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