Let's be honest. Stress & Anxiety suck! They are common experiences for most people, you are NOT alone. It is not something that is chosen or you can decide not to feel. It is an emotion, but it is so much more than that, as it is the brain reacting to the perception of fear. In fact, approximately 70% of adults say they feel stress or anxiety daily.
When the human race were living in the caves back in the day, anxiety was helpful. Spotting a bear and the anxiety reaction would kick in to either fight or run (the fight or flight response).
In modern life, the bear is now "the boss". The bills that need to be paid. The fear of losing jobs. All of the above at the same time. It can get intense and become a vicious circle.
The thought could be, "I am scared to lose my job due to coronavirus", which makes you feel anxious, affecting your behaviour at work and therefore, risking your job. This cycle goes around and around, so you have to find a way to break into the cycle. If you don’t, it will lead to both physical and mental health problems.
Anxiety is not something that should be accepted. Yes, being anxious is an extremely useful emotion at certain times, pushing you to be your best at a job interview or keep yourself healthy etc. However, if you feel fear when there is no immediate threat, that starts the cycle of living in anxiety.
"How can I manage anxiety, how should I manage fear"? You need to take control back and not let anxiety take over. Luckily, some simple and positive changes in your life can do this!
Exercise & Get Outside
Distraction, get away from what you are doing for a period of time. Mindfulness, the technique of being present in the activity that you are doing. Awareness of the environment around you, what can you see, touch, smell?
When you let out some of that aggression through cardio, you are more likely to feel like you can handle anything. This is one of the key components of a successful anxiety ritual. Do your normal evening routine after a quick 30-minute workout, shower, prepare dinner (on a weeknight you probably need some ten-minute meal inspiration,) so bare that in mind - and get ready to de-stress.
It might seem contradictory, but putting physical stress on your body through exercise can relieve mental stress. The benefits are strongest when you exercise regularly.
There are a few reasons behind this:
Stress hormones: Exercise lowers your body’s stress hormones — such as cortisol — in the long run. It also helps release endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers.
Sleep: Exercise can also improve your sleep quality, which can be negatively affected by stress and anxiety.
Confidence: When you exercise regularly, you may feel more competent and confident in your body, which in turn promotes mental wellbeing.
Try to find an exercise routine or activity you enjoy, such as walking, dancing, rock climbing or yoga. Activities — such as walking or jogging — that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups can be particularly stress relieving, as regular exercise can help lower stress and anxiety by releasing endorphins and improving your sleep and self-image.
Focus On Breathing
Just focusing on your breath or changing the way you breathe can make a big difference to your overall stress level. Breathing techniques can calm your body and your brain in just a few minutes. The best news is, no one around you will even know you're doing them. So whether you're in a stressful meeting or you're sitting in a crowded theater, breathing exercises could be key to reducing your stress.
Breathe in through your nose and imagine that you're inhaling peaceful, calm air. Imagine that air spreading throughout your body. As you exhale, imagine that you're breathing out stress and tension. Hold for one second and then slowly breathe out through your nose as you count to three again.
Wear A Stress Relief Necklace
This necklace is an effective drug alternative designed by a therapist to slow your exhale. And it’s incredibly simple...Wear this mindful breathing necklace and breathe slowly and meditatively anytime you feel on edge.
Use A Stress Relief Ball
Who doesn't love releasing some internal stress on something squidgy!
Listen To Music
Listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body. Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as stress hormones.
Some types of classical, Celtic, Native American and Indian music can be particularly soothing, but simply listening to the music you enjoy is effective too. Nature sounds can also be very calming. This is why they’re often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music.
It’s hard to feel anxious when you’re laughing. It’s good for your health, and there are a few ways it may help relieve stress, one is by relaxing your muscles. Plus, in the long term, laughter can also help improve your immune system.
A study among people with cancer found that people in the laughter intervention group experienced more stress relief than those who were simply distracted. Try watching a funny TV show or hanging out with friends who make you laugh. Find the humour in everyday life, spend time with funny friends or watch a comedy show to help relieve stress.
At this very moment, your body is playing host to trillions of bacteria. You are, in fact, just as much microbe as you are human—carrying around roughly the same number of bacterial cells as human ones, with nearly all of the bacteria living in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
We already know that feeling anxious affects our bellies. It makes us run to the bathroom, makes us queasy and generally makes our insides do flips like an Olympic gymnast. In fact, the gut has its own nervous system and it contains as many nerve cells as the spinal cord. This nervous system of the GI tract is directly connected to the brain through the vagus nerve, which acts as a sort of information superhighway.
