Enjoy and appreciate
It is impossible to eliminate all the causes of stress, but we can learn to deal with them better. There are proven ways to help us manage stress, including changing our perspective, as well as finding distraction in music, in a phone call or by solving a crossword puzzle. Another way to reduce tension is to bolster other areas of your life. Consciously integrating moments of enjoyment into your days can help you withstand stressful situations, freeing up energy to cope with stress, and making it easier to achieve, and remain in, equilibrium.
When creating moments of enjoyment, consider the following:
- Enjoyment never arises as a side note: it needs attention, time and conscious awareness.
- Less is more: enjoyment is not about quantity, but quality.
- Enjoyment can be boosted by being interrupted.
- Contrasts increase enjoyment: e.g. a meal made up of several courses.
- Enjoyment is personal: what are the things you enjoy?
- Give yourself permission to enjoy. We tend to postpone enjoyment, especially when life is difficult, even though this is when it would benefit us most.
- Improve your ability to enjoy by consciously activating sensory channels. For instance, when you’re out on a walk, pay attention to the noises around you, work on your tactile perception by touching the bark of a tree, moss or a pebble. This exercise expands your spectrum of enjoyment.
- The sense of smell is closely connected to the limbic system where emotions are processed. Pleasant fragrances arouse positive feelings, and even an imagined scent can be enough to briefly interrupt a stressful situation!
Take a day off to relax and enjoy
Treating yourself to a day of relaxation every now and then works wonders! Careful planning, preferably written down, will ensure you enjoy your day off to the full. For that day, ignore the clock and follow your biorhythms, your internal clock. Don’t plan to do too much, because no relaxation programme should ever result in stress. Note: make sure your mobile is switched off!
A relaxation day can take many forms: an early morning stroll through the woods or a nearby park can be a great start. Visit your local market and buy fresh fruit and vegetables. Go with your inspiration! Prepare simple meals and enjoy them in peace and without distraction: from a sumptuous breakfast to a good lunch and a warming soup in the evening. Make time for your body too, and enjoy a bath or face mask. Get creative: paint a picture or solve a crossword puzzle.
End the day in a calm and peaceful atmosphere.
Live consciously and create enjoyment
- Change the bed: there’s nothing like the anticipation of sleeping in fresh and fragrant linen.
- Indulge in a long, hot bath: enjoy running the water, choosing a bath oil, lighting a candle, and savour the wonderful feeling of immersion and relaxation.
- Stroke an animal, feel its soft fur.
- Drink a glass of red wine in mindful concentration.
- Jump in a puddle, just because it‘s fun.
- Go for a walk and focus on the landscape, noises and smells.
- Take a bite out of a juicy apple with full attention, notice its texture and acidity.
- At the end of a long day, consciously take off your shoes and feel the floor under your feet.
- Even mindful hand washing can be enjoyable.
Beat stress with small doses of enjoyment
- Social interaction reduces stress. You don’t have to have deep and meaningful conversations; small talk can be just as stressbusting.
- Removing yourself physically and mentally from a source of stress is highly beneficial, and helps you gain new perspectives.
- Laughter and humour also create distance and reduce stress.
- Learn to take really good care of yourself. Taking a break and what you do in that break are equally important: read a book, enjoy a cup of tea, leaf through a magazine or stretch out on the sofa. Taking plenty of breaks and paying attention to the signals your body and psyche give you helps you react in good time.
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