Anxiety and stress is undeniably a part of one’s life. May it be caused by a significant event in our life or even a minor everyday nuisance. A study showed that the present time is more stressful than it was in the 1990s, especially for those between the age of 45 and 64. It showed that daily stress was significantly higher presently as compared to three decades earlier and that we would all be best advised to find relief from stress.
Although we can’t control the circumstances in our daily lives or what events we’d face in the future, what we can manage is the way we react to stress. If not dealt with properly, stress can lead to various physical symptoms and can affect mental health. To manage and reduce stress, here are 17 ways that may help.
If you are in need of immediate find relief from stress, try these following routine:
The way you breathe can change your mood. Observe how you breathe when stressed out or when you are in a stressful situation – your breathing is shallow and rapid as your body responds to stress. To ease the anxiety, focus on your breathing and take long, short breaths. Likewise, try to relax the muscles in your face, shoulders and stomach. Shake off the tension as well and try to improve your posture.
2 Take a Walk
When overwhelmed, try to remove yourself from that situation by taking a short walk. This act will provide you with a change in scenery and allows you to reevaluate the situation. It may even help you focus on your thinking and get you into a different state of mind. Walking also stretches out the muscles you don’t even notice are flexed due to the tension you are experiencing to find relief from stress.
The act of meditation can be done in any safe location and does not always involve you to be doing a lotus or Burmese sitting position (although this position is helpful). Meditation can be done by relaxing your breathing, being mindful, or by reciting a mantra. Meditation lets you focus on the present, enabling you to let go of past events that no longer serve your worry.
4 Guided Imagery
This technique can be seen as indulging yourself into a vivid daydream or enabling your mind to take a short vacation. By imagining an ideal situation, being in a happy place, or walking yourself through a peaceful scenario for a few minutes will ease your anxiety.
5 Muscle Relaxation
This technique involves the tightening and relaxation of muscles by group. You start by taking a few deep breaths and progressively activating and then releasing muscles starting from your forehead to your toes. By doing so, you will recognise tension on your body and learn how to release it for better relaxation.
Certain scents can decrease stress hormones in our body and can also modify brain wave activity. You may use a diffuser, scented candles, oils or even body products. Incorporating this in your daily schedule will help you feel energised or more relaxed. You may also combine this as you meditate or exercise.
7 Physical Touch
A hug from a loved one or a comforting rub at the back is the most natural form of stress relief. Physical touch can stimulate the release of oxytocin, a hormone associated with happiness and lower levels of stress.
8 Write or Colour
Research shows that colouring has meditative effects and can lower anxiety levels. Try accomplishing some colouring books or those with mandalas and geometric patterns. Another way to manage stress is to write your worries and things that are causing your stress. This act will help you tackle an issue and help in focusing on the positive things you can do to address the problem.
For more resilience to stress, your health and lifestyle are significant factors. The way you take care of your body, and your mind is especially beneficial in managing and in reducing stress. The following are long term measures known to manage and reduce stress effectively.
9 Healthy Diet
A healthy diet will not only supply the required nutrients for your body but will also help your reactivity to stress. Carefully select the type of food you eat and refrain from foods with high sugar and fat content. These foods may cause a temporary relief due to a spike in your blood sugar, but after that change may follow more anxiety.
10 Healthy Lifestyle
A healthy diet must be accompanied by a healthy lifestyle. Refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol. Exercise is vital too, but remember to do it frequently and in moderation. There are various activities you can perform, such as joining gym classes, walking, hiking, biking, yoga and others.
11 Rest and Sleep
Getting enough rest and sleep will help in combating stress. When your body is well-rested, it has the energy to focus and to address issues positively. A well-rested body also results in a healthy mind to find relief from stress.
12 Positive Outlook
Talk to yourself in a positive way and refrain from putting yourself down. You can combat stress more effectively when you have a positive outlook and when you look at yourself positively. When faced with a problem, you can see yourself overcoming that situation since you have a positive perspective, to begin with.
13 Take Time Off
Take a break and engage in leisure activities. Your daily activities and work may soon seem monotonous, which can drain your energy. Try to remove yourself from this situation and enjoy life. Taking a vacation, getting a hobby, or engaging in leisure activities will make you feel better and improve your well-being.
14 Be Grateful
When you practice being thankful for the things you have, you create a positive attitude that empowers you to tackle the challenges that may lie ahead. Make it a habit to say thank you for the small and big things you have, and you’ll soon realise that you have more things to be thankful for rather than the things that need worrying.
15 Time Management and To-do List
Practice organisation so as not to feel overwhelmed with tasks to be accomplished. Evaluate what is on your list and identify what task can be delegated, removed or if there are alternatives. You might be feeling stressed due to the workload you are trying to accomplish.
16 Ask for Help
It is always ideal to ask for help, whether from colleagues, friends or relatives. Having someone or a support group that you can talk to can help in managing stress. Sometimes, just the thought of having someone to hear you out can lessen your anxiety.
17 Remove and Avoid Stress
Identify activities (or even people) that contribute to your anxiety. Remove or avoid these things in your life, and you will soon notice the peace that its absence brings.
The ability to find relief from stress may be something that we can’t totally remove from our lives, but always remember that we can manage and reduce it. To combat stress in the long-term, we always have the choice to be healthy, to exercise, to ask for support, to select tasks to be done, to have a vacation and to be positive about ourselves. And if we are feeling overwhelmed now, just remember to breathe, to focus on a positive thought, to recite a mantra, to relax your muscles, or go for a walk!