Thursday, June 16, 2022

How To Be Less Stressed And Anxious

Is Your Worry Solvable

7 Minimalist Ways to Be Less Anxious

Productive, solvable worries are those you can take action on right away. For example, if youre worried about your bills, you could call your creditors to see about flexible payment options. Unproductive, unsolvable worries are those for which there is no corresponding action. What if I get cancer someday? or What if my kid gets into an accident?

If the worry is solvable, start brainstorming. Make a list of all the possible solutions you can think of. Try not to get too hung up on finding the perfect solution. Focus on the things you have the power to change, rather than the circumstances or realities beyond your control. After youve evaluated your options, make a plan of action. Once you have a plan and start doing something about the problem, youll feel much less anxious.

If the worry is not solvable, accept the uncertainty. If youre a chronic worrier, the vast majority of your anxious thoughts probably fall in this camp. Worrying is often a way we try to predict what the future has in store-a way to prevent unpleasant surprises and control the outcome. The problem is, it doesnt work. Thinking about all the things that could go wrong doesnt make life any more predictable. Focusing on worst-case scenarios will only keep you from enjoying the good things you have in the present. To stop worrying, tackle your need for certainty and immediate answers.

Identify And Develop Physical Anchors

You actually have within you resources to provide some of the most effective ways to calm yourself down in heightened moments you feel stressed and anxious. Renowned clinical psychologist Dr. Peter Levine and expert in treating stress and trauma, teaches us how techniques which do this, such as Somatic Experiencing® can significantly help us calm down.

By learning to be fully present and applying touch to certain areas of your body , you increase your capacity to self-regulate. You also learn how to attend to and release your unique symptoms that your body has been containing in a way you have not been able to before.

Heres one technique example:

  • Get in a comfortable position
  • Have your eyes open or closed, whatever feels most comfortable for you
  • Now place one hand on your forehead, palm side flat against the skin
  • Place the other hand, palm down across your heart space above your sternum the flat of your chest area.
  • Gently turn your attention to what you feel physically in the area between your two hands. Observe and just take notice of what you physically feel. Is your chest pounding? How strong are its beat and the rhythm? Do you notice any other sensations anywhere else between your two hands?
  • Dont try to push or resist what youre feeling. Try to just sit with it and remain this way with your hands in place until you feel a shift, a physical one. It might take a little longer, so try to be patient.
  • How To Challenge These Thoughts

    During your worry period, challenge your negative thoughts by asking yourself:

    • Whats the evidence that the thought is true? That its not true?
    • Is there a more positive, realistic way of looking at the situation?
    • Whats the probability that what Im scared of will actually happen? If the probability is low, what are some more likely outcomes?
    • Is the thought helpful? How will worrying about it help me and how will it hurt me?
    • What would I say to a friend who had this worry?

    Recommended Reading: How To Calm My Stressed Cat

    Strategies To Cope With Anxiety

    When we feel stressed out or anxious, its very easy to let our other needs slide to the wayside. In the book, Coping with Anxiety: Ten Simple Ways to Relieve Anxiety, Fear and Worry, authors Bourne and Garano provide the following 10 strategies, some of which echo the bottom tiers of Maslows hierarchy of needs.

  • Relax your body and muscles, and control your breathing. You can do this through exercises such as yoga, guided meditation, mindful meditation, and breathing exercises.
  • Use visualizations, music, and meditation to relax and ease your mind.
  • Change your thinking so that you consider other alternatives and solutions to the situation that is causing anxiety.
  • Consider facing what you are afraid of so that you can learn to recognize that your concerns are fleeting and see that your imagined outcome is not guaranteed.
  • Get regular exercise so that you can sharpen your mind, learn to push through pain and exhaustion, get stronger, and have fun.
  • Eat mindfully and maintain a healthy, moderate diet.
  • Make time for yourself to recharge. This includes getting a good nights sleep.
  • Simplify your life so that you can adapt to stressful situations and avoid unnecessary causes of stress.
  • Do not go down the rabbit hole of worry. If you are aware that you are starting to worry, find a way to stop it.
  • Finally, develop a set of strategies to use when youre feeling anxious at a particular time so that you can cope with it in the moment .
  • How Do I Get Help

    8 Ways To Stress Less

    Talking therapies

    Talking therapies, like counselling or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, are very effective for people with anxiety problems, including Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which takes you through a series of self-help exercises on screen. Visit your GP to find out more.

    Medication

    Drug treatments are used to provide short-term help, rather than looking at the root of the anxiety problems. Drugs may be most useful when they are combined with other treatments or support.

    Support groups

    You can learn a lot about managing anxiety from asking other people who have experienced it. Local support groups or self-help groups bring together people with similar experiences so that they can hear each others stories, share tips and encourage each other to try out new ways to manage themselves. Your doctor, library or local Citizens Advice bureau will have details of support groups near you.

