Five Strategies to Help You Reduce Anxiety, Worry and Stress in Your Life
Feeling stressed? Stress is a part of everyone’s life. You can experience a short-lived stressor, like missing your train. Or it could be a day-long deluge of mishaps or stressful meetings. Fortunately, if you take the time, there are simple activities that can ease stress. Here are a few to keep in mind when you’re feeling stressed out.
Make a list.
Do you find yourself panicky over everything you have to do? It could be that you are suffering from anxiety. This emotional state manifests itself in many different ways, such as fidgeting, muscle tension, sleeping problems, headaches, sweating, nausea, even dizziness. Everybody feels overwhelmed at times. First recognize it for what it usually is—worry about the future. If your anxiety stems from a commitment, project, or task, write down the steps you need to take to accomplish it. Make a to-do list to help put your mind at ease.
Try deep breathing.
This deep breathing exercise starts with inhaling, then holding your breath. The exhale feels like a release. If you do it right, it can feel like you’re taking the weight of the world off your shoulders.
- Take a deep, deep belly inhale.
- Count to at least six on your inhale.
- Bring your diaphragm up into your chest as you inhale.
- Hold your breath for a count of four.
- Now exhale gradually with a count of at least six,
- Release all your tension and stress.
- Do this several times.
The calm feeling you may have is the result of what's called the Relaxation Response. It's a simple, but effective, breathing exercise that you can do anywhere and anytime that you are feeling stressed.
Get a massage.
If you have about an hour’s worth of time to get away from it all, try a nice, relaxing massage. The right kind of massage can really reduce your stress. Massage also helps improve the blood supply to muscles and increases circulation to sore or stressed-out areas in your body. Best of all, it may be just what you need to change your mood to the positive.
Get moving and exercise.
A little physical activity—whether a jog or bike ride—can really help calm your mind.
- Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to help relieve stress.
- Even a relaxing walk will get your blood flowing and help reduce your stress levels.
- Exercise time is also an opportunity to take stock of what you’re anxious about.
- Sometimes a physical activity can help bring you a fresh perspective and a more positive outlook.
- Try yoga, a calming exercise that may be just what you need to relieve your stress.
Meditation takes many forms. Meditating on a daily basis, especially in the morning, can help you avoid stress before it starts. If you’ve never tried it before, start out with a simple session. For example, just take 20 minutes to sit quietly and listen to your heartbeat or breath. Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Find a quiet room where you won’t be disturbed. Sit comfortably. Dim the lights. Now focus on one thing: either your heart beat or your breath. It may be difficult at first, but try doing this for the entire 20 minutes. Before long, you’ll feel a sense of peace and calm.
Don’t let stress get the better of you. Try one or a few of these techniques when you are feeling tension and pressure. Pretty soon you’ll be stress-free and on your way to a better day.