Today we will be talking you through tips for managing stress and anxiety.
It is normal to feel stressed or anxious amidst a global pandemic where everything seems tragic, drastic, and messy on our lovely blue planet.
The rising spread of COVID-19 and the fear it has brought about has taken a toll on several minds and bodies.
Even though stress and anxiety are not acknowledged as problems, they are very much real and have to be dealt with.
Let’s understand that whenever we feel anxious, it’s the body’s way of reacting to an emotional response to a perceived future threat.
What we’re dealing with right now is appropriate for that sort of anxiety response.
But despite the doom and gloom, those of us ‘in the know’ realise that this can be the best time to prioritise mental wellness, and transform into our collective creativity, thereby, turning the situation to be an absolute winner in this combat with the ‘fear’.
However, what we also know is that anxiety sometimes tends to go out-of-hand and hinder the day-to-day work and thoughts.
To combat such issues related to stress and anxiety, we bring to you, 18 effective ways that will give you strength and courage; and bring your state of mind and raging pulse back to normal amid this period.
Disclaimer: I am not in any way a certified councillor/therapist, therefore all advice given is from my own experience and should not be taken as medical advice.
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The importance of managing stress & anxiety
If you’re living with high levels of stress and anxiety, you’re putting your entire well-being at risk. Both of these illnesses wreak havoc on your emotional equilibrium, as well as your physical health.
They narrow your ability to think clearly, function effectively, and enjoy life. It may seem like there’s nothing you can do about stress and anxiety.
The bills won’t stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day, and your work and family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have a lot more control than you might think.
Effective stress and anxiety management helps you break the hold that they have on your life, so you can be happier, healthier, and more productive.
The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun – and the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on.
But stress/anxiety management is not one-size-fits-all. That’s why it’s important to experiment and find out what works best for you.
The following stress and anxiety management tips can help you do that.
Tips for Managing Stress and Anxiety – Ultimate Guide!
Identify your sources of stress & anxiety
Try to identify your specific sources of anxiety by starting an anxiety/stress journal. You can write down the anxieties you experience and record the anxious thoughts you have.
This can also help you determine possible triggers. Once you’ve identified specific sources of anxiety and stress, you can take steps to avoid them or at least work to manage your feelings toward them.
Accept there are some things you cannot control
This one takes no time at all really, but it does require a commitment to changing your mindset. A lot of the time we get stressed out by things that are totally out of control.
Because they are out of control it really becomes a waste of energy to constantly stress out over them.
For example, specific demands of your job, the fact that we’re living through a pandemic in 2020/2021, the weather, traffic, or the thoughts and actions of other people.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t stress at all over things like this, but you can’t let it consume you and cause you stress day after day.
For the sake of a simple example: getting really stressed out on your long commute home through traffic. Unless you go find a new job closer to home this is totally out of your control.
So as a stress management technique, accept that fact and then make the most of the situation. For example, listen to an audio book or podcast, call a friend (hands free of course), or find somewhere new to stop and explore on the way home.
If not, you’re just going to be stressed every evening and you’ll probably have no energy to do anything by the time you get home.
Start your day off right
High energy levels in the mornings (although this may sometimes seem impossible) are essential to start the day and, hopefully, end the day with a positive outlook and a clear mindset.
Staying hydrated, avoiding coming to work on an empty stomach and aiming to be well rested overnight will all contribute to better mornings and more motivation.
You may also find it beneficial to give yourself a little extra time in the mornings to get ready for the day. This will prevent rush and panic and ensure you are fully prepared for whatever is thrown your way.
Get enough sleep
Sleep deficit has just about become an epidemic in contemporary society. Continuously pushed to accomplish and produce, practically every single person is accountable for depriving themselves of rest.
In a stressful situation, you may attempt to “pull an all-nighter” to fulfil a deadline or do some last second studying, but contrary to what your over-stressed mind is suggesting; a well-rested mind and body will be able to achieve far more, without over-taxing your system.
Use relaxation techniques
Grounding techniques such as these are a good way for you to stop, take a breath, and learn to control your anxiety and stress.
Deep breathing will work by taking 10-20 slow and deep breaths to calm down. Breathe in as deeply as you can, hold the air in for several seconds, and slowly let each breath out.
Employ the power of positive thinking. Rather than incessantly worrying about the same things over and over, break the cycle and train your brain to think in a way that is positive and uplifting.
When you have anxious thoughts or episodes, they are preceded by self-sabotaging or negative thoughts or behaviours.
To help with this, write down your negative thoughts once you feel them. Then, jot down the exact opposite of those feelings as well.
As you become more comfortable with writing down these positive thoughts/affirmations, you can start to visualise and believe the outcomes.
Having poor organisation can also be a source of anxiety and stress. If this is the case, learning good time-management skills could benefit you.
Manage your daily tasks with to-do lists, calendars, planners, reminder cards, action programs, and more, to make you feel more in control.
Research consistently proves that physical activity both reduces stress levels and helps to prevent many of the negative side-effects of stressful life events.
The great news is that you don’t need to run a marathon or devote all your days to the gym to enjoy the benefits of exercise.
Almost any type of physical activity will help purge you of tension and lead to the production of endorphins; those ‘feel-good’ chemicals that boost mood and energy.
Aim for 30 minutes of exercise 3-5 times a week, but if your fitness levels are low then try starting out with just 10 minutes of activity.
As you exercise, tune into your bodily sensations and notice your own physicality; this is a form of mindfulness, which promotes stress control in itself.
Here are some fun and easy ways to get your heart rate up:
- Dance to your favourite song
- Walk to the store instead of driving
- Walk your dog, or borrow someone else’s for half an hour
- Take the stairs every time there’s an option
- Find an exercise buddy, and go to classes together.
