Before you can reduce the negative effects of stress, you have to find out what causes your stress and how you cope. One tool that can help is mindfulness, which is a practice of becoming more aware of what’s going on—in your body, mind, and the environment around you. Rather than running back to a habitual pattern of avoiding or obsessing, mindfulness allows you to simply be present and notice what’s happening right now, giving you the space to choose the best way to respond.
Identify what’s going on
1. What are your sources of stress?
Strange as it may seem, we are often not aware of what causes us stress. So take time to check in with yourself, without judgment. How are you feeling? Pay attention to your body—are your muscles tense or relaxed? Is your breathing deep or shallow? Are you holding your hands open or curled in fists? You may be surprised to find when you are experiencing stress or simply reminded that you find certain situations difficult. Just let yourself acknowledge the feeling.