    Read Also: How To Decompress From Stress

    Whats The Difference Between Stress Anxiety And An Anxiety Disorder

    When left unchecked, both stress and anxiety can escalate into more severe mental health conditions. Anxiety disorder, which includes generalized anxiety disorder , panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder , and obsessive compulsive disorder is the most common mental health condition in the U.S., affecting more than 40 million Americans. Globally, anxiety disorders are also the most common mental health condition, affecting up to one in 13 people.

    The basic criteria for determining whether stress or anxiety have become problematic is whether they have begun adversely affecting key domains of your life such as work or social situations. Maybe youre having trouble sleeping, trouble concentrating, or have increased symptoms like irritability or sadness, said Dr. Marques. As a rule of thumb, those things have to happen for enough time consistently to qualify as an anxiety disorder.

    Whether or not your stress or anxiety feel manageable at a given moment is a highly personal question especially since some degree of both is actually necessary for us to feel motivated. Most people can actually pulse check when stress or anxiety become too much, Dr. Marques said. When you start to see that regular interference , thats usually when its time to seek some help.

    What Makes You Anxious

    Because anxiety is a type of fear, the things weve described about fear above are also true for anxiety.

    The word anxiety tends to be used to describe worry, or when fear is nagging and persists over time. It is used when the fear is about something in the future rather than what is happening right now.

    Anxiety is a word often used by health professionals when theyre describing persistent fear. The ways that you feel when youre frightened and anxious are very similar, as the basic emotion is the same.

    Also Check: How To Manage Stress While Pregnant

    Listen To Good Mood Music

    Music can have a powerful effect on your mood and on anxiety. They key however is to not just choose songs you like. but also make sure that you are listening to music that represents the way you want to feel. Happy or relaxing music can directly impact your mood and the way you feel.

    While many people find it soothing to listen to angry music when theyâre angry or sad music when theyâre sad, the truth is that this type of music will only help you get in touch with those negative emotions. That won’t help you feel better. When you’re trying to stop anxiety, you should listen to music that will help you feel the way you want to feel.

    Create Obstacles And Rewards

    9 Tips for Dealing with Anxiety| How to be Less Anxious

    If you tend to pick up your phone when youre supposed to be working, turn off your phone and put it somewhere out of sight before you get started with the day.

    Make sure to reward yourself for your efforts, too. After you get a good chunk of work done, take a break to watch a funny video, catch up with your friends, or swap selfies with your partner.

    Thinking in terms of rewards rather than punishments can help you encourage yourself, too.

    • Instead of: If I dont work out tonight, I cant watch the next episode of Lucifer.’
    • Try: Ill go for a jog after work, and then Ill watch an episode of Lucifer before bed.

    If youre a long-time procrastinator, breaking the habit may require a little extra support.

    Connecting with a therapist may be a good next step when procrastination:

    • affects your performance at school or work
    • creates problems in your personal relationships
    • leads to feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression, or makes existing symptoms worse

    A therapist can help you identify and explore possible emotional triggers. They can also provide more insight into any underlying mental health concerns contributing to procrastination.

    In therapy, you can also learn strategies to challenge negative self-talk and reframe unhelpful thought patterns.

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    See Our Other ‘how To’ Guides

    Fear is one of the most powerful emotions. It has a very strong effect on your mind and body.

    Fear can create strong signals of response when were in emergencies for instance, if we are caught in a fire or are being attacked.

    It can also take effect when youre faced with non-dangerous events, like exams, public speaking, a new job, a date, or even a party. Its a natural response to a threat that can be either perceived or real.

    Anxiety is a word we use for some types of fear that are usually to do with the thought of a threat or something going wrong in the future, rather than right now.

    Fear and anxiety can last for a short time and then pass, but they can also last much longer and you can get stuck with them. In some cases they can take over your life, affecting your ability to eat, sleep, concentrate, travel, enjoy life, or even leave the house or go to work or school. This can hold you back from doing things you want or need to do, and it also affects your health.

    Some people become overwhelmed by fear and want to avoid situations that might make them frightened or anxious. It can be hard to break this cycle, but there are lots of ways to do it. You can learn to feel less fearful and to cope with fear so that it doesnt stop you from living.

    Try 6 Meditations To Help Reduce Anxiety

    Looking for more meditations to help you feel calm? The Headspace app offers subscribers several courses and single meditations on topics related to anxiety, including:

    • Managing Anxiety 10-day course. Cultivate a new perspective on fear and anxiety.

    • Unemployment Anxiety single meditation. Recognize and release stress about job loss and the future.

    • Letting Go of Stress 10-day course. Enjoy a healthier mind by developing your awareness of stress and learning how to reframe negative emotions.

    • Stressed single meditation. Notice what you’re holding onto and how to drop the preoccupying storyline.

    • Why can’t I sleep? single meditation. This exercise will help you practice calming the mind and body during the day, so you feel more ready for sleep when bedtime comes.