There are so many videos for free on YouTube that you can use as well. One of my personal favourites to follow is coach Sean Vigue.
Eat a balanced diet
A poor diet can bring greater reactivity toward stress.
Emotional eating and reaching for high-fat, high-sugar foods can provide a temporary sense of relief that adds to your long-term stress.
Refined carbs, like cookies and crisps/potato chips, can cause a spike in blood sugar. When your blood sugar crashes, you might experience more stress and anxiety.
Consuming a healthy diet can help you combat stress over the long haul. Foods like eggs, avocado, and walnuts support mood regulation and energy balance.
Regulate and create routines
Regulate and create routines as best as we can give our varying environments. Eat, sleep, work, and exercise as regularly as possible.
When in study or work mode, create mini-breaks away from the screen (e.g., a nice walk or a small snack) to combat digital fatigue, and that will energise or better prepare you to come back to a task.
Going to bed and waking up around the same time every day can help out more than you would think.
This helps your body get into what is known as a circadian rhythm, which helps you feel more refreshed and energised.
Almost everyone loves staying up late and getting to sleep in on weekends, but this alone could be causing major harm to how you feel and how much energy you have the rest of the week.
When you put Mindfulness into practice your anxiety and stress will reduce massively!
I can’t explain how much this practice has changed my life. When you’re mindful your life will transform massively.
By living in the present moment, you become at peace with your past thoughts and illusions made up in your mind.
Observe your thoughts, become at peace with them, take away the emotional attachment.
When you find your mind wandering, revert back to the present moment.
The more you live in the present moment, the mind quickly loses control over you. The mind is a tool that should be working for you, not controlling you.
This takes a lot of practice, as your mind has spent so many years in control. The mind has been projecting its illusions on you all your life.
Purchase a book, research it on YouTube.
The Mindfulness practice is life changing when used consistently and persistently!
I thought this was complete nonsense a few years ago, now I love it.
The one thing that calmed my mind beyond belief, if done properly, is meditation.
This helps you become at peace with your thoughts, and also mindful meditation helps you stay in the present moment.
Try to meditate before breakfast, if not, then late afternoon/early evening is a good time to do it.
Meditation will seem like a chore at first, but the more you practice, it will become more of an enjoyable experience that you will look forward to.
There are tonnes of videos on YouTube to help you get started.
Gratitude helps you recognise all the things you have to be thankful for. Whether you’re grateful for a sunny day or thankful you arrived at work safely, think about all the good things you have in life.
Gratitude also reminds you of all of the resources you have to cope with stress, which can be quite empowering.
Studies also show grateful people enjoy better mental health, lower stress and anxiety, and a better quality of life.
So whether you decide to make it a habit to identify what you’re grateful for as you sit around the dinner table or you decide to write down three things you’re grateful for in a gratitude journal every day, make gratitude a regular habit.
Yoga combines physical movement, meditation, light exercise, and controlled breathing—all of which provide excellent stress relief.13
And while you’re likely to reap immediate benefits from a single yoga session, you’re likely to receive long-term benefits if you incorporate it into your life in a consistent way.
Yoga offers a variety of physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits. To get started, you might take a class, enrol in an online program, or use an app to help you begin practicing.
Take in nature
When you ground yourself in nature, you discharge negativity, and even more importantly, you recharge yourself with the loving and nurturing energy from Mother Earth.
After grounding yourself you’ll feel renewed, refreshed, centred, and balanced. Whether you simply walk barefoot in your garden, or go to the beach or the wood, just get out in nature, allow yourself to be present by opening all your senses: see, taste, hear, smell and feel.
If you live in a big city or work in an office, you may feel you don’t have much opportunity to connect with nature.
Nature time could be:
- Spend time in your garden.
- Walk around a park.
- Go to the woods.
- Plan your next vacation around nature time.
- Visit a lake or river
This is also where crystals, essential oils and houseplants come in. You may want to bring little bits of nature with you and consciously tune into them at home.
Do brain dump
A brain dump is simply the act of dumping all the contents of your mind onto paper as one might dump the contents of a purse onto a table.
You are spilling out stressors, your nagging thoughts, your pesky annoyances. Simply open up a valve in your mind and let all those thoughts flow out of your hand and onto some paper.
Write until you feel like the pressure inside of you is lessened and you can take a deep breath. Then you will have achieved a brain dump.
Listen to yourself
Be sure to listen to yourself and acknowledge when you’re feeling stressed/anxious. Recognising when your emotions are high can help you cope by signalling that it may be time to seek help.
Depending on the level of your stress/anxiety, that may mean trying one of the stress/anxiety-relieving methods above or finding professional help.
Connect with loved ones
Sharing how you’re feeling with supportive friends and family members can help decrease feelings of stress, anxiety and loneliness.
It’s likely they’ve felt anxious about things in the past or may even be experiencing similar feelings. Call, text or email with those who are closest to you.
Tips for Managing Stress & Anxiety – Final thoughts
With stress and anxiety as a common struggle for many all over the world, it is important to find ways to identify where we think our stress/anxiety is coming from and how to use that information to better manage it.
When stress and anxiety is better managed, it improves the quality of life and gets us back to spending quality time with the important people in our lives and enjoying the things we like to do.
I would love to hear your thoughts on what you are doing to change your life in the coming days and years!
If you have any questions please reach out to me via firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!
I really hope you found inspiration in this article.
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Hello! My name is Adam and welcome to my space on the internet. Here you can find me writing about subjects such as spiritual growth, self-discovery, expanding your awareness, inner peace, self-care and mental health. Please connect with me on my journey and join the community!