There's evidence, for example, that people who suffer from GI disorders, like irritable bowel syndrome, also have higher rates of depression or anxiety. And researchers have noticed that certain species of bacteria (ones that seem to be able to make us melancholy) are more likely to be found in the guts of depressed patients, while those linked to better mood are lacking.
Therefore watch what you eat to protect your gut and intern your mood.
Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks. High doses can increase anxiety. People have different thresholds for how much caffeine they can tolerate. If you notice that caffeine makes you jittery or anxious, consider cutting back.
Although many studies show that coffee can be healthy in moderation, it’s not for everyone. In general, five or fewer cups per day is considered a moderate amount.
Several supplements promote stress and anxiety reduction. Here is a brief overview of some of the most common ones:
Lemon balm: Lemon balm is a member of the mint family that has been studied for its anti-anxiety effects.
Omega-3 fatty acids: One study showed that medical students who received omega-3 supplements experienced a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms.
Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat stress and anxiety. Several studies suggest that it’s effective.
Green tea: Green tea contains many polyphenol antioxidants which provide health benefits. It may lower stress and anxiety by increasing serotonin levels.
Valerian: Valerian root is a popular sleep aid due to its tranquilizing effect. It contains valerenic acid, which alters gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors to lower anxiety.
Kava kava: Kava kava is a psychoactive member of the pepper family. Long used as a sedative in the South Pacific, it is increasingly used in Europe and the US to treat mild stress and anxiety.
Some supplements can interact with medications or have side effects, so you may want to consult with a doctor if you have a medical condition.
Cry It Out
There are many reasons why having a good cry can be beneficial to your mental state. It is a stress and pain reliever, a mood regulator, a sleep aid, it lowers blood pressure and release toxins. So if you feel you need to "cry me a river," as Justin Timberlake would say, then go and do it!
CBD is thought to interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system, respectively.
Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, plays an important role in your mental health. Low serotonin levels are commonly associated with people who have depression. In some cases, not having enough serotonin may also cause anxiety. Try CBD in either an oil, sweeties, body cream or even in food and drink.
Emerging research suggests certain scents can alter brain wave activity and decrease stress hormones in the body. So whether you enjoy candles, diffusers, or body products, consider incorporating some aromatherapy into your day.
That’s why we love this roll-on by This Works. Roll it into your hands and take a deep soothing breath of eucalyptus, frankincense, and lavender oils to help you get a better quality of sleep and relax.
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Your evening shower (or bath) can help you beat anxiety symptoms. You just need to make use of the right essential oils to help get into a de-stress zone. A couple of drops will relieve the tension of a stressful day.
Add some drops to the showerhead before you turn it on, or add a couple to your bath and enjoy the scent of de-stressing as it takes your shower from blah to ta-dah!
Some scents are especially soothing. Here are some of the most calming scents:
Lavender, Rose, Vetiver, Bergamot, Roman chamomile, Neroli, Frankincense, Sandalwood, Ylang ylang, Orange or orange blossom, Geranium
Consider hanging eucalyptus in your shower for a spa experience, or this candle that’s proven to help lower your feelings of stress and anxiety. 95% Of people who tried the scent to de-stress range said it lowered their feelings of stress and anxiety – so it’s definitely worth a try!
Make A Smoothie
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Do you have a hot drink before bed? Chamomile tea? What about a midnight smoothie? The idea of a twilight smoothie might confuse you, but how about blending a sachet of Brain Dust into a healthy and calming bedtime smoothie? Try 1/2 cup of rolled oats, 2 cups of baby spinach, chamomile tea, 2 large bananas, almond butter and a scoop of Brain dust.
Moon Juice’s Brain Dust is a re-awakening for the mind, containing everything you need to think clearly, focus, cope with stress and overcome feelings of seasonal depression. Try a scoop and see how you feel!
Unload Your Emotions On Paper
Getting in touch with your creative side may have been easy for you during childhood, but if you’ve lost touch with your penchant for artwork, it’s not too late to pick it up again. If you aren't into drawing or painting, consider coloring in a coloring book. Adult colouring books have risen in popularity and for good reason—colouring can be a great stress reliever.
When you’re stressed and anxious, you often don’t know the root cause of that anxiety or those emotions. Which is why you need to think about your mood, your daily routine, and how that can affect your emotions. The Win At Life Journal is the perfect companion for a stressful day.
Get yourself cozy and open up the Win At Life journal to use the Win At Life system, track the meals you’ve eaten, how you’ve felt, the time spent outside or with friends and family and use it as a framework to help you build yourself up to a stress-free day.
At the back of the book, there are also sections with checklists for dealing with stress, anxiety tips, tips for boosting happiness, and feeling relaxed and calm.
