a. Heart Breathing - Close your eyes and decide to set aside your worries for a few minutes. Slowly, breathe in, focusing on your breath, and breathe out, focusing on your breath. Pase for a few seconds, and take another slow, deep breath, continuing to focus on your breath. Now, imagine you’re breathing through our heart (or the center of your chest) and if you would like, place your hand over your heart. As you continue to breath slowly and deeply, picture each in-breath and out-breath going through our heart. Picture and feel each in-breath nourishing your body, and each out-breath getting rid of the waste your body no longer needs. Picture your breathing bathing our heart and body in purifying, soothing air. Now, as you continue your breathing, notice any feeling of warmth or openness in your chest. You may want to picture someone you love, something that you are grateful for, or a beautiful scene. Let that sense of gratitude grow and notice the glow, the warmth, the lightness. This should be done for at least 90 seconds and can be done for up to 10 minutes.

Stress Relief Tactics

4. Treat your self - Go out and buy yourself something nice or do something that you love to do. Though it may seem like a temporary fix, a moment of joy can do wonders. Just ensure that this does not become obsessive or unhealthy.

3. Seek Professional Help - There is no shame, if you have the means, to talk to a therapist. If you feel that no one/nothing has been able to get you the help you need, reach out to a mental health professional. They know what to do at a time of need.

2. Talk to Someone About it - Seek out a friend, family member, or someone you trust and have a constructive conversation about what is going on. This conversation can be a two way rant or have an end goal of finding a solution: it is completely up to you. Just ensure that it ends positively and leaves no party feeling worse than they entered. Here are some good questions to address during this conversation. 

1. It is okay to do nothing - We are taught to be as productive and efficient as possible at all times. This often means that we are always expected to be doing something. In a time of high emotions or high stress, it is okay to take an appropriate amount of time off. Just ensure that this time off does not become a habit or a mode of procrastination. Some ways to do this healthily are to :

8. Progressive Muscle Relaxation -  Take three slow, deep breaths, imagining the tension draining away as you exhale. Clench your fists. Hold them tight while you count to 10. Then release for 15-20 seconds, noticing the difference between tense and relaxed. Use the same format as you tense and then release each of the following muscle groups: biceps, triceps (extend your arms forward and lock elbows), shoulders, shoulder blades, neck (tilt head back), jaw (open mouth), eyes (close tightly), forehead (raise eyebrows), feet (curl toes), calf muscles (flex feet), thighs, buttocks, stomach, chest (take a deep breath and hold it for a couple of seconds). Now scan your body and repeat exercise for any particular muscles that are still tense.

6. Overall health - Please make sure that you are eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. It works wonders!

5. Meditation - For many, meditation eases the mind and improves mental health overall. If you have never meditated before and would like to try it, there are several very simple and short tutorials all over the internet. No kind of meditation is bad, as long as it works for you. If you have tried meditation and you didn’t really like it, that is okay; it is not for everyone.

7. Breathing Exercises - Calming breathing exercises are proven to decrease stress in the moment and for long periods of time after the actual activity is done. Try one of these:

  • Watch an episode (or two) of your favorite show

  • Watch a movie you love

  • Read a book (for fun)

  • Literally, do nothing

  • Paint, draw, sculpt, sketch, etc.

  • Or just generally, anything that you like to do

  • How are you feeling?

  • What caused this/these feeling(s)?

  • What was your initial reaction?

  • Have your emotions changed? How?

  • How could you deal with these emotions (refer to #1)?

  • What steps are you going to take in the future?

  • Hanging out with friends

  • Going to Disneyland

  • Getting an ice cream cone

  • Hangin with the fam

  • Going to a play/musical/stand-up comedy show/movie

  • Whatever you enjoy doing

b. The Pretzel -

1. Put left foot over right at the ankles

2. Stretch out your arms in front of you with palms facing outwards

3. Put right hand over left, cross at wrists

4. Interlock fingers and then fold your arms inward, resting interlocked fingers on chest. Or you can rest your crossed hands on your thighs

5. Inhale with your tongue on the roof of your mouth near the front of your teeth

 6. Exhale with your tongue on the bottom of your mouth in a normal resting position     

7. Repeat for 90 seconds to two minutes

These are only some examples. Find what works for you and stick to it! Mental health is just as important as physical health, so make it a priority.

 

P.S: Please do not use unhealthy coping strategies (i.e. drugs, alcohol, denial, self-harm, etc.). If you are, please seek help from a parent, friend, or someone you can trust. They can get you help. Thanks!