When our emotional health takes a hit, feelings of overwhelming can come on fast. These emotions can feel unpredictable, debilitating, and even scary. Maybe your heart starts racing, your chest tenses up, or you experience feelings of anger or frustration. While these feelings are less than ideal, you’re not alone — in fact, you’d be surprised to know how many share your struggle. A recent study by the American Psychological Association found 67% of Americans are currently facing feelings of overwhelm, and more than 80% are experiencing symptoms of prolonged stress. As you can see, we could all use a little support! So, if you’re questioning how to reduce anxiety or wondering what to do when you’re overwhelmed, we’re here to help.
Ahead you’ll find actionable tips for how to take care of yourself, no matter what you’re experiencing.
Fast-Acting Tips That Can Boost Mental Health, For Whatever You’re Feeling
The truth is, stress is inevitable. We all have triggers, and we’ve all experienced overwhelming situations that just send us over the edge (and if you’re shaking your head no please tell us your secrets). While we can utilize preventative measures to protect our mental health (think: a nutrient-dense diet, starting a meditation practice, or getting enough sleep), we can’t prevent stressful situations from occurring. That’s why we’re giving you coping strategies and actionable tips to implement whenever you’re in need of support!
So the next time you’re feeling stuck, lonely, stressed, or anything less than your balanced self, give these fast-acting mental health tips a try. These tools can help regulate your nervous system right then and there to bring you a sense of calm.
What To Do When You Feel Anxious
Practice Deep Breathing
When you’re feeling anxious, come back to your breath. Close your eyes, come to a comfortable seat, and place one hand over your chest and one hand on your belly. Inhale through your nose for a count of 1-2-3-4, pause, then slowly exhale out your mouth on the same count. Repeat!
Take a Deep Inhalation of Lavender Essential Oil
Keep a small bottle of organic lavender on hand. When you’re feeling anxious or stressed, add a drop or two to your wrists and take a deep breath in to ground down and recenter your mind.
Go For an Uninterrupted Walk
Leave your phone at home and go on a distraction-free walk. Simply moving your body can ease anxious thoughts by switching your mind from a state of fight-or-flight to rest and digest.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed and wondering how to reduce anxiety, calm your mind with a brief five-minute meditation. Try this five-minute Get Calm Now Meditation by Amanda Gilbert for immediate relief!
What To Do When You Feel Stuck
Make One Small Change
Wondering what to do when you’re overwhelmed and stuck in a negative thought pattern? Start with one small change. Maybe you change your mindset, eat healthier meals, or wake up just ten minutes earlier to fit in one mindful aspect to your morning routine. Small changes add up to big ones with time!
Ditch The Negative Mindset For a Positive Way of Thinking
Changing your perspective can have an immediate benefit on your mental health. When your negative thoughts take over, think of one thing you’re grateful for and watch your mindset shift.
Stop Overthinking and Doubting Yourself
It’s easy to replay every “what-if” scenario in your head and imagine the worst. But, if you’re wondering how to reduce anxiety, it’s time to master your emotions! Instead of imagining the worst outcome, consider the best. What do you want to happen? Then, imagine that positive scenario coming true. You’re simply rewiring your mind! Over time, you will learn to “snap out” of those negative thought patterns.
Make a List of Goals
Think both short-term and long-term. What do you want to accomplish today? This week? This month? This year? Making a plan can help cultivate motivation and encourage you to take action.
Try a New Hobby
When you’re in a rut, find a new hobby to spark your interest. Think: a yoga training, cooking class, or an interesting academic course!
What To Do When You Feel Tired
Drink a Large Glass of Water
Oftentimes dehydration (even in the slightest) can lead to feelings of fatigue and lethargy. Beyond your energy, this can affect your mood, stress, and even sleep. Drink a large glass of water first thing in the morning, and carry a bottle with you throughout the day. When you feel tired, get sipping!
Eat an Energy-rich Snack
An energizing snack full of stress-relieving nutrients can help combat fatigue and boost energy. Try to eat snacks rich in energy-boosting nutrients like zinc, omega 3’s, B vitamins, and vitamin C.
Take a Cold Shower
In addition to soothing sore muscles and boosting recovery, research suggests a cold shower could boost mood and reduce fatigue. While standing in the frigid cold isn’t always the most enjoyable, we can’t deny how refreshed we feel after!
Go For a Walk Outdoors
Whether you take a walk or fit in a light workout, getting in some low-intensity exercise can boost your energy, alleviate stress, and even make you more productive.
What To Do When You Feel Sad
Journal Your Emotions
Instead of internalizing your feelings, let them out on paper. We like to call this a “brain dump” — simply write whatever’s on your mind, and get those emotions out!
Cry it Out
Sometimes a good cathartic cry is exactly what to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed or sad. In fact, a Harvard study found crying releases the feel-good chemicals oxytocin and endogenous opioids, more commonly known as endorphins. This can soothe pain, both physically and mentally!
Clean a Room or Area
Did you know cleanliness and mental health are related? A clean space can help alleviate feelings of anxiety and sadness while acting as a productive way to clear your head.
Start a Gratitude Journal
Even on the worst of days, there’s always something to be grateful for. Start a gratitude list and continually add to it. When you’re feeling low, lost, or sad, re-read your journal and remind yourself of all the positive things in your life!
What To Do When You Feel Frustrated or Angry
Breathe and Count to 10
Those slow, deep breaths we mentioned earlier? Come back to those here. When you’re feeling frustrated or angry, take a deep breath and count to ten. Still feeling unsettled? Keep breathing until the tension starts to dissipate. You’ll come back to the situation with a more clear and calm mind.
Do a HIIT Workout
Channel all of that fiery energy into a heart-pounding HIIT workout! You’ll swap negative emotions for those feel-good hormones that flood your system after a sweaty workout.
Practice Your Favorite Mindful Activity or Stress-relieving Technique
What To Do When You Feel Lonely
Find a Support Network
This could be family, friends, local organizations, and of course, your doctor or therapist. The bottom line: when you’re feeling lonely, ask for support! There are so many people ready and willing to offer a helping hand.
Random Acts of Kindness
Making someone else happy makes YOU feel happy (and less alone) too. It’s free, simple, and good for the soul.
Sign off Social Media
Sometimes social media isn’t so social. In fact, if you’re feeling lonely, sometimes it can make you feel more isolated. Take a social media detox and live in the present moment! Call a friend, smile at a stranger, or sit at a cafe and prioritize real-life connections.
Embrace Furry Friends
Maybe you adopt a dog, volunteer at a local animal shelter, or spend time with a friend’s furry animal! In addition to showering us with unconditional love, pets have been shown to boost mood, reduce stress, and make us feel less alone.
Attend a New Workout Class
If you’re able to, sweating it out in a workout class or group fitness setting can be a great way to meet new, like-minded people!
Join Our FitOn Community
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Tips To Boost Your Mental Health In The Moment
Don’t let your emotions take over your life! Keep this list on hand and refer to our actionable tips the next time you’re in need of a little support. But remember, these coping strategies don’t replace the need for medical attention or advice. If you find these feelings are disrupting your day-to-day life, speak with a medical professional like your doctor or therapist. While these tips serve as effective coping mechanisms, everybody is different. Ultimately, your health and happiness are our number one goal!
For more wellness tips, workouts for every fitness level, grounding meditations, and more, download the FitOn app!