For a super easy and quick stress reliever, try chewing a stick of gum. Consider buying our organic suggestion above. One study showed that people who chewed gum had a greater sense of wellbeing and lower stress. One possible explanation is that chewing gum causes brain waves similar to those of relaxed people. Another is that chewing gum promotes blood flow to your brain.
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Find A Mantra
Use positive affirmations every day to help manage your mood. Have a stock of different mantras to repeat whenever you are feeling anxious. Tell yourself, “This feeling is only temporary.” This should help you remain calm, especially if you are on the verge of a panic attack.
Spend Time With Friends And Family
Social support from friends and family can help you get through stressful times. Being part of a friend network gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth, which can help you in tough times. One study found that for women in particular, spending time with friends and children helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. This effect is called “tend and befriend,” and is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response.
Another study found that men and women with the fewest social connections were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Having strong social ties may help you get through stressful times and lower your risk of anxiety.
Learn To Say No!
Not all stressors are within your control, but some are. Take control over the parts of your life that you can change and are causing you stress. One way to do this may be to say “no” more often. This is especially true if you find yourself taking on more than you can handle, as juggling many responsibilities can leave you feeling overwhelmed.
Being selective about what you take on — and saying no to things that will unnecessarily add to your load — can reduce your stress levels. Try not to take on more than you can handle. Saying no is one way to control your stressors.
Learn To Avoid Procrastination
Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and stop procrastinating. Procrastination can lead you to act reactively, leaving you scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality.
Get in the habit of making a to-do list organised by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list. Work on the things that need to get done today and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time, as switching between tasks or multitasking can be stressful itself. Prioritise what needs to get done and make time for it. Staying on top of your to-do list can help ward off procrastination-related stress.
Mindfulness describes practices that anchor you to the present moment. It can help combat the anxiety-inducing effects of negative thinking. There are several methods for increasing mindfulness, including mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga and meditation. A recent study in college students suggested that mindfulness may help increase self-esteem, which in turn lessens symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Yoga - has become a popular method of stress relief and exercise among all age groups. While yoga styles differ, most share a common goal — to join your body and mind. Yoga primarily does this by increasing body and breath awareness.
Some studies have examined yoga’s effect on mental health. Overall, research has found that yoga can enhance mood and may even be as effective as antidepressant drugs at treating depression and anxiety.
Gratitude - First thing in the morning, choose one thing to be grateful for that day. As you go about your day, every time you remember, say to yourself “I am grateful for that chosen thing”.
At the end of the day, before you go to sleep, mentally list 3 things that you are grateful for that day that are different from the thing that you chose for the day. This can also be incorporated into your day-to-day activities - every time you wash your hands, be grateful for the water, soap, and also your hands. Take a deep breath and be grateful for your lungs and when you go for a walk, give thanks for your feet. Gratitude takes practise but before you know it, you will be grateful for all the things in your life, and feel a lot less anxious, as your mind will be so full of positivity.
Meditation - There are so many amazing practises to calm our minds, but none are quite as powerful as meditation. Science is learning more every day about anxiety and the brain, and a great way to look at your mind is like a computer programme. Our body runs without us having to do anything, keeping our organs running. Our mind also runs independently, and if we do not stop and pay attention, it will run away from us. We need regular updates and health checks, just like we do with our computer. That is where meditation comes in!
It is worth noting, meditation takes practise. We surround ourselves with noise all day, so when we sit down and try to clear our mind, we realise just how crazy our mind is. It can feel impossible to relax, so the best way to incorporate this into your day to day life is with a guided meditation.
Why not take comfort with crystals?
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Grab A Hug From A Loved One
Cuddling, kissing, hugging and sex can all help relieve stress. Positive physical contact can help release oxytocin and lower cortisol. This can help lower blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are physical symptoms of stress.
So don't be afraid to ask a loved one for a hug if you need it. It's good for both of you and it can be one of the simplest forms of stress relief available.
Spend Time With Your Fury Friend
Having a pet may help reduce stress and improve your mood. Interacting with pets may help release oxytocin, a brain chemical that promotes a positive mood.
Having a pet may also help relieve stress by giving you purpose, keeping you active and providing companionship — all qualities that help reduce anxiety.
Although stress and anxiety may arise in your workplace and personal life, there are many simple ways to reduce the pressure you feel.
Take your mind away from the source of stress by Interrupting the worry cycle, and improve your overall work-life balance by following the above tips.
If things aren't going great at the moment, try and stay chilled and stay positive! Everything will be ok, maybe not today, tomorrow or the next day, but everything will be ok in the end.