Editor’s note: The American Heart Association is a sponsor of Chambanamoms.
From the American Heart Association
We all have stress — at work, at home, and on the road. With all the demands on our time, mothers can feel especially stressed as we try to juggle our own responsibilities while taking care of our family’s needs.
Negative stress can keep you from feeling and performing your best, mentally, physically and emotionally. Long-term stress can even put you at risk for health problems down the line—including heart diseases and stroke—so it’s important to manage it as it comes. Try these three simple techniques from the American Heart Association for dealing with stress and making life a little more peaceful.
1. Positive Self-Talk
Let’s be honest, we all talk to ourselves! Sometimes we talk out loud but usually we do it in our heads. Negative self-talk increases stress, but positive self-talk can help you calm down and control stress. With practice, you can learn to shift negative thoughts to positive ones:
“I can’t do this.” to “I’ll do the best I can. I’ve got this.”
“Everything is going wrong.” to “I can handle this if I take one step at a time.”
“I can’t believe I screwed up.” to “I’m human, and we all make mistakes. I can fix it.”
To really make it work, practice positive self-talk every day — in the car, at your desk, before you go to bed or whenever you notice negative thoughts. It’s a great practice to teach kids, too!
2. Emergency Stress Stoppers
- Emergency stress stoppers are actions to help you defuse stress in the moment. Here are some ideas:
- Count to 10 before you speak or react.
- Take a few slow, deep breaths until you feel your body un-clench a bit.
- Go for a walk, even if it’s just to the restroom and back. It can help break the tension and give you a chance to think things through.
- Break down big problems into smaller parts. Take one step at a time, instead of trying to tackle everything at once.
- If it’s not urgent, sleep on it and respond tomorrow. This works especially well for stressful emails and social media trolls.
3. Stress-Busting Activities
When stress makes you feel bad, do something that makes you feel good, even if only for 10 or 15 minutes. Some ideas:
- Work on a scrapbook or photo album to focus on good memories.
- Read a book, short story or magazine.
- Meet a friend for coffee or a meal.
- Do a hobby like sewing, knitting, or making jewelry.
- Play with your kids or pets – outdoors if possible.
The key is to find your groove and make it a practice. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you may start to feel better once you disrupt the cycle of stress. For more information, visit the American Heart Association at www.heart.org/healthyliving.