While stressful events are often unavoidable, the way we deal with stress can dramatically affect the impact that it has upon us. One effective way is to modify our thinking. Known as Cognitive Therapy, this approach focuses on reducing unhealthy negative thoughts and replacing them with more positive rational ones. Another way is to learn relaxation techniques. The mind is very powerful and if we focus on a very relaxing image, the body eventually experiences it as though we’re really there. To see for yourself, try this simple exercise:
- Identify a place that you’ve been that was very relaxing (e.g. a beach, the mountains). If needed, make one up.
- List everything that you might see, hear, smell and (tactilely) feel in this special place.
- Rate your current level of stress from “0” (not stressed) to “100” (very stressed).
- Find a peaceful place to sit, close your eyes, take a deep breath in and breathe out slowly.
- Try to imagine all the details that you listed in your mind’s eye, while periodically repeating the deep breathing.
- After 5-10 minutes slowly open your eyes and re-rate your current level of stress. Notice how much more relaxed you feel.
If you have the time and can afford it, an even better idea is to actually go to a relaxing place and enjoy it. While beaches can be a challenge in Colorado, we have some of the most beautiful places to recreate in the country. Incredible campgrounds, cabins, lakes, mountains and hot springs, all within a few minutes to a few hours drive.
This is the perfect time of year where even over the course of a weekend, you can take a break from the usual grind and treat yourself to a chance to unplug, unwind, and renew.