Stress is one of those things that everyone has to deal with, but as black women, we seem to deal with it doubly, at times.
And no, it’s not simply being worried about work, or the kids, or your relationship and then meditating it away. It’s actually far deeper than that.
They call stress the “silent killer” for a reason—while it can create very noticeable mental and emotional chaos, it’s also working to wreak havoc on your physical wellbeing.
This is where the threat of headaches, stomachaches, and even heart attacks are made real.
When it comes to our health, the mental and emotional pressures of life are a lot more dangerous than we even realize.
And so, it’s important that we do our part in creating and maintaining a deeper sense of peace and balance within our minds, but also our bodies.
By now we all know that there are widely suggested stress management techniques that are encouraged, but not exactly effective for everyone. Yes, the “count to ten” or “do yoga” suggestions that don’t really hit like people say they do.
If you’ve been looking for ways to relieve some of your stress and haven’t found a good way to do so, don’t be discouraged!
Here are 3 alternative mindfulness habits that’ll help you finally get the job done.
Music Therapy For The Soul
Listening to music is something we all do simply because it’s enjoyable.
And plus, there’s a song for every situation and mood you could possibly be in which makes it super comforting and relatable.
But did you know that music is also being used for different types of mental, emotional, and physical therapy?
Yup. Music Therapy is a relatively new practice, but the core concept is something we’re all familiar with: using music to feel better.
It’s been used for everything from healing the injured brain and getting responses from coma patients, to helping autistic children improve their social communication and motor function.
If it can do all that, surely it can help manage and relieve stress. And no, this isn’t something you’ll need a doctor for. There are simple ways to do this at home:
- Listen to a song you love as soon as you wake up and let it set the tone of your day.
- Make a good playlist. Listen to it as a way to relieve or work through emotions.
- Learn to write or play music. Creating something unique to you may even help you get your feelings out in a healthy, constructive way.
There are so many different ways to use music to relieve and manage stress. All you have to do is choose what feels good to you and keep it going.
Release Letters To Finally Let Go
If you had the opportunity to say exactly what you wanted to someone who hurt or disappointed you, would you take it?
Release letters give you a chance to do just that.
Sometimes we know we could never tell people how we really feel because the upheaval and drama it would cause just isn’t worth it; Or maybe they’re somebody from our past we don’t want to reconnect with, or a co-worker we can’t say it to if we want to keep our job.
There’s a million and one reasons why we can’t always speak up, but the facts remain—holding in difficult thoughts and emotions is incredibly stressful in more ways than one. Instead of holding it in, why not write a release letter?
A release letter is exactly what is sounds like: a letter to release your thoughts and feelings. You simply write down everything you want to say—no holding back—and then do what you want with it.
You can keep it, rip it to shreds, mail it out (even if it’s just to yourself), or even burn it. Whatever you decide to do after you get your feelings out doesn’t matter.
The whole point of this exercise is to speak your truth once and for all.
Exercise With Stress In Mind
A lot of times when we’re told to exercise to relieve stress, it’s always yoga or running being suggested.
And truth be told, that’s not going to work for all of us. Sometimes we need to do workouts that match where we are mentally and emotionally at the moment.
For an example, anger and frustration is probably best channeled with an athletic activity like boxing or fencing; While sadness and disempowerment, on the other hand, can better be channeled through something like Soul Cycle or grounding yourself with a nature hike.
When it comes to relieving stress, either with exercise or one of the other aforementioned options, it’s important to know that you have more options than you realize.
Get creative, get committed, and stay healthy.