Learning how to manage stress, anxiety, and other mental health challenges takes time. These videos are meant to help you define some mental health terms you should be familiar with and provide you with guidance on how to find relief.
Start by acknowledging what you’re feeling. Are you stressed or anxious? Have you been ruminating on something, or overthinking or replaying past events in your head? Are you catastrophizing by overestimating the likelihood of your worst fears? By identifying and acknowledging what you’re feeling, you’ll be able to take steps to move forward.
Address your feelings. You can try box breathing, gratitude journaling, naming five things in the room around you, and stretching. It’s also important to be prepared to talk supportively with others about their mental health
Anxiety is something I’ve lived with my entire life — from worrying about homework assignments in grade school to overthinking my college major to catastrophizing my decision to quit my first job. I didn’t always know the name for what I was experiencing, which made it even more difficult to address.
Learning how to manage stress, anxiety, and other mental health challenges takes time, but the first step is acknowledging and accepting your feelings. Only then can you successfully implement tactics like meditation, gratitude, and deep breathing, among others. Putting words to your experience can also give you the tools you need to assess whether you might benefit from talking to a mental health professional.
These videos are meant to help you define some mental health terms you should be familiar with and provide you with guidance on how to find relief.
There’s a fine line between stress and anxiety, but there is a distinction. Think of it like this — stress is typically a response to an external trigger, while anxiety is often triggered internally by excessive thoughts, like worries about the past or future. Stressful situations can also lead to thought spirals, resulting in anxiety. When that happens, ask yourself: What’s going on here? Is there a reason I’m feeling this way? What can I do about it?
According to author and life coach Charlotte Lieberman, the basic criteria for determining whether stress or anxiety have become problematic is whether they have begun adversely affecting key domains of your life, like work or social situations. When this happens, it may be time to consider getting outside help from a therapist, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional.
Have you ever done something awkward at work only to find yourself thinking about it constantly the next day? This is called rumination — it’s overthinking or replaying past events in your head. Rumination is linked to anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges, so it’s important to keep it under control. One way to do so is to simply distract yourself — go for a walk, listen to a podcast, or just do something you enjoy.
Catastrophizing is all about overestimating the likelihood or consequences of your worst fears. It’s a common reaction to uncertain situations. When you find yourself catastrophizing a situation, challenge yourself to really play out the worst-case scenario. Then, think about the best-case scenario. The reality will likely be somewhere in between.
One of my favorite things to do if I’m feeling anxious or stressed is to do some box breathing. It’s simple — breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, and repeat. Try doing this several times throughout your day to check in with yourself and recharge.
Our brains are hardwired to acknowledge negative experiences over positive ones — it’s called negativity bias. By practicing gratitude, we can interrupt this bias. Next time you’re experiencing negative feelings, try writing down an answer to one of these questions: What have I gotten to learn recently that has helped me grow? What am I better at today than I was a year ago? What am I grateful for right now?
Next time you’re feeling anxious, try naming five things in the room around you. I can see a coffee table, a houseplant, a throw blanket, a painting on the wall, and a television. It can also help to describe how the objects feel — my throw blanket feels fuzzy and warm on my skin. By doing this exercise, you can help take your brain out of worrying about the future or passing judgements about the past and bring it back to the present moment.
Does your neck hurt? Did you just realize your shoulders are basically touching your ears? You may not even know how tense you are until you take a moment to relax. Stretching can be an easy way to release some of that stress and tension — even if you’re stuck at your desk.
Unfortunately, talking about and taking care of your mental health is still taboo in our society. This can make it even more difficult for those struggling to seek help. That’s why it’s so important to not only look out for yourself, but to also be a good ally to those around you experiencing mental health challenges. When talking to someone struggling with their mental health, avoid putting the blame on them, shrugging off their feelings, or leaning into toxic positivity. Instead, use supportive language, make it clear that you’re there for that person, and offer to help where you can.
Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here are for general informational purposes only. If you have concerns about an anxiety disorder, we recommend you consult with a medical professional.