My Top 3 Ways to Cope with Stress

Elephant Butterfly in My Top 3 Ways to Cope with Stress
Photo by TheThreeSisters

This month has been hectic.  More than the usual hectic.

And I discovered something useful about myself (Self discovery seems to be the bright side of all things exhausting).  I got to see my top 3 ways to cope with stress.  These are the strategies I seem to reach for first, and fortunately two out of three are accessible while I’m on the go, and they’re all healthy so I thought they’re worth sharing.

1.  Silence.  My number 1 way to cope with stress is to turn everything off.  Turn off the radio in the car.  Turn off the TV at home.  Turn off sound.  The less auditory stimuli, the better.  When I’m stressed my head is already noisy enough without adding any more noise from the outside.  Quiet outside, quiet inside.  Silence helps reduce my feeling of being overwhelmed.  It simplifies and limits what’s coming at me.

2. Clean.  When I feel stressed, I clean.  Getting the space around me organized makes me feel more organized inside.  When things are clean and orderly, it’s like I’ve made the environment quieter.  Environmental silence.  Messiness is a kind of noise.  At least it is for me.  It’s too distracting.  I don’t know, maybe that’s a little OCD, but it’s selective OCD — I can happily postpone cleaning most of the time.

3. Appreciating beauty.  This one, like silence, is really portable. You can do it anywhere.  This is not the kind of appreciation that happens when you try to be grateful.  It’s just spontaneous noticing of hidden treasures, happy little distractions from whatever it is that weighs on you.  I don’t go looking for them.  It almost seems like they look for me!  They jump out at me.  Grab my attention for just the instant it takes to switch background and foreground.  For that moment, the stress fades into background, as the beauty comes forward, more vivid, more real.  And I feel better.  A smiling baby in a grocery store.  The smell of ground coffee.  (I have to confess here that I sniff bulk coffee dispensers).  A cloud that’s an unusual color.  Overhearing a kind exchange between strangers.  The perfect word in a sentence –  now that’s a thing of beauty.

3 thoughts on “My Top 3 Ways to Cope with Stress

  1. maryellen

    My top 3 ways to relieve stress:

    1) Workout, do something physical and get out of my head
    2) Talk with a friend
    3) Do a random act of kindness ( during the busy season I asked a perturbed customer at the market to go ahead of me at the checkout)

  2. Arlene

    I completely agree with your three ways of coping with stress, Susan, and may I add that I love to listen to soft rain, petting one or both of my dogs lightly while listening to soft music, and I love sitting in my comfy love bath tub soaking my achy bones in bubble bath, as I gaze at a beautiful picture on the wall which has dozens of different colored wildflowers with a stone path leading towards a huge bulky pure green tree and one black kitty sitting with his back toward the viewer as if he is staring at the tree with a saying in script underneath which reads “The ideal of beauty is simplicity and tranquility” by Johann Wolfgang Goethe. Thank you for allowing me to share : )

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