Top 5 Ways To Handle Stress And Anxiety
You know those people who are cool, calm and collected, no matter what is going on in their life? Literally, their house could blow up before their eyes and they’d hardly stir. So, I am not like that. I mean, I truly admire those people, but it’s just not going to happen for me . Or so I tell myself. And the truth is, most of us get stressed from time to time (some of us more than others). Anxiety can cause health issues like inflammation and too much sugar (from comfort eating, to alleviate stress). But it also interferes with our ability to think clearly and act as we should to ourselves and others. It’s important to have ways to de-stress when things get a little more hectic.
Since stress is very individual, what works for you may not work for your friend. That’s why it’s helpful to know different ways to relax. Try one; if it doesn’t work for you, pick another. Here’s to a healthy, relaxed, stress-free (well, as stress-free as is normal!) year ahead.
1. Start To Exercise
If you’ve ever been really stressed and taken a good, hard run only to come back feeling worlds better, then you’ll know exactly why exercise is at the top of the de-stressing list. While this might have something to do with the psychological aspect (that feeling that you’re running away from the stress, and also letting out your negative energy with each minute you push yourself to keep going), it’s actually scientifically proven to be effective, as well.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. That’s those ‘feel-good’ hormones you get when you eat chocolate, ironically. Exercise calms you, and can distract you from your stresses as you focus on your task, whether it’s running, swimming or playing a competitive game with your friends. By the time you get home, your mind is much clearer, you feel better, and you’re able to cope with the stress more easily than you could have before.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Sounds simple, but the truth is, most of us are not so careful to get the recommended amount of sleep that we need to function well. Whether it’s a deadline at work, the urge to clean a different part of your house each evening, or the TV that’s keeping you up at night, you need to make sure that you’re not overdoing it to the extent that it’s robbing you of the sleep you need. Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. And let’s get real, how often does that happen?
However, if you’re the stressed-out type (raising my hand over here), getting enough sleep is the first step to leading a less stressful life.
What makes you anxious? Interestingly, it has less to do with what happens to you, and more to do with how you perceive the stress. This explains why two people can go through the exact same experience and some will remain calm, while others will totally lose it, becoming anxious reck. It’s been proven that when you get enough sleep, you respond better to anxiety – thereby lessening the stress in your life.
3. Get Artistic
Have you ever noticed that a lot of artists are calm, breezy people? There’s a reason for that. Aside from distracting you from your worries as you focus on your artwork, art is an outlet that can help you channel the energy you’re feeling (i.e. stress) into creating something beautiful. A quiet setting can also help you to relax and just be. Afterward, you feel calm, accomplished and better able to face the ‘real world’. Whether you like pottery, painting or even colouring (yup, it’s not only for five-year-olds these days), find a way to express yourself creatively and help yourself deal with anxiety.
4. Try Yoga
You’ve already thought of this one but I’m going to mention it anyway. Yoga involves both your mind and body in exercises that help you breathe better, clear your mind and generally just relax. Working even just a fifteen-minute yoga session into every day can provide not only short-term stress relief, but can also bring down your overall stress levels.
5. Listen To Music
I don’t have to tell you that music seriously affects your mood. If you’re listening to a pumping song, you get the urge to dance or jump, right? (And if you won’t admit to that, just watch how a toddler reacts next time you turn on fast music. They’re too young to know what’s socially appropriate.) Well, the same theory works with calming music.
Lie on your bed and just breathe deeply while listening to calm, relaxing music (I like the Piano Guys). If you know how to play an instrument, you’ve probably realised that it’s a great way to de-stress. Play a soft, easy piece on your piano. Get out your guitar and start strumming out your favourite slow medley. Whatever instrument you play, it can help to calm you down.
Life has its ups and downs, and at times can seem very stressful. However, it’s vital to your health and well-being to find ways to de-stress and reduce anxiety. It can be a daily routine, or just something you do whenever you feel that anxiety building up and need to let it out.
The new year is a time for making new resolutions, so if 2017 was stressful, make sure that you do everything you can to make 2018 better. With a little bit of effort, you can help yourself stay calm, relaxed, and enjoy better quality of life in the year ahead.