Before I really started to pay attention to my mental health and well-being, I was the champion of bottling things up.
Something at work would bother me – like, for example, a client call that didn’t go well – and it would completely tank my mood.
As I started to tune into how I reacted to situations, I started to get a lot more comfortable with relying on others to help me calm down.
I could tell a friend at work that I needed some support, and they’d help me calm down – bringing me back to what we call the Green Zone.
But then… It started to feel like if I couldn’t receive support from others, I was doomed to remain in a state of high-stress and anxiety.
Like I had given the keys to my Green Zone away… And it would remain locked unless I called for help.
I am not saying that relying on others for support is a bad thing. It is one of the most basic and important forms of human connection!
What I am saying is that cultivating your own “feel-good” habits – habits that help you to regulate your nervous system and recenter yourself – should be your step one.
At The Stress Reset, we teach about the importance of diversifying your toolkit to include many different kinds of feel-good habits.
Let’s break down some of the major categories of feel-good habits:
These are small, simple actions that you can do in pretty much any environment in order to de-escalate your emotions.
This might look like listening to your favorite song, doing a couple jumping jacks in the bathroom, doing a few quick stretches.
These habits don’t necessarily happen in high-stress moments, but can be built into your life in order to improve your wellbeing over time.
This might look like going on long walks a few evenings a week, meditating every morning, or journaling before bed.
These are activities that require you to get out of your space. They’re more involved, and have a greater impact.
This would include going on a hike, or to a concert, or a museum, or even taking a luxurious bath!
These habits don’t require anything but YOU, and can be done anytime, anywhere! The intention of these habits is to pull you back into the present when you start to feel overwhelmed. Keep them simple so that you’re more likely to lean on them when you need them.
This might look like closing your eyes and visualizing a positive memory, taking a few deep breaths, or thinking of 3 things you’re grateful for.
As you can see, there are a multitude of feel-good habits that you can do on your own.
If you are starting to feel like your wellbeing demands help and support from other people, then something is missing from your toolkit.
That’s why it’s so important to create your own support structure first.
Combining support from others with a handful of feel-good habits you can do completely on your own will radically expand your resiliency. You’ll be better able to show up for what and who you care about most.