Don’t Worry, Be Happy!
So many people worry a lot, stress, and feel like they can’t relax. These worries can lead to anxiety, depression, and relationship and career problems.
Sometimes people seem to find life to be difficult; they feel hopeless and have trouble building happiness, love, and connection.
What can be done about this epidemic of stress and anxiety?
What we need is to find ways to de-stress, or to deal with our stress better.
Before we do that, the first order of business is to determine if one needs professional help:
If you are extremely anxious or depressed to the extent that it prevents you from going about your daily life, or interferes with your relationships, it is important to get professional help from a counselor, psychologist, social worker, therapist, or psychiatrist.
But what if it doesn’t rise to that level, but you are just looking for a way to feel happy, to relax more and worry less? Or what if you’re getting professional help, but you want to do more or try additional outlets?There are all sorts of stress relief alternatives available and many of them can be accessed for… Click To Tweet
One of the cutest, furriest, and wisest is..
Dear Mishu is an Advice Columnist and social media star.
Mishu’s so smart, and gives such great advice, that she’s almost a super hero! “Here she comes to save the day!”
See Dear Mishu’s profile including her Powers and Origin Story
Besides following Mishu – What Else Can You Do About Anxiety and Stress?
MindfulnessAn important way you can help yourself with anxiety or stress are the tried and true practices of… Click To Tweet
Mindfulness: The practice of focusing your awareness on the present moment.
It is a mental state in which you acknowledge and accept your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. You are aware of your emotions, but you observe them, instead of judging yourself for having them.When you are mindful, you are in the moment: you aren’t worrying about what could go wrong… Click To Tweet
If you feel stress or worry or hopeless, you notice that this is your feeling, and that’s it.
Easier said than done, right?
One way to become more mindful is by practicing meditation or mindfulness meditation.
In this practice, you usually sit or lie down and try to empty your mind, focusing only on your breath, for example. And when your mind wanders — to your exam tomorrow, to your boss, to your long distance relationship — you just “name” the thing you’re thinking about or the emotion you’re feeling (“worry” “work” etc.), and then get back to focusing on your breathing.
Mindfulness can help you learn to focus on what you want rather than the things that cause you stress and anxiety.
By practicing this every day, you can train yourself to be more mindful. Over time, you’ll notice that you spend less time ruminating over what makes you unhappy.
You’ll literally be retraining your mind!
Check Out Dear Mishu’s advice on Mindfulness!
I’ve heard that humans can learn to be present by taking a single raisin and eating it slowly, to feel all of the sensations and everything that went into bringing that raisin to them. Personally, I would do that with a fly, not a raisin, but you get the picture.
Here’s the Full Raisin Meditation Practice, for greater Mindfulness :
Five minutes daily for at least a week. Evidence suggests that mindfulness increases the more you practice it.
HOW TO DO IT
1. Holding: First, take a raisin and hold it in the palm of your hand or between your finger and thumb.
2. Seeing: Take time to really focus on it; gaze at the raisin with care and full attention—imagine that you’ve just dropped in from Mars and have never seen an object like this before in your life. Let your eyes explore every part of it, examining the highlights where the light shines, the darker hollows, the folds and ridges, and any asymmetries or unique features.
3. Touching: Turn the raisin over between your fingers, exploring its texture. Maybe do this with your eyes closed if that enhances your sense of touch.
4. Smelling: Hold the raisin beneath your nose. With each inhalation, take in any smell, aroma, or fragrance that may arise. As you do this, notice anything interesting that may be happening in your mouth or stomach.
5. Placing: Now slowly bring the raisin up to your lips, noticing how your hand and arm know exactly how and where to position it. Gently place the raisin in your mouth; without chewing, noticing how it gets into your mouth in the first place. Spend a few moments focusing on the sensations of having it in your mouth, exploring it with your tongue.
6. Tasting: When you are ready, prepare to chew the raisin, noticing how and where it needs to be for chewing. Then, very consciously, take one or two bites into it and notice what happens in the aftermath, experiencing any waves of taste that emanate from it as you continue chewing. Without swallowing yet, notice the bare sensations of taste and texture in your mouth and how these may change over time, moment by moment. Also pay attention to any changes in the object itself.
