One of the things I love most about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is how confident and articulate she is about social justice issues. She’s so intelligent and informed about policy that I sometimes forget she’s not some kind of superhuman. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Instagram Story about stress showed that while she’s doing extraordinary things, she also battles worries on a regular basis, just like the rest of us.
“How do you stay stress free and how do you keep your skin so clear?!" an Instagram follower asked Ocasio-Cortez in response to her callout for questions on the social media platform, per Huffington Post. "(I’ve worked on campaigns with barely any sleep and ended up breaking out as a result from lack of sleep and stress." The congresswoman was quick to clarify that, just like pretty much everyone on the planet, she’s not living a completely relaxed lifestyle. “I do NOT stay stress-free," Ocasio-Cortez wrote in response. "I am stressed pretty much every day, a lot of the time."
But, in typical AOC fashion, she didn’t leave the subject there without offering some hope and guidance to her followers. Instead, she explained that asking herself a serious of questions often helps her manage her own stress. "What I *am* able to do when I’m stressed is boil things down to their most important questions," she wrote.
First of all, AOC wrote in her Instagram Story, whenever she’s stressed, she starts by asking herself one super simple question: "What is this really about?"
According to speaker and life coach Ann Ball, the 29-year-old congresswoman definitely has the right idea here: Slowing down and really thinking about how and where stress is manifesting in your life is a great way to begin to deal with it. Ball suggests starting small by trying to identify where you feel the stress in your body. "It could be in your jaw, the back of your head, your shoulders, in your gut, or anywhere else in your body," she tells Elite Daily. "Place your hand on the area where you feel it." A grounding technique like this helps you figure out where the stress is originating, both physically and psychologically, Ball explains, which is crucial if you want to work to reduce the anxiety, or at least manage it in a healthy way.
Ocasio-Cortez also said that she asks herself, "Is this truly important in the larger scheme of things?" A strategy like this can help you avoid feeling like a stressor is a monstrous, impossible problem in your life, when it might in fact be insignificant in the long run. "The genius here is that it isn’t hard to create a little order in your day-to-day life to foster a greater sense of safety and well-being," explains certified health coach Olivia Steinberg. Asking yourself if your current worries will really matter to you down the road can help you put things in perspective, she adds. In the same way, focusing on something small you can do to relieve stress in the moment can help ease your mind, Steinberg tells Elite Daily. "A cup of your favorite coffee or tea savored over a quiet five minutes first thing after waking," she suggests. "A 10-minute walk after lunch. A quick afternoon meditation."
Bottom line: Just take things moment by moment.
The last stress-management tip that Ocasio-Cortez shared with her Instagram followers focused on the importance of realizing that you may not need to "fix" whatever it is that’s stressing you out. She wrote on Instagram that she’ll often ask herself, "Do I have the power to change this, will doing more make it worse, or do I just need to ride it out?"
An approach like this draws on the idea of practicing non-attachment, says Steinberg. "We move into action with childlike curiosity thinking: ‘If I do X, let’s just see what happens,’" she explains.
If leaving things a bit open-ended in this way stresses you out even more, try formulating a series of "what if" questions, as Ocasio-Cortez said she does in her own life. Ask yourself what would happen for each possible action you could take, and write down your answers, suggests Steinberg. "Without fail," she tells Elite Daily, "once we see these scenarios on paper, they are far less frightening."
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