Stress. It’s what’s for dinner. And breakfast. And lunch these days. The stress of a pandemic and recession during a toxically divisive election year is a lot to process. And by the looks of our behavior, we aren’t coping well. The threat of a deadly virus and financial insecurity is pushing many of us to our boiling points. Managing heightened levels of stress is something I’ve studied my entire adult life. As a child of an abusive parent, hypervigilance was all I knew. Through therapy, I’ve learned how to cope with stress by surfing the moment. All things considered, I thought it might be helpful to share these techniques with you.

How to Cope with Stress By Surfing the Moment

I just want to know why my clothes only get stuck on the door handle when I’m in a bad mood.

How to Cope with Stress by Surfing the Moment

Imagine you’ve worked remotely all day (or if unemployed, incessantly searched online for opportunities), you homeschooled your kids, assembled multiple breakfasts, lunches, and snacks, washed an absurd number of dishes, folded laundry, made a grocery run, disinfected said groceries, cooked dinner, and then absorbed the evening news. Someone in your family says something you perceive as insensitive, another leaves their dirty dish on the counter, and yet another pees on the toilet seat — leaving it all for you to clean. Reactively stressed yet?

Our bodies produce cortisol when we’re stressed. Current societal circumstances have thrust many of us into a persistent release of cortisol. These heightened levels can cause weight gain, suppressed immune systems, as well as gastrointestinal, heart, and infertility issues. So how do we cope with stress before it severely impacts our health and well-being?

How to cope with stress by Surfing the moment

When frustration and anger is boiling over and we’re fighting back the urge to scream, “WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?” — we need to retreat and focus on calming our senses. –All five of them. Engaging the five senses helps activate the limbic system, which is responsible for regulating emotions.

For example, my favorite sensory soothers are:

VISION | Gazing at the hills behind our home brings me peace. If I’m not at home, Pinterest does the trick.

SOUND | I’m easily overstimulated by sound, so silence is key for me.

TASTE | I’ve found drinking tea rather than inhaling a bag of chips is the better option. But, oh my gosh… salty chips.

SMELL | If you’re unfamiliar with Palo Santo, it’s considered a South American holy wood. I find the aroma spicy + earthy. I burn it every day — stressed or not.

TOUCH | Nothing beats curling-up with my dogs, Georgi + Bodhi. They’re the ultimate cure-all.

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a while. -Including You.

The Flow-Down

Stress naturally permeates into our relationships with family and friends. Surfing the Moment helps us fend-off fight or flight, interrupting our negative thoughts before we react. By soothing our senses, we diffuse our heightened emotions and focus on mindful self-compassion. And right now, compassion in any form is sounding pretty damn good.

*Feature Image | Jess Vide

I hope each of the feel-good nuggets I share nudges you to manifest a more casual, creative, and mindful life. Don’t forget to subscribe below as I add new inspiration often. Thanks for reading, y’all. I’m crazy-happy you’re here.

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