Stress and anxiety are a natural feeling to have. However, if left unmanaged these feelings that are designed to protect us during difficult or dangerous times could, in fact, make us quite ill. For example, those struggling with PTSD (check out CFAH.org to learn statistics) after a traumatizing event will make themselves unwell if they don't talk about their feelings.
It is therefore essential that if you struggle with anxiety and stress in your life, that you try and combat this with the right tools.
So how do you manage the effects of stress and anxiety in your life?
Here are 12 ways that you can cut the stress and anxiety from your life.
1. Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing is one of the most effective solutions for dealing with stress and anxiety. If you are feeling anxious, you can perform a simple breathing exercise wherever you are and there is no need for any equipment.
Simply close your eyes and breathe in gently and slowly through your nose over the count of five seconds. Then hold your breath for a moment and breathe out slowly through your mouth over the count of six seconds.
You can repeat this exercise several times. You should attempt to do this exercise a couple of times each day for a few minutes at a time, even when you are not feeling stressed and anxious.
Meditation helps you centre and focus. It does this in much the same way as the breathing exercises might.
Using guided meditation will help your mind to stop wandering. Having a calm and guiding voice talking you through your meditation is a great way of staying focused and learning to put away the stressful thoughts in your mind.
It can take some time to get used to any type of meditation but keep practicing it because it really does work.
Exercising helps fight stress and anxiety in a few ways. Firstly, the physical activity gets your lungs breathing in air. This sends oxygen to your brain in a simar way to one of the previously mentioned breathing exercises.
Another major way that exercise helps is that it creates hormones such as endorphins, These feel-good chemicals are great at combating the feelings of anxiety and stress that you might be experiencing.
A lack of sleep is a major cause of stress and anxiety. If you are not getting enough sleep, it can leave you more susceptible to low mood too.
If you are struggling to get to sleep on a night, change your routine. Take a bath before you go to bed and read a book before you sleep. Avoid using your phone or watching TV for an hour before you intend to sleep.
Sprinkle some lavender essential oils onto your pillow before going to bed.
If you are still struggling with sleep, speak with your doctor.
5. A Healthy Diet
Food plays a major part in fighting stress and anxiety. Certain foods will cause you to feel run down and can affect your moods. For that reason, you should avoid foods that are high in trans fats and sugars.
Instead, try and get a good balance of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet as this will provide you with natural energy and stop you from feeling sluggish.
Mindfulness is a technique designed to help you feel more grounded and in touch with your own thoughts and feelings. It teaches you to listen to your body and be more present in your life.
There are many different ways of practicing mindfulness, although activities such as detailed coloring exercises and puzzles are very popular options.
7. Talking Therapy
If you experience chronic stress and anxiety, then you might want to consider getting some talking therapy.
One type of talking therapy that many people find helpful is cognitive behavior therapy. This type of therapy works on challenging problematic behaviors, thoughts, and processes and helps you to develop new habits.
In some instances, you may find that your stress and anxiety can be managed through the use of medication. Your doctor may prescribe you medication to help manage the symptoms of your anxiety or stress, however, you should still try and counterbalance this with some of the other measures mentioned here.
In much the same way that talking therapy helps you to make sense of your thoughts and feelings, journaling does too.
By writing down all of your thoughts, you will be able to process them better.
Journalling is a habit that takes some time to get into. If you have kept a diary in the past, you may find it quite similar.
10. Writing Affirmations
Affirmations are an important way of changing your outlook on life.
Often when we live with chronic stress and anxiety we start seeing the world in a cynical manner. The glass will always be half empty.
By writing down positive affirmations about yourself and your life you will start to naturally think in a more positive way
11. Know Your Triggers
Do you know what the causes of your stress and anxiety are? If you can identify these, you will be able to do something about them.
You may not be able to completely avoid the triggers completely as they may be an essential aspect of your life, however, if you know what you’re looking at you should be able to change the way you interact with this aspect of your life. You could make changes to your routine to make something easier, or you could address issues with individuals you might be the root cause of your stress and anxiety.