Six Ways To Relieve Stress

Six Ways To Relieve Stress

Let's stop joking about it and start ending it.
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Stress, stress and more stress. It is all we seem, myself specifically, to talk about and focus on. For some of us, that's what our world revolves around. We write blogposts about it, we laugh at memes involving it. Heck, we practically allow it to control our lives. But what if we stopped allowing it this control? What if we actually started working to manage our stress levels and enjoy the things we're doing. According to a lot of psychologists, most stress can be prevented with better planning and time management, but before any of that can happen we have to learn to tame the stress we currently have. Here are six solid ways to start relieving your stress:

1. Listen to music

When I sit and think of all the great times I've had in life, a majority of them had a catchy song playing in the background. In the words of the great Taylor Swift, "people may not always be there for you, but music always is." Once you find your genre/artist/band/style/soul song it is almost impossible to not allow it to affect your mood. When you find yourself drowning in the demands of your world, take a minute to pause life but play your music.

2. Call a friend

You don't have to talk about your stress, it would probably be better to talk about something completely unrelated. Call up your guys and gals and ask them about how they're doing or what is going on in their life. Sometimes distractions are the best way to advert your stress and calm yourself down. If you can't avoid the topic of stress coming up then feel free to get it off your chest. The power of saying how you're feeling is relieving and a good friend is the perfect way to do this.

3. Exercise

It sounds painful (to me at least), but too many studies have shown the positive correlation between a healthy mindset and a healthy body for me to ignore this one. Maybe you're in to lifting weights, maybe you're a runner, maybe you're into something of slower pace like walking or yoga. Whatever your workout fancy is, take an hour to escape from what's causing you anxiety and allow your body to release all those healthy endorphins.

4. Take a deep breath

It sounds silly, but sometimes a simple long breath in and a long breath out works magic. Just taking a few minutes to sit back and relax allows for better oxygen flow, your muscles to relax, and for your mind to clear up.

5. Start enjoying the simple things

Find pleasure in that short conversation you had on the concourse or that candy bar you snacked on a few minutes ago. It is so easy to let the larger things like school assignments, club commitments, and friendship woes to control our mind that these little breaths of fresh, sweet air, get lost in the shuffle. Make a conscious effort to find joy in your storm.

6. Read scripture

Nothing makes me calm like the word of our Lord. Start your day off with a devotional, write encouraging scripture in your planner, and make time during the day to turn to God. The bible is full of advice for the troubled heart and always does wonders for my stressed soul. Above all, if anything can conquer the monster of stress in your life sweet Jesus can.

Cover Image Credit: ttlearning.com

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

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. 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 there are some stuck in the gray area of 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're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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A Journey to Positivity


The journey to having a positive mentality is one that I still struggle with daily.

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Look- I am not saying I am the most positive person in the world. I have plenty of days where I don't think I can do anything right, and days where I feel like I am on top of the world. I decided for the new year I wanted to seize every opportunity that came my way. Becoming more of a positive person for me means not letting my doubts stop me from achieving my goals and realizing even when things don't go as I planned there's still hope. Nobody is positive all the time and that's okay. There is a difference however, going through life actively trying to see positivity in your everyday life and assuming the worse. I have had a quitter mentality for a long time. The word "can't" was in my vocabulary far too much. I would constantly sell myself short because I thought some ideas/dreams were too far off for me to actually accomplish. When you have this mentality you watch others pass you by, accomplishing milestones whether getting a new job or writing a book. While I have always been proud in watching fellow peers accomplish their dreams, it dawned on me why I wasn't doing the same.

The journey to having a positive mentality is one that I still struggle with daily. It is comfortable to fall back into a place that feels familiar. Whether you necessarily like where you are or not sometimes it's easier to fall back. It truly hit me that I was allowing myself to be held back when I reflected on this past year. I realized I didn't take chances on myself from being scared of the unknown. I wasn't thinking positively and definitely not thinking I could achieve my goals. I decided for the new year I wanted to seize every opportunity that came my way. Now for some it's not easy to get up one day and just be "positive." When it doesn't come naturally it's something you have to work for constantly. There are plenty of self-help books on being more positive and steps to get there. One of my favorite books is In the Meantime by Iyanla Vanzant. It focuses more on loving yourself and finding the love you want. While this book may seem like it focuses on romantic love it also delves in deeper to truly loving yourself and peeling back the layers of doubt and insecurities. Once I reflected on my past I realized there were a multitude of reasons why I wasn't seeing life in a positive mindset and knew I wanted to change it.

I found the easiest way to become a more positive person was to first write a list of things I wanted in life even if seemed far fetched. Within that list I focused on what I felt I could accomplish within this year and changes I wanted to make personally. The goal of being a more positive person is not knowing if everything you want is necessarily going to happen but allowing yourself to at least try. As well knowing even if you didn't get that internship or the best grade on an exam, there's always room for growth and learning. While I am still on this journey of seeing positivity in everything I do, I have noticed a change in myself and life around me. I stopped using words that deprived me of growing and excelling, and started focusing on what I have accomplished and realizing I have more to offer than I ever thought before. As well, making sure I surrounded myself with people who gave off positive energy and helping each other grow as individuals.

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