For people like me with bipolar as well as other types of mental illnesses, stress is a huge trigger for our symptom relapses. I have been in many situations where I had been feeling good one moment — practically stable even — and then out of nowhere, life happens and I feel this crushing weight pressing down on all sides. STRESS. To cope with life, I need to learn ways to reduce stress.
Stress and Technology
Stress is everywhere. We might feel it as soon as our feet touch the ground in the morning until our head touches the pillow that very same night. Technology is everywhere, too. Although scientists have not found the cure for stress, I have found technology to be very useful and practical in my life at coping with stress.
I use some type of technological gadget on a daily basis. For instance, the computer at work, the laptop I am writing this blog on, the T.V. in our house, the alarm clock that wakes me up in the morning, my car, my cell phone and the Keurig that just made my decaf coffee. All of these gadgets can in some way reduce stress. However, the one gadget I have with me 24/7 is my smartphone. There is not a day that goes by that I do not use my smartphone to relieve me of some of my stressors.
Ways to Reduce Stress
Here are ways that I may use my smartphone to reduce stress:
- I call or text a friend. I might get overwhelmed by the volume of work I have in a small amount of time. I feel as if I am drowning and the waves of stress are splashing over me. Communicating with a friend can help you resolve the tension that has built up in you because of the stress. They can listen and provide feedback, usually with the right words to say to smooth out the stressors.
- I use the memo app to write uplifting scripture or inspirational quotes to be read at any time. I have several verses of scripture typed out on the memo app on my phone that are encouraging and gives me strength for the day like Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”. Reading the scripture usually draws me to my knees in prayer to The One who is The Way to reduce stress. Inspirational quotes bring a quick smile and takes my mind off the stressor for a while.
- I set alarms to remind me to take my medicine. As a person with bipolar I with psychotic features, I have a handful of medication to manage on a daily basis. Latuda is taken in the evening with 350 calories or it will not absorb properly. Do not take Wellbutrin too late or it may affect your sleep. Take Lithium spread throughout the day so as to maintain even levels in my body. Take Topamax at night because it could make me drowsy. For me, Prozac needs to be taken a couple hours apart. Whew! Along with the vitamins and supplements I take, I have a medicine alarm set on my smartphone to go off every two hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. If I didn’t have my smartphone, there would be no way to keep up with all my medications — I would forget or double up.
- I listen to Pandora or my iPod. Music has reduced my stress so many times at work when the noise in the environment around me becomes unbearable. I am hypersensitive to sounds when my mood is off. It gets so bad I want to scream. For me, it is like nails on a chalkboard. Listening to music would probably be my number one stress reliever besides reading Bible verses.
- I use the memo app to keep my lists. I am always thinking of something to get at the grocery or something to discuss with my psychologist. I have a terrible memory and attempting to write things down on a Post-It note or a piece of paper is not always practical. My smartphone has a memo app that I write all my lists: blog ideas, cleaning list, book ideas and personal goals.
- I look at photos. I have a photo gallery of the people and furry friends who are important in my life. When the stress pours on, I can sit quietly sliding through page after page of my husband, dogs and friends. In the meantime, the stress just melts away.
- I watch YouTube when I want to escape to another place or have a good laugh. It is a great way to escape from the stressors of the day.
- I read my favorite magazine on-line. If I feel like I need to let my brain go for a walk in a different environment, I open up my favorite magazine on my phone. I read some articles and feel the stress waste away.
I know, looking at this list could be stressful, too. Just try one tip and see what it does to help you de-stress the next time you are in a stressful situation. If you have other ways to reduce stress, please email me at email@example.com.