7. Swallowing: When you feel ready to swallow the raisin, see if you can first detect the intention to swallow as it comes up, so that even this is experienced consciously before you actually swallow the raisin.
8. Following: Finally, see if you can feel what is left of the raisin moving down into your stomach, and sense how your body as a whole is feeling after you have completed this exercise.
Source: https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/raisin_meditation University of California, Berkeley Greater Good in Action – Science-based Practice for a Meaningful Life
NatureDear Mishu (and most experts) recommend exercise and spending time in nature for dealing with… Click To Tweet
Here’s Mishu on nature walks for stress, depression, and relaxation:
Dear Sarah, I feel you, but if you take a walk outside your perspective might #change : Look at the birds, the bugs, the squirrels, the trees. The world is a busy place and we’re each a very small part of it, each of us struggling to make our way forward. Join humanity, join nature, keep #struggling. And take a nature walk every day! #dearmishu
And here’s Mishu’s answer:
I feel you, but if you take a walk outside your perspective might #change : Look at the birds, the bugs, the squirrels, the trees. The world is a busy place and we’re each a very small part of it, each of us struggling to make our way forward. Join humanity, join nature, keep #struggling. And take a nature walk every day! Love, Mishu
Now here’s what the science says:
According to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, people who walked in a natural area “showed decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression.”
And not getting outside is harmful to your health! People who live in cities have a 20% higher risk for anxiety and a 40% higher risk for mood disorders vs people in rural areas. (Source: Article on Hiking and Mental Health)
Try Something New
One of Mishu’s best advice for dealing with stress is to try something new.
How exactly does that relate, you might ask?
Well, when we’re stressed or anxious, we sometimes feel trapped. And that can make it difficult to do the things that will make us feel better.
Well, according to Mishu, and a lot of experts:Trying something new and going outside your comfort zone can be very empowering, build confidence. Click To Tweet
Trying something new is also a really great way to do-stress. How does that work?
First of all, just making a Choice to do something different can feel really good. Whether you end up liking the thing or not, just the fact that you chose to try should lift your spirits.
Second, trying new things can change your perspective — it can show you that you like what you didn’t think you’d like, or just introduce you to a new way of being in the world.
Third, sometimes trying something new entails sacrifice or hardship. But if you don’t try, you’ll miss the opportunity to discover that there might be real joy to be found.
Trying something new can be easier said than done, but the joy and relaxation — and the self confidence that you might gain from being successful at it — can make a huge difference in your life!
Check out this Video of Dear Mishu trying something new… and loving it!
Another thing you can do to help yourself deal with stress is to surround yourself with people you love. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be romantic love. It could be friends, family, or both!
Spending time with people you care about, just hanging out, cuddling with them, talking, doing something fun — all of these things rejuvenate us, help us de-stress, and build our sense of self and our confidence.
Here’s Dear Mishu’s post on Love and the Secret to Being Happy:
Life isn’t always perfect (sometimes other dogs at the dog park don’t want to play, or my humans have delicious food they won’t share), but I’m always happy. I think the secret to happiness is spending time with people you love (cuddling with my humans!), doing the things you’re passionate about (chasing squirrels!), and always #remembering to go out and have fun (sniffing around!)… #dearmishu #whpfollowthelight
Life isn’t always perfect (sometimes other dogs at the dog park don’t want to play, or my humans have delicious food they won’t share), but I’m always happy. I think the secret to happiness is spending time with people you love (cuddling with my humans!), doing the things you’re passionate about (chasing squirrels!), and always #remembering to go out and have fun (sniffing around!)…
EVERY DAY IS A GIFT
This is a hard one — but if you can manage to work on your positive thinking, you’ll find it much easier to deal with stress, anxiety, and worry.
That means waking up every day and going outside – smelling the fresh air, enjoying the sunshine, and – if possible – getting in a brisk walk in a natural setting.
Every Day is a Gift and Brings New Possibilities
Most important:Focus on the possibilities that the new day can bring -- the fresh start, the beautiful moments,… Click To Tweet
If you can do that, you’ll see your worry, stress, and anxiety get smaller, and your heart open up to the happiness you deserve.