3 Ways to Handle Stress & Anxiety When You’re on the Go, with Baylor Scott & White Health
This one goes out to the other event venues out there. We see you! As we ramp back up to a full schedule, we’re over the moon to have folks from Austin and beyond back in our spaces. But from ticketing to advertising to client satisfaction to operations, there’s more on our plates right now than we’re used to. And that’s causing A LOT of stress 😬
Dr. Tio Bustillo from Baylor Scott & White Health stopped by the LC to talk to us about how to manage stress and anxiety, and what he had to say was too good to keep to ourselves.
The Thinking Process
Our minds are built to worry to keep us safe from danger, but we don’t live in the same environment our early human ancestors did. They might have worried about if a hippo was going to eat them, while we worry about if traffic on Mopac is going to be terrible or just regular-bad. Those are very different scenarios, but our minds don’t know that. It may sound strange, but worrying releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel pleasure. So, the more we worry, the more dopamine dumps into our brains, making our brains feel good, which makes us inclined to worry even more. But all the while, we’re miserable and stressed out.
Thoughts are just droppings made by our brains. We get to choose if we pick up the thoughts or not. Next time you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed by your thoughts, try one of the exercises below 👇
Take a Breath
Our breath is the only thing that truly happens in the present moment. When your mind starts to reach a little too far into the what ifs of the future, try this breathing exercise to bring you back to the now.
Decide if you want your palms open to receive, palms down to ground, or palm on palm with thumbs touching to reflect.
Photos courtesy of Tint Yoga, Yoga Journal, & Mindfulness Box
- Soften your gaze or close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose for one… two… three… four. Notice the sensation of air filling your lungs.
- Hold your breath here for one… two… three… four. (Are you scrunching up your face? What does it feel like if you let that facial tension go?)
- Slowly exhale for one… two… three… four.
- And hold again for one… two… three… four.
This is called box breathing, or sama vritti pranayama in Sanskrit. Our favorite part of box breathing is that it can be done anywhere.
Find the Present
- Place your palm in your lap or in front of you – just somewhere you can see it.
- Place the pointer finger of your opposite hand on the outside of your thumb.
- Take a nice, slow breath in and trace your finger up the side of your thumb.
- Slowly breathe out and trace your finger down the inside of your thumb.
- Inhale and trace up your pointer finger.
- Exhale and trace down your pointer finger.
- Repeat this with each finger, as many times as you like.
Graphic courtesy of The Calming Corner
Come to Your Senses
Becoming aware of the environment around you is a great way to take your mind off your stress and recalibrate. Ask yourself:
- What things do I see?
- What things do I hear? Do I hear different things if I close my eyes?
- What things do I smell?
- What tastes are in my mouth?
- What is near me that I could touch? If you choose to reach out and touch something, what does it feel like?
So next time you’re worrying about Mopac traffic or that one client sends you yet another email, check in with one of the practices above 👆 And remember: anxiety isn’t really a feeling, but rather a thinking process. It’s a reminder to be aware, not beware. YOU get to choose what thoughts you keep and what you discard.
Special thanks to our partners over at Baylor Scott & White Health for helping us learn about stress and anxiety. For more wellness tips, give ‘em a follow on your social media platform of choice.