Mental Health Tool Kit for Stress & Overwhelm

It can all be so much. We are constantly bombarded with obligations and responsibilities to family members, friends, teachers, classmates, pets, bosses, and even ourselves. My life sometimes feels like  I’m always giving and doing. I rarely find those moments where everything feels okay, and like I’m  exactly where I’m are supposed to be. Let me tell you, though, I’ve learned that we are here on Earth to feel those moments. It is our destiny to experience that feeling of belonging and peace. But how do we get there? 

Sometimes we feel serenity while driving with the windows down, walking outside, lying on the beach, laughing with friends, or looking out the window of an airplane. It doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be just those occasions. I want to help you harness that feeling anytime, no matter where you are. With this set of figurative tools to stash in your mental toolbox, you will be better able to navigate all of the twists, turns, obstacles, and roadblocks thrown at you. 

Everyone can benefit from having tools to cope with stressors of daily life.  With that said, if you are experiencing depression, anxiety, or want help learning how to integrate these tools into your life, I encourage you to talk to a trusted adult, therapist, or loved one. This mental toolbox is meant for everyday stress to help bring you back to that place of peace and serenity. 

Mental Toolkit Contents: 

  1. 1 Minute “Drop Everything & Breathe”
  2. The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique 
  3. Yoga
  4. Music Therapy / Binaural Beats

1 Minute “Drop Everything & Breathe” 

If you feel immense overwhelm, drop everything for 60 seconds. Sit in one place, preferably on the floor in a seated position, and close your eyes. If you want, set a timer to make sure you don’t drift to sleep or lose track of time. Let go of everything you were just doing, everything that happened, and everything that is to come later. Simply be right where you are. When the 60 second timer is up, you can return to what you were doing. Use this tool to bring yourself back and to help gain perspective of the situation or problem.

The 4-7-8 Breathing Technique

For intense waves of anxiety or overwhelm, try this breathing technique: breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and breathe out for 8. It might take a few tries to get used to this style of breathing since it can feel unnatural at first, but it calms your sympathetic nervous system and can help ease those intense, negative feelings. You can do  as many rounds of this as you want. Also, you can incorporate it into a mediation practice. 

Yoga

Don’t turn this down just yet- yoga is way more than meets the eye. A few minutes of mindful stretching, strengthening, and lengthening can be so beneficial for your mind and body. Try yoga before bed to calm down, in the morning to start your day feeling grounded, or as a study break. Here are some great free yoga videos to try:

Music Therapy (Binaural Beats)

Many recent studies show the immense power of listening to binaural beats, frequencies, and sound bowls. It may sound woo woo, but the wavelengths emitted from these resonate with your brain and can induce feelings of calm, groundedness, and peace. Try listening to it while studying or meditating. Here are some great ones on Youtube:

Try one or all of these techniques during times of stress, anxiety, and overwhelm to help ease you back into a place of serenity and peace. That place is always there inside of us, even if we have to dig deep to find it. Life can be overwhelming and stressful but when we take the time to calm down and settle in, we can find the strength and resilience to move through.

Discover More

A Prisoner in My Own Mind

I wake up groggy and disoriented. As I open my eyes I see that I am surrounded by metal bars ...

How to Ask for Help

Knowing who to turn to—and what to say—can make all the difference when dealing with mental health issues. To find the support you need, follow these tips.

Meet the Jewish Teen Who’s Capturing What Mental Illness Looks Like

Haley M. is a college freshman at the College of New Jersey majoring in art education. Her recent series of paintings, seen throughout this piece, were inspired by her experience with mental illness.