Stress is one of the most destructive mentalities that can hurt our mind, body and soul. Some days are more manageable than others, but the constant burden of responsibilities with things like money, relationships, work and family seem to quietly burn in the back of our mind, as if it’s ready to be touched at any moment. Sometimes, when that oh-so-familiar big and dark cloud creeps in out of nowhere, it’s easy to be swallowed into a day of hopeless negativity.
The beautiful thing about the human psyche is that it is malleable and has the capability to be caressed into a lighter state of mind. Here are a couple of ways to lift the dark blanket at the foot on your bad days in hopes to finding a brighter tomorrow.
Make a list. Lists are a great way to visualize all of the things that you’re thinking about in some form of physical organization. On these stormy days that leave you down in the dumps, sit down by yourself and think about what’s really bothering you. Start small and make room for notes — when you’ve written everything down, go back and brainstorm for ways to creatively handle each item. As you go through the list and make notes for everything written down, realize the ability you have in taking that item and making it one less thing you have to worry about. Note that doing this is merely a tool guide to help you minimize the burdening things on your mind; it does not guarantee immediate repair. Some items might take longer than others, but taking the time to reflect on the necessary actions to handle your items will nevertheless encourage you to find a way out of a downhill spiral.
Know your support staff. Friends are meant to be your love sponge — they can absorb the blow when you call and rant about random things on the phone for hours, but always manage to love you back no matter what. By letting you get out your frustration and receive unconditional love in return, friends can be some of the most treasured figures in your life — keep them close and always reciprocate the love they give. Hollye Jacobs, R.N, author of "The Silver Lining: A Supportive and Insightful Guide to Breast Cancer", suggests that you designate different people for different jobs because one person will not give you the advice that you need to receive. Know which friend to call when you need comic relief from your seemingly stupid yet highly frustrating dilemma, and which friend to call when you need honest and sincere advice.
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Find what makes you happy and write it down. Stress relievers differentiate for everyone, but whatever it takes to calm your nerves or give you a little piece of mind, make a permanent note of it somewhere within reach. Physically or mentally, know about five things you can do in order to brighten your day. So, when those storm clouds come rolling in, take a deep breath and remember the things on that list. If possible, do something on that list for temporary relief, then refer to other suggested ways to lighten your mood.
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Decorate your environment. Plants, candles, John Mayer on repeat, dimmed lighting — whatever it may be, taking the time to make your personal space something you feel calm living in is very important. This also includes the outdoors; if sitting on your favorite bench at the park or walking through a trail nearby will help you reflect on what's going on in your life, put your shoes on and get walking. Dark days are often meant to be spent alone (for a certain amount of time), so make sure you’re in a happy place for it.
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Count your blessings. No matter how awful things get, there is always something to be thankful for. Training your mind to think about the positive in your negative state of mind is a powerful and extremely beneficial habit to get used to — start small and practice often; this is a skill that takes a couple of trials to master.
In the end, it’s important to be thankful for whatever you are given in life, make the most out of it, and welcome in the novel arms of tomorrow. Smile and say hello to your silver linings. Things will get better!