When you are overwhelmed and trying to get back into your body instead of letting your brain get carried away, you are likely to turn to careful activities to help. Among other things, these activities can include meditation, which can enhance self-awareness, and a diary, which can serve as a way to help you sort out your emotions. But just as there are useful activities you can do, so are your mindsless activities — and mental health experts say that practicing conscious and foolish activities can help you deal with stress in the same way. (After all, there is really no “right” way to deal with what is bothering you.)
To understand the difference, know that consciousness “is the act of shifting your focus to the present, keeping you committed to the present while keeping you aware of your thoughts, feelings, and environment,” says licensed clinical professional counselor Joanne Frederick, LCPC. If you’ve practiced meditation or diary, you know that these are just some of the goal setting shareware that you can use. Other cautious activities include single-tasking, where “you give 100 percent of your attention to doing what you are currently doing without further distraction,” adds Frederick. “This keeps you in the moment and away from chaotic future thinking,” thus reducing stress.
On the other hand, being stupid (or unconscious, which is synonymous in this case), is when we are not present or aware of the moment we are experiencing “, says the psychologist Selena Snow, PhD. Frederick adds that negligent activities are basically what you can do while on autopilot.
“A person may decide to engage in an activity that distracts and relaxes to reduce stress, but still do it carefully.” —Selena Snow, psychologist
But, this is not necessarily a bad thing. If you are intentional By doing a silly or unconscious activity, it still helps to enhance stress management skills, says Dr. Snow. “A person may decide to engage in an activity that is distracting and relaxing to reduce stress, but still do it carefully,” says Dr. Snow. “This would mean being deliberate and knowing what they are doing and therefore enjoying the experience of what they have decided to do instead of judging the experience.” (Is not self-knowledge great?)
Examples of healthy conscious and foolish activities
In addition to practicing meditation or the diary, another thoughtful activity is completing a puzzle that “requires focus, attention, and attention to detail,” says Frederick. Because completing a puzzle actually solves a problem, it is advisable to ask yourself a few choice questions as you work on the puzzle to orient your mind to the initial issues and to better equip you to solve them in the future:
- When I solve a puzzle, does it bring me joy or satisfaction?
- What part of the resolution process peaks my frustration?
- How is my breathing as I play compared to before?
On effective brain activities that can help you deal with stress by putting less stress on yourself, Frederick reiterates the importance of being purposeful with them (so watch out for your unconscious behavior). Some examples may include laughter, which can give an immediate boost to happiness. do karaoke (if you like this), which can reduce stress by building companionship and staying in a fun activity. or even scroll to a social networking platform like TikTok (with some sound guardrails in place to ensure the activity stays mentally healthy and not potentially annoying).
These activities do not easily affect the conscious component of being in harmony with your body, which makes them less attentive, but can helps you deal with stress by providing you with something to do besides worrying about a given stressors.
So, even if you do something passively (or thoughtlessly), if you do it for a purpose, you are less likely to feel like you are wasting your time. And this reframe, in itself, can make you feel less stressed. Of course, how you decide to get frustrated is up to you. But knowing that there are mental health benefits from careful and unconscious activities can help you feel less stressed about spending time on the latter.
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