Try some of these resources to help keep stress in check.
Surge in Anti-Asian Hate Crimes
We are experiencing a period of stress and turmoil in our country, which is having an impact on us all. Intense feelings are natural reactions to the current situation. We hope these suggestions help you find ways to cope.
Incidents on the Rise
A recent string of attacks has brought attention to the dramatic rise in racism and violence against Asian Americans. Between mid-March and the end of 2020, the advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate received nearly 3,000 reports of “hate incidents” directed at Asian Americans. In 2021, the incidents have only continued.
Take a Break From Stress
We all face stressful situations in our lives, ranging from traffic jams to more serious worries about health, or concern for a loved one. No matter the cause, stress floods the body with hormones – your heart pounds, breathing speeds up and muscles tense. Some stress can be put to use, but if it persists, it can have undesirable side effects. While we can’t avoid all sources of stress, we can develop healthier ways of responding. Here are a few tips:
- Breath focus. Take long, slow, deep breaths. As you breathe, gently disengage your mind from distracting thoughts and sensations.
- Body scan. After a few minutes of deep breathing, focus on one part of the body or group of muscles at a time, mentally releasing any physical tension.
The Happiness Factor: Cultivate a Positive Outlook
Happiness and health go hand in hand. Research shows a correlation between happiness levels and overall wellness with those who cultivate a more positive outlook enjoying richer and more fulfilling lives.
While it’s not realistic to expect every day to be the happiest day of your life, taking simple, thoughtful steps can add up to a greater sense of overall happiness and well-being. Happiness shouldn’t be forced or fabricated. Rather, look for ways to recognize and foster authentically happy moments in everyday life.
Making slight changes in the way you think can have a cumulative, positive effect on your outlook. Be mindful of your thoughts. Encourage those that are positive and optimistic. This will help create perpetual patterns of thought that are more deeply rooted in happiness.
Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence
Research is helping us appreciate the benefits of the ancient practice of mindfulness—a form of meditation that emphasizes presence of mind and focus. Simply put, mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention to what’s going on around you, on purpose, in the present moment, without judgment. Mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress, boost mood, and contribute to overall health and well-being. And it is a skill that anyone can develop.
By exercising our attention through regular mindfulness practice, we can also train the brain to become more emotionally in tune. When we can understand and manage emotions in ourselves—including feelings of sadness, anger, or fear—we are said to have emotional intelligence (EQ). EQ is applicable to every human interaction because it influences behavior. A high EQ helps us communicate better, improve relationships, and empathize with others.
Finding Mindfulness in Surprising Places
How often do we think we’re in control of our attention when it’s the other way around? We want to focus during lunch with a friend, but our attention wants to think about what to prepare for dinner. We want to listen intently to what our loved one is saying, but our attention wants to drag up an unrelated emotional hurt from a years-old conversation. A little mind-wandering is natural, but when it gets in the way of everyday functioning it can distract us and even drive down happiness levels. The practice of mindfulness can be an effective tool for helping us to focus our wandering minds by bringing a mindful focus to daily activities.