NIMH’s GREAT method of coping with Stress and Anxiety

Published on February 18, 2021

Like most folx who’ve trudged through 2020, with a pandemic keeping many of us very frustrated, I experienced a lot of stress and anxiety throughout the year (and to be honest I’ve been feeling it a bit in 2021, too). But perusing the internet I came across this GREAT method from the National Institute of Mental Health (or NIMH) on coping with stress and anxiety.

Gratitude.

Be grateful. Find small things each day to be grateful about. This might be when you wake up in the morning or in the evening before bed or little nuggets of gratitude throughout the day.

Relaxation.

Practice relaxation. Do things that help you to calm down and relax. Practice meditation, or guided relaxation, read a book, lay silently, listen to calming music or affirmations. Basically do anything (that’s not a detriment to your health and well-being) to relax and bring down your stress and anxiety.

Exercise.

Engage in exercise. We know that physical health and mental health are tied together. So when you can try to get up and move to exert any stressful energy and get the blood pumping.

Acknowledge Feelings.

Be aware of the many feelings you have, and accept them as they occur. Right now, things are very frustrating. You may be feeling angry at some of the things that we’re seeing on the news. We might feel anxious about our health and our family’s health. Whatever feelings that you are experiencing, know that it’s okay. Accept them, acknowledge them, and then make sure that you use one of these practices to help manage them.

Track Thoughts.

Track your thoughts and change them. Ensure that you are engaging in helpful thinking. We all have thoughts that, oftentimes, aren’t the most helpful. So if you pay attention to your thinking patterns, you can then engage in more helpful thinking.

This method is a GREAT (hehe) way to help bring down stress and anxiety, even at the bare minimum. But I would be remiss if I did not mention that if a youth you know (or yourself) is feeling stressed out, or experiencing anxiety, our California Youth Crisis Line is available 24/7. One of our trained crisis counselors will be available to help you, just call or text 800-843-5200!

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