A recent survey by the APA has revealed that around 80% of respondents are feeling the effects of ongoing stress in 2021. These include anxiety, anger, and sadness.
Are you among those unfortunates who are struggling to catch a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel? Prolonged stress and anxiety can lead to serious health issues like stroke and heart attack.
Don’t suffer any longer. Try these tips to help reduce stress and combat anxiety before it’s too late.
1. Get Your 7 Hours
Sleep is vital for good mental health, but it’s difficult to drift off when your mind’s dodging the worries of an anxiety-riddled day.
Set yourself up for success by avoiding technology for at least an hour before bedtime. Instead, enjoy a cup of chamomile tea and a few moments of tranquil reflection, or listen to soothing music while you prepare to sleep.
Keep your room quiet, dark, and cool. The ideal temperature for sleep is around 60 °F.
You might think a glass of wine relaxes you, but alcohol is actually a stimulant, and too much of it is notorious for making things seem worse than they are. Alcohol is a major player in insomnia and interrupted sleep cycles.
2. Stay Active
Exercise is a natural and rewarding tonic for stress and anxiety. Activity increases the concentration of feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain. That’s why you feel energized after exertion.
Taking part in sports or achieving small personal exercise goals gives you a sense of accomplishment that improves your self-confidence. Elevated confidence means you’ll feel more assured when dealing with life’s challenges.
Another way that exercise can help you relax is by improving the quality of your sleep. Increased oxygen supplies and muscular exertion mean you’ll fall asleep quicker, leaving less time to worry about issues until late into the night.
In return, sleep will reward you with an improved mindset that helps with managing stress.
3. Spoil Yourself
Give yourself a day off from your worries. Whenever you find unpleasant stressful thoughts creeping in, tell yourself you’ll pay attention to them tomorrow.
Spend this time in pampering activities to make yourself look and feel better. Enjoy a long, warm, relaxing bath, shampoo your hair, and give yourself a scalp massage. Finish off with a pedicure and a manicure to add the final touches to the new stress-free you.
Spending time engaged in these activities will keep you busy and help you feel better about life in the end. When it’s all done, spoil yourself some more with a binge session in front of the TV, or read a book.
4. Breathe Deeper
Breath-holding is a common sign of every stress and anxiety problem.
If you’re taking small shallow breaths or clenching your jaw and only breathing when you run out of air, you’re suffocating yourself. Your body’s natural reaction to this is panic and distress.
Pay attention to your breathing as much as you can. When you feel yourself gasping for air, stop and spend a few minutes inhaling deeply and exhaling fully.
This will clear your mind, release your tension, and reduce anxiety.
5. Reduce Stress With Mindfulness
Mindfulness works well with breathing exercises. Become conscious of your body.
Focus on your breathing, and pay attention to your surroundings in great detail. Take note of the sounds, smells, and sights around you and feel your place among them.
This awareness of your own presence is what mindfulness is all about.
If you can try taking this to the next level by treating yourself to a mindful massage. When you match mindfulness with skilled massage techniques, you’re onto a winning formula for busting stress.
6. Eat Well
Losing interest in food is a common symptom of stress, but a healthy diet is one of the best ways to give your mind the tools to manage stress.
When you go shopping, don’t rush through the aisles grabbing instant meals or old familiar ingredients. Rather spend a few minutes planning your meals for the week and shop accordingly.
Practice mindfulness in your shopping, think about your purchases and whether they’ll help you in your fight against stress.
Some of the best foods to put your stress to rest include:
Fish, meat, eggs, and nuts
Antioxidant-rich foods like berries, ginger, beans, fruits, and vegetables
For an added boost, take a nutritional supplement containing magnesium, vitamin C, and omega-3- fatty acids.
A healthy diet levels your mood, lowers your blood pressure, and reduces the effects of stress. Put junk food on the naughty list, and stay aware of how much sugar and fat you’re consuming every day.
7. Getting Help
Nobody can help you get out of your stressed state, only you’re responsible for the way you react to life’s pressures.
Yet, if you find you can’t silence your worried mind, professional guidance can help you find a way forward. A psychologist can help you discover effective relaxation techniques or show you how to redirect your worries into constructive actions.
A yoga instructor will introduce you to breathing and meditation that help soothe your worries away.
The simple act of sharing your worries with a close friend or trusted family member can help you put things into perspective.
It’s Up to You
When you reduce stress levels, you’ll enjoy a better quality of life, peace of mind, and a renewed sense of purpose. Don’t let negative emotions get you down any longer.
It’s difficult at first to quiet a troubled mind, but stick to it, and you’ll find the effort so worthwhile.
If you’d like to find out more ways to enhance and streamline every aspect of your busy life, explore some more of our articles.