Creating habits

When we experience stress, we often feel powerless and overwhelmed. Turning to a comforting routine can help us to feel more in control.

While some people love to bathe or shower before bed, others like to listen to podcasts on their morning commute. Some of us might like walking early in the morning while others might prefer meditating.

SO, HOW TO START?

It is important to know and follow habits that you can do in times of stress. You should always choose things that feel easy and comforting.

A great way to start is to think of a habit you already do, and to “pair” this with another habit you enjoy and are able to do easily. For instance, if you walk your children to school in the morning, why not use the return journey to listen to an uplifting podcast?

One way to make us feel motivated and reduce stress is to start each day by doing something that makes us feel calm. Maybe we could talk to someone we love - just a good morning call, or do some stretching. We can also take a nice shower to feel fresh and ready to take on the day.

But routines need not be only for the morning. We could all do with some habits that make us feel more in control. Some habits we chose for you to pick:

  • Write: Keep a diary, or write a weekly letter to yourself, or simply make lists. You could write about happy memories - one memory a day. At the end of each day, you can also make a list of things that went right. Or you could simply pen down your thoughts.

  • Read: Avoid depressing news! Instead, pick up a magazine, a book or follow some nice blogs. Try to keep it fun and lighthearted.

  • Meditate: This might sound a bit scary, but just sitting with your own thoughts for a few minutes can really helpful - like the breathing exercise we discussed in our earlier lesson. Try to experience your thoughts neutrally - as if you were watching yourself.

  • Self-care: Ask yourself how you feel at the end of every day. This is a good practice to see if your efforts are actually working. For a few days, this might not feel as happy. But don’t worry! You can do this.

  • Reflect: A lot of stress arises from thinking about what we could do or didn’t do. Instead of worrying all the time, fix 10-15 minutes like a ritual to reflect upon your day. What did you do wrong? What went right? Make a list if you want.

  • Appify: There’s an app for everything! You can download a daily motivational app like ‘Spark Quotes’ that will send you one motivational quote every day to lift your mood. You can also use ‘Gratitude Journal’ for 5 minutes everyday to list things you’re thankful for. Explore and choose! There is an app for everyone!

REMEMBER: Choose rituals (or just one ritual) that make you feel happy and comfortable.

You have reached the end of this guide. Congratulations! We hope this helped you understand stress and motivated you to reduce some of yours.