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July 4, 2022

Ways to keep our Stress Levels Down when the world just keeps Piling it On.

In the past few years, experts taking to social media to discuss the importance of mental health is becoming increasingly popular—especially among the younger demographic.

After all, we all want to be happy throughout our lives.

But sometimes, that desire for happiness can be daunting because of this crazy world that seems to constantly be working against us. Especially in our fast-paced, busy society where the constant, non-stop rush to be everywhere and get things done as quickly as possible is keeping our cortisol levels high.

So, can we choose a different distraction?

We all repeat the same patterns without realizing what we are doing.

With a simple swipe on our phone multiple times a day, we can access 24-hour news coverage simply because so many people feel the need to be informed about what’s happening around the globe at any moment.

Then, as we all know, the media shows much more bad news than good news, so much so that researchers have discovered a correlation between poor mental health and news exposure. All the negative news stories come directly to us from our smartphones. Notice that we seem to remember and react to the more unpleasant events worldwide? No wonder we’re so depressed.

An article published in The Washington Post stated that, based on numerous studies, we tend to remember more negative events versus positive ones.

“Many studies suggest that we are more likely to remember negative experiences over positive experiences, and according to Laura Carstensen, a psychology professor at Stanford University, in general, we tend to notice the negative more than the positive.”

Is multitasking beneficial for us?

How many of us are comfortable eating breakfast while scrolling through email, talking on the phone, and texting simultaneously? As soon as the alarm goes off in the morning, we get into multitasking mode to get everything done at home, and then at work, in the shortest time possible. Our day always seems brighter if we’re able to drop a few minutes on our commute without getting irritated by the person in front of us driving too slowly.

To add to our daily stressors, society has imprinted on us the illusion that the only way to get ahead in this life is to multitask and rush through everything we do.

Let’s ask ourselves: when things pile up on our desks, is it more effective to split our attention and juggle multiple assignments as quickly as possible or focus on one task at a time?

According to a study, our brain does not manage numerous simultaneous tasks well. Verywellmind.com has stated, “Multitasking seems like a great way to get a lot done at once, but research has shown that our brains are not nearly as good at handling multiple tasks as we like to think they are.”

So, if our brains are not wired to multitask, why not try to focus on completing one task rather than focusing on everything at once and getting confused and tense?

Keep in touch with your loved ones.

I firmly believe that technology helps improve our lives by instantly delivering the information we need right at our fingertips. However, our tech world is also changing the way we connect and interact with people. The constant connection through social media is sabotaging and destroying our inner peace and our friendships with others.

Instead of texting or sending an email, when was the last time we called a family member or an old friend who we had not spoken to for a while? We pay more attention to our devices and online friends whom we do not even know very well.

The bottom line is that we all need to show more interest in those we love.

Maybe not everyone is aware, but having a close friend or someone who can share our problems can benefit our physical and mental health. An article published online in Everyday Health shared a quote:

“’As a medical doctor, I wish I could prescribe friendships for everyone,’ says Kelli Harding, MD, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City.”

Can we practice active listening?

You may have noticed that sometimes we tend to be unconsciously egocentric in specific ways. If we can, try to keep our busy, bustling schedule private. In a world teeming with enormous darkness like gun violence, crimes against children in schools, depression, poverty, and war, why is it so necessary to keep telling others how busy we will be for the rest of the month?

Don’t let your busy life take center stage. This statement may seem absurd, but nowadays, it looks like everyone is ready to recite a list of things at a moment’s notice to prove how busy they are. Do these words seem familiar? You have probably heard “I’m busy as a beaver” or “I have too much on my plate” from a friend on social media. When we constantly need to remind others how busy we are, it seems like another way of telling them, “I am productive, I’m valuable, I’m more efficient, and, ultimately, I have a life.”

Bottom line: rather than bragging about our overwhelming schedules, why not try to be uplifting? Listen to someone who is in pain. Be their light, let them share what they are going through, and be there for them by just listening.

Let’s ask a therapist.

In a world that glorifies stress, you may wonder what we can do to keep our anxiety at bay. I asked South Texas counselor and psychotherapist Dennis Ramos, MA, LPC, what is anxiety, and what can we do if we’re feeling anxious?

Ramos: “PTSD and panic attacks are some of the most serious forms of anxiety. Some people are born with a higher tendency to anxiety disorders; some require medication. But for the average anxiety suffered (a substantial percentage of the population), it’s about fear of negative things happening to you or your loved ones.”

Practice mindfulness.

Over the years, studies have shown that practicing mindfulness can positively affect our mental health. By practicing mindfulness, we can be present in all of life’s beautiful moments. Ramos also reminds us that being in the present moment is one of the best ways to fight anxiety.

Ramos: “Staying in the present moment is one of the best strategies to combat anxiety. Some call this ‘mindfulness.’ Practicing mindfulness, or staying in the present, can be learned. Meditation is one of the ways to stay in the present moment. But our stressful, hectic lifestyles can make this very difficult.”

Final thoughts on our current stress levels.

In our culture, where we work non-stop and feel guilty if we leave it all behind to relax, it is essential to pause for a moment and recharge. If we don’t schedule a time to slow down throughout the day, it can impact our physical and mental health.

So, you can easily encourage others to do the same by taking a moment to relax and breathe. And in the end, you can share your best version of yourself with others.

Namaste.

~

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