National Stress Awareness Month is ending in a week, but sadly most peoples’ stress won’t end with the month of April. Many people are still reeling from the bombing and shooting events in Boston as well, which only increases everyday stress. Experts share some tips on how to keep your stress levels at a minimum despite the recent events.
Carrie Krawiec, a marriage and family therapist at Birmingham Maple Clinic and executive director of the Michigan Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, said in an email that stress can sometimes worsen depression and anxiety, which leads to a negative outlook on the world. This in turn starts a vicious cycle of negativity and increased stress due to that negativity.
“One of the best remedies is to rewrite these negative, self-defeating scripts or thoughts about ourselves, others, [or] our situation with some positive replacements,” Krawiec said. “I encourage people to identify a minimum of five positive thoughts for each one negative.”
You can make a chart on paper with a happy face on the right and a sad face on the left, then list negative vs. positive thoughts. An example of a negative thought is: “I am overwhelmed I have no one to help me.”
Here are five positive thoughts from Krawiec to counter that negative thought:
1) My mom helps me.
2) I am not overwhelmed when I am at yoga.
3) I can make a list and try to do five things each day.
4) I could be better at asking for help instead of waiting for others to help me.
5) I actually got a few items on my list done today.
“I always tell clients that positives make us feel light like feathers, and negatives are heavy like cement,” she said. “That’s why it takes five positives to outweigh each one negative.”
This method can apply to any aspect of life. If you start to feel mad at a significant other for something hurtful they did or said, just think of all the great deeds they have done for you, and the loving words they have said to you previously.
Dr. Eva Ritvo, a psychiatrist, speaker and author, said in an email that there are some ways to reduce stress, even in the wake of the recent tragedy.