De-Stressing Exercises That Will Help You Refocus

Stop Fixating Yourself On Stress — Shrug It Off By Redirecting, Recovering and Re-Engaging

Shrug off the tension and practice some self-care.


Stress is everywhere and felt by everyone. It does not discriminate between man or woman, young or old and it certainly does not care you have already had a hard or tiring day. Stress doesn't think about your appetite or your wellbeing, it just is. But does it need to be? Stresses and feeling stressed may be a normal occurrence and while some people cope better than others, this doesn't mean they are any less stressed.

Stress doesn't need to overwhelm your life, take back control, shrug off the tension and practice some self-care, redirection and self-motivation.

You cannot control what happens, only how you react.

Life is an adventure, it may not always follow a merry path and it doesn't always take us through sunny pastures and wildflower-dotted meadows. Sometimes the journey of life takes a sharp incline and you almost feel like you are going against the flow. Emotional stress can be caused by an overwhelming amount of emotion or similarly, trying to prevent yourself from feeling certain emotions, like sadness or anger.

If you are in a situation that is causing you rising levels of emotional stress, take a step back, give yourself a minute or two to focus on taking some deep, calming breaths and approach the situation with a fresh state of mind. If you find you are struggling with the stress after taking a few breathes, where the circumstances allow, step back from the source of your stress entirely and revisit.

If you are someone that finds you get emotionally charged during stressful events, train yourself to have a subtle calming method, whether this is humming or singing along to a certain song, reliving an exercise in your mind, performing a short set of exercises on the spot or even redirecting your energy into a doodle or sketch.

Accept that not everything is in your control.

Should your stress be caused by school or work responsibilities, learn to accept that not everything is of your control and not every day will end with your to-do list ticked off. To reduce responsibility-induced stress, start the day with your most time-consuming and important tasks, working through your list of requirements until only the least important tasks are left.

If you don't complete these by the end of your schedule, don't let yourself feel unfilled, remind yourself of the work completed and have peace of mind that should anything urgent or important arise, you haven't left yourself overwhelmed.

Students often report high levels of stress, especially those studying to get into a prestigious university or college students who are also working long hours alongside their education. While it's not always possible to put off these sorts of responsibilities, it's important to remember you aren't alone and other students or past students are available to give you advice on reaching certain grades or making the most of your available time.

Fixation on anything is negative — redirect, recover and re-engage.

It's understandable that stress comes from immersing yourself in a situation that you can't always easily escape from, this can create a loop where you fixate on the source of your stress, rather than finding ways to calm yourself and revisit your responsibility. If you are stuck in a situation and you feel your stress levels rising, distract your mind with a menial task like finding something in the room of the color red, finding something that represents the number three or simply finding an item nearby that has something you can count.

Your only restriction is your imagination.

If you are worried that trying to set yourself a menial mental task at the moment will only add to your discomfort, keep a list to hand that you can reach for when you start to feel anxious.

Stress contributes to increased levels of illness, fatigue and worse, making us distracted and encouraging us to push others away from us. It's important for the good of your mental and emotional health that you learn to divert stress, finding ways to distract or calm yourself and revisiting the source of your stress in a fresher mental state.

Life is much more enjoyable when you are in a confident mental and emotional state, so don't forget to smile as even when you aren't happy. Smiling releases endorphins which are the body's happy chemicals!

Popular Right Now

To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

From an outside perspective, suicidal thoughts are rarely looked into deeper than the surface level. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is that people live in between those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead.

You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

We Need To Recognize That Happiness Is The Journey, Not The Destination

Stop waiting to reach the peak, and recognize the climb.


I went for a run today and had an epiphany. This epiphany may just apply to myself alone, but I honestly feel that many people will be able to see themselves in it as much as I do.

My epiphany is that there are two forms of happiness. There is feeling happy, and then there is the recognization of happiness, and no, those aren't the same thing.

We spend so much time searching for happiness. Many of us dedicate our lives to finding happiness, and we believe that to be the best, or even only, way to live. Yet, somehow, we still feel like there's something missing in our lives. That's because we spend too much time looking for things to make us happy, and not enough time recognizing when we are experiencing happiness in the process.

See the thing is that feeling happy is an emotion. You are happy when you are surprised with concert tickets to your favorite band, when your parents tell you they're getting a dog, when you see that you got an A on an exam you were stressing about, and so on. These are fleeting moments of emotion. They don't last for long and don't contribute to your status of living a happy life.

Feeling happy is not a state of being. When someone asks you, “Are you happy?" you think of what you have in your life that is happy. Whether it be the college you attend, the friends you have, the dog you love, or the hobbies you really enjoy. When someone asks you that question, you respond with whether or not you believe yourself to be living a happy life. You don't respond with what current state of being you are in.

Then there is happiness. Happiness once again is not a state of being. Happiness, as I've recently realized, is a process. Happiness is taking a road trip with your friends when you stop at sketchy gas stations to pee and get snacks and then you all fight over who has aux. Happiness is seeing your mom after a month and telling her all about the frat dude who you met last weekend and the professor who you can't stand. Happiness is actually going on that run that you told yourself you would go on, even if it sucks.

Our problem in our search for happiness is that we expect it to show us a big flashy sign saying “Here it is!" when in reality a small sign has been there multiple times and you just haven't noticed.

In order to completely experience your processes of happiness, you need to acknowledge them.

If someone asked me right now, “Are you happy?" I would say yes, and not because I am happy at this moment, but because I am proud of myself for going on that run 10 minutes ago.

There was a point on my run when I thought to myself, “Wow, I said I was going to go for a run and I actually did. I'm running right now. This is happiness." Those are the exact words I thought: “This is happiness." And now is the moment where you, the reader, think to yourself: “Hold up, she was running and— happy???" No. I did not want to be on that run, I was out of shape from a weekend visiting friends and I was exhausted from a long bus ride home.

See I wasn't experiencing the emotion of happy, but I was able to acknowledge that what I was doing was a process of happiness. Acknowledging in the moment that I was experiencing that process was mindset-changing for me.

Related Content

Facebook Comments