5 Mind-Clearing Activities for When Stress Takes Over (Plus Preventative Measures)

Day-to-day life can be a struggle, and it’s made even more difficult due to stress and anxiety, or brain fog. Oftentimes, we just need a little something to snap us out of the funk we’re in and give us more head space. Then, we’re able to focus and get things done, or relax.

So next time you find yourself mentally uneasy, try one of these tried-and-true mind-clearing activities:

1. Meditate

Most people think meditation is unrealistic or requires complex skills, but it’s actually quite simple, even for beginners. Meditation is a practice that you can do almost anywhere, that’s why it’s my go-to when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Whether I’m at home or sitting in a parking lot, it’s easy to do a 5-10 minute effective meditation. Afterwards, my nerves are calmed, my heart rate isn’t elevated, and I’m able to find some clarity.

You could do self-lead meditation, or guided meditation which is easier for beginners, and my personal preference. I use the Headspace app, but there’s other apps like Calm and Serenity. Another option is listening to guided meditation on YouTube or podcasts.

2. Unplug

Most people spend a significant amount of time online. Reading the news or scrolling through social media, can have negative consequences on your mental health. Especially, if the news and posts that you’re seeing are generally negative. It may be hard to completely do away with these things so start small and limit the amount of time you spend on those sites. You’ll be amazed and how much unplugging will help clear mental clutter.

3. Exercise

You may love it, or you may hate it. But one thing is true: it helps. It doesn’t have to be at the gym or a high-intensity workout to give you the benefits of exercise and to get your body releasing those happy chemicals or endorphins. Ever heard of “runner’s high”? The feeling of happiness and euphoria brought on by exercise, is known as the best “happy pill” you can have and it’s 100% free. Exercise has been known to reduce anxiety and depression, reduce stress and of course, help your physical body.

4. Talk it Out

If you have a friend or family member that you trust and feel comfortable with, talk with them about all of the things bothering you currently. You may be so overwhelmed by your thoughts because you feel like you have to keep thinking about the issues in order to make them go away, and that’s not true. It will only cause you more stress to keep reliving your stressful situations in your mind. Talking to someone gives your thoughts an escape route. Your person can then offer you reassurance, a different perspective, or just an ear to listen.

5. Write it Down

Have you ever had so much going on that you feel so pressed to remember and make time for? Maybe you have multiple things draining your energy and inflicting on your peace of mind. Write it all out.

If your schedule is your main cause of stress, having all of your to-do’s on paper will help you sort them into a feasible schedule and do away with the things that aren’t necessary. Setting calendar reminders will help you not forget.

If you are stressed about other issues, writing them down helps you put them into perspective. Identify which problems you can completely eliminate and which problems may not be as serious as you originally thought they were.

Elimination of Stress in the Future

I’m sure you can recall times where you’ve felt stressed or uneasy while being around certain people or from your unhealthy habits that have led you into problems. (Staying up too late, not getting enough sleep, binge drinking, not setting reminders, forgetting deadlines, etc.) All of these things cause you stress that could have been avoided. Identify and acknowledge all of your issues (even the little ones), and examine them independently. Ask yourself what you could do RIGHT NOW to prevent it from happening again.

Some things you can’t change immediately, like your boss or your living situation. But you can deal with these issues better when they aren’t accompanied by endless other issues.

You’re stressed about getting to work on time because of traffic? Decide to leave a few minutes earlier every day. You’re always missing deadlines or due dates and having to cram and stress at the last minute? Set reminders on your phone for a few days in a row. You never have time to cook a healthy dinner for your family because of how many things you have going on during the day? Plan ahead with slow cooker meals or make-ahead freezer meals.

When you really dive-deep, you can find things, even if they’re small that will reduce your overall stress levels.

Getting adequate rest, hydration, vitamins/minerals and excercise will drastically help your mental clarity and well-being. They’re commonly talked about and yet most people underestimate the different they make.

Always remember the storms will pass and you won’t always feel this way.

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