Stress and anxiety are psychological and physical discomforts people experience from time to time. Stress may stem from situations where you are left feeling nervous or disappointed. Anxiety, on the one hand, is a feeling of worry or fear that may also be rooted in stress. Well, they are not necessarily bad—they can help you meet deadlines and surpass difficult situations—but only until they start to paralyze you from doing your day-to-day activities. That is when you should start doing something about these feelings before things get even worse.
1. Spend quality time with people who truly matter. A strong support system is one of the things that will help get you through difficult situations. Surround yourself with family and friends for they can reinforce your feelings of self-worth and belongingness. One study has found out that people with the fewest social connections are more likely to experience stress and anxiety. Another study has revealed that women who spend time with friends and children experience an increase in oxytocin, a natural stress reliever.
2. Listen to music. By simply listening to music that you love can be effective in combating stress hormones. Slow-paced instrumentals can help lower your heart rate and blood pressure, which, in turn, induces your relaxation response. Nature sounds can also help calm your spirits.
3. Yoga your way out of stress and anxiety! Yoga quite magically unites your mind and body by strengthening your body and breath awareness. One research has discovered that yoga can boost your mood and may even have the same effect as antidepressant drugs.
4. Keep a journal of your feelings. Though it helps to write down the things that stress you out so you can be more aware and wary of them, it is much more important to take note of the things of which you are grateful. Focusing on the positive events in your life, however small they might seem, may help you overcome stress and anxiety.
5. Physical fitness is key. Interestingly, subjecting yourself to physical stress through working out can help alleviate mental stress, and the positive effects could be significantly much more when you do it regularly. Exercise aids in the release of endorphins, chemicals that trigger positive feelings and act as your body’s natural pain busters, as well as in lowering your cortisol or stress hormone levels. Exercise can also boost your confidence and can help you sleep better, too!
6. You might consider drinking less coffee. Caffeine is a stimulant that elevates mood and offerstemporary energy boost, however high doses of which trigger anxiety. If you’re already feeling jittery, chances are you got way too much caffeine in your system that you need to cut back on tea, energy drinks, coffee, or chocolate.
7. Laugh more often! Laughing is more than what it is. It can do amazing things to your body such as improving your mood and immune system, and it is almost impossible to still feel anxious when you’re laughing your heart out. It relaxes your muscles, which relieves you from tension and stress. One study reveals that cancer patients who are part of laughter intervention groups experience less stress.
8. A little intimacy doesn’t hurt. Physical contact such as sex, kissing, and hugging can help lower your heart rate and blood pressure, as well as drop your stress hormones while increasing your oxytocin levels.
9. Learn to breathe deep. Mental stress gets you into fight-or-flight mode, which constricts your blood vessels and make you experience quicker breathing and faster heartbeat. Deep breathing exercises such as paced respiration, as well as diaphragmatic and abdominal breathing activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for controlling your relaxation response.
10. Don’t fear saying NO. Juggling more stuff than you can handle is not and will never be healthy at the end of the day. Take control of your life and be selective of the responsibilities you take on. Have the courage to say NO whenever it’s necessary.