Coping, Mental Health

Longterm Stress Reduction

99.5% of people who have seen a doctor about migraines or headaches have been told to reduce stress. I made up that statistic, but I bet it’s not far off.

Google “ways to reduce stress” and you’ll get nearly 3 million hits. Most recommendations are mildly effective band-aids. Changing how you react in the moment or trying to slow yourself down when you’re already worked up are vital skills, but living a calmer life overall is the only true solution.

Zenhabits takes this approach in 12 Ideas for Establishing a Calming Routine. The recommended daily rituals go a long way toward longterm stress reduction. Among the 12 recommendations include:

  • Enjoy a quiet cup of tea or coffee each morning. I sit at the kitchen table and look at our ugly patio. Normally the current state of the patio distresses me, but in the mornings I simply enjoy the sun streaming through the windows.
  • Devote a few minutes to think about what and who you are grateful for. A bipolar chronic headache sufferer mentioned in a forum that she does this. The small ritual has made her happier and keeps her from being bogged down by anger and self-pity over her illnesses.
  • Have a real, honest conversation with a loved one.

I’m taking bite-size pieces of Zenhabits’ suggestions to see if calm down my life. I’ve quieted my frazzled self a lot in the last two years, but there’s always room to relax more.

Do you have any soothing rituals?