits of deep breathing. Strengthens the lungs and heart: one of the major benefits of deep breathing is how it reduces the workload on the heart.
Improves the management of certain psychological issues: two medical researchers, Richard Brown and Patricia Gerbarg, analyzed in 2005 several studies concerning the benefits of deep breathing, and they concluded that breathing deeply and often can have a positive effect on depression and other anxiety-related disorders.
Enhances the power of meditation: of course, one of the foremost benefits of deep breathing is how it is integrated in meditation—without it, the goals of a meditation session would simply not be met.
This morning I woke up, realized what I didn't do and then intentionally didn't turn my phone back on. These are not meant to be a cure for anxiety or depression, just ways to help keep a more positive physical, mental, and emotional attitude. There are a lot of things that can be toxic in our lives – family drama, bad relationships, bad workplace environment, stress from where you live, etc.
We often surround ourselves with so many things that they become a burden — a burden to clean, to put away, to find a home for, to take care of, to repair, to manage, etc.
One of my biggest struggles during the beginning of my college years was that I didn’t have this place to come home to and feel settled in.
I’ve found that if I neglect my creative passions and personal goals for too long, I start to really feel depressed (and that my day job (or school when I was in college) is taking over my life).
Having a morning devotional, prayer time, journaling, meditation–whatever way it takes to start your day in a calm way (instead of rushing around like a crazy person to get to work or school on time!). Ask yourself “Does this really matter?” “Is this situation going to matter in five years?” If not, try to let it go. I’ve found that sometimes I just need to write it out to get it out of my head so that I can move on. Are you stressed because you have too many things on your to-do list, but you can’t re-evaluate any of those plans?
As much as I wish I could say that I always lived in the moment and enjoyed each day, sometimes the best medicine is to think about the future when one day the stress that you are currently going through won’t exist. I love this article on 10 ways to de-stress your day, hour by hour. I once read a book that said you should write a positive, affirmative letter to yourself to read when you are feeling down.
As you know, our whole body or every single one of our organs needs oxygen, and some, like the brain, could not afford to be deficient in oxygen for even a few seconds. Oxygen is needed in vital cellular processes on which life depends, and all you have to do is contribute your little part in the process: by breathing deeply, which also significantly improves the quality of the blood. And thanks to the increased amount of oxygen, the major parts of your nervous system (the spinal cord, nerves and the brain) are better nourished.
Deep breathing, especially during or after a stressful day at work, can reduce the occurrence of muscle stiffness and can enhance your overall sense of well-being.
By regular practice, you consequently strengthen and make your lungs more efficient than ever.
A simple way to test this is by breathing deeply now: feel how your negative emotions subside, all your pent-up tension “flow” out of your nostrils.


With the increased assimilation of oxygen, your brain automatically produces neuro-chemicals that calm you down—this, along with the aforementioned calming effects of deep breathing, all work together in greatly improving the power and focus of meditation. You might not have the same dietary restrictions as I do, but eating healthy, whole foods, getting good sleep, and exercising is important for everyone! It is so freeing to get rid of the excess and to not feel so tied down to objects — keeping only the things in your life that bring you joy. For me this means carving out a little time in the evenings (even just a couple times a week) to read, work on personal design work, decorate, paint, crochet, practice calligraphy, learn new skills, etc. Go through the list and circle the ones that will take you the least amount of time to do, then go do them as fast as you can. But while the sudden loss of oxygen supply can have drastic health results (and that’s just putting it mildly), long-term reduction in oxygen supply due to “normal” improper breathing can also be equally dangerous.
Moreover, deep breathing has been shown to cause the brain to increase its release of so-called pleasure neuro-chemicals, thereby giving you a better mood or disposition. And because there is more oxygen in the blood, the heart is not so overly taxed, thereby cutting it some slack. In fact, one of the quick ways to manage an anxiety or panic attack is by letting the person start breathing deeply in counts of 10. With all the stresses and many ways that life takes hold, it isn’t hard to get to the point of overwhelm and feel like you can’t handle it all.
But it is really important to do everything you can to not let these things affect you for the worse. Make it a place you enjoy coming home to at the end of the day (or all day if you work from home). For me, this means that even in the middle of a busy week, I need to make time to meet with my church group, have a movie night with Drew, get out of the house and explore the city I live in, read, watch TV, do something relaxing and refreshing, take a walk.
I struggle a lot with having a calm morning routine (I’m always so tired that I want to get every last second of sleep, meaning I often wake up too late and I’m in a rush) but I think this is one of the best ways to make sure you start your day off on the right foot. For you, this could also mean a quick pick up of the house, running of the dishwasher, wiping down of the kitchen counters, picking out your clothes for the next day, packing lunch(es), etc. Or spend a few minutes thinking about all the blessings in your life instead of focusing on your troubles. I actually listened to a lecture today on how stressful life situations can cause different gene expression in your immune cells that lead to negative overall body responses like inflammation and increased susceptibility to viral infection…and it stressed the importance of things like mindfulness, relaxation, and meditation to improve your health! That’s why the benefits of deep breathing are obvious—better general health and a more cheerful disposition. The bottom line: the more oxygen the heart receives, the better the lungs and heart in doing their jobs, the better overall health you enjoy. Let go of the toxic relationships in your life, change your workplace, move to a less stressful environment, whatever it takes. It was the one time of the evening that I could forget about the work I needed to do and just focus on preparing the meal.
It almost never fails that there will be things on your list that will only take you a few minutes, yet they are adding so much stress to your plate to see another line item to-do.
And if you must know, the following five health benefits are just some of the most common of such benefits. In the same respect, evaluate new purchases so that you don’t end up buying new things you don’t need. This could also tie into your passions, and sometimes it does for me, but even your creative passions can be stressful and overwhelming sometimes and it is good to take a break from them to relax and watch a movie (or whatever).
After checking off a few things you will already feel so much more accomplished and ready to tackle the bigger things on your list.
Write it down where only you will see it, delete the document at the end if you need to, and move on. It could also mean curating the information that comes in — from news sources, social media, etc.
I’ve found that often the only time I end up setting aside for this is when I’m in the car on my commute to work and back. In the same respect, let go of things in other areas of your life that aren’t working any more.
Let go of goals that don’t work any longer, bad feelings, past hurts, disappointments, and as said above, people that aren’t healthy in your life.



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