    • Difficult Conversations single meditation. The prospect of a difficult conversation can drive feelings of anxiety and fear, but by lesseing habits of reactivity and developing a calmer, more patient mindset, you can both listen and express yourself more clearly.

    Also Check: How To Deal With Anger And Stress

    Talk To Someone You Trust About How You’re Feeling

    Just talking to someone about how youre feeling can take a weight off your shoulders. Make sure you trust the person, work out what you want to say to them, and then just go for it. If youre finding it tricky, weve got four more steps for talking to someone you trust here.

    If you want to talk to someone anonymously, check out the ReachOut Forums or a hotline here.

    How To Stop Worrying: 11 Steps To Reduce Stress And Anxiety

    Stress Less! Updated Poster

    Are you ready to finally learn how to stop worrying?

    Everyone gets worried from time to time in fact, 59% of adults reported a daily sense of worry in 2020. Whether youre preparing for a big presentation or are going through personal changes, its normal to have the occasional sleepless night.

    However, too much worry can make it difficult to enjoy life. If you want to take back your life from anxiety and learn how to stop worrying, youre in the right place.

    Were here to share our best strategies for how to stop worrying. Well give you the tools you need to get your stress and worry under control.

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    Try These Other Practical Steps

    • Remove time-consuming apps from your phone and access them through a device you dont carry with you all day.
    • Change your settings to eliminate push notifications and other disruptive alerts.
    • Set your screen to gray scale to keep it from waking you at night.
    • Place some barriers around your phone use that force you to think about what youre doing. For example, you could create lock screen questions, like Why now? and What for?
    • Keep your phone out of sight. Charge your phone somewhere besides your bedroom.
    • Develop hobbies that feed your soul. Replace the games and social media apps with hands-on, real-world activities, like meeting up with friends, creating music or art, or doing volunteer work.
    • Adopt a growth mindset. Brief relapses, adjustments, and withdrawal symptoms are part of a journey toward healthier phone use. Dont expect to get it right immediately. Expect some setbacks, and learn from each experience.

    How Do I Know If I Need Help

    Fear and anxiety can affect all of us every now and then. It is only when it is severe and long-lasting that doctors class it as a mental health problem. If you feel anxious all the time for several weeks, or if it feels like your fears are taking over your life, then its a good idea to ask your doctor for help, or try one of the websites or numbers listed at the back of this booklet. The same is true if a phobia is causing problems in your daily life, or if you are experiencing panic attacks.

    Recommended Reading: What Are Symptoms Of Post Traumatic Stress

    Hanging Out With Friends

    Relationships matter even for us introverts, says Stone. Research also tells us that isolating is one of the worst things for anxiety and depression.

    So, consider making time for friends, family, and other social engagements.

    Put yourself in social situations at least weekly as a part of your self-discipline to help you build community over time, says Stone.

    Transform Your Unhelpful Inner Dialogue And Its Energy

    How To Permanently Feel Less Anxious

    Learning cognitive restructuring techniques can truly work wonders in helping you recognize and re-frame unhelpful dialogue and negative critical thinking patterns. This involves a little preparation being transparent with yourself about what exaggerated perspectives you might ascribe to whats happening when youre feeling stressed and anxious.

    When you open your email inbox and see a flood of requests which require more time and energy you have for that day, dread starts to settle in and the following comes to mind: This is impossible. How can they expect me to be able to do all this? Its completely unreasonable!

    Instantly, many other thoughts that reinforce this line of thinking as well as the emotional energy of your first conscious thought start unravelling. A 4-step process you can engage to calm the eruption is:

  • Catch and notice that first thought you had. What was it? What did you think and/or say to yourself?
  • Recognize that what youre feeling and be in allowance of the initial intensity of whatever those emotions are.
  • Breath deliberately a little more deeply and slowly for a few seconds.
  • State to yourself: Right now Im feeling overwhelmed by this, however maybe I can look at what I can make good progress and headway with as a start from here on.
  • Its definitely worth working with a coach or trained therapist to learn how to tailor re-framing statements which can truly help you calm down.

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    If Someone Has A More Serious Anxiety Problem Avoid Stigmatizing Them

    What can we do for folks with more serious issues? People experiencing things like panic disorder, depression mixed with anxiety, post-traumatic stress, or obsessional thinking may fear that theyre literally going crazy. Helping them may feel beyond your ability.

    You can still be supportive in many ways. When someone is experiencing significant anxiety, its helpful to reassure them that your overall perception of them hasnt changed. Theyre still the same person theyre just suffering a temporary problem situation that has become out of control. Theyre not broken and who they are hasnt changed. To the extent possible, you can help the person stay connected to positive aspects of their identity by participating in or encouraging their interests and hobbies.

    Sometimes, individuals who have chronic anxiety problems arent interested in changing. For example, you might be friends with someone who has agoraphobia or an eating disorder, but their condition is long-term and stable. In these cases, you can be accepting of that person so that they dont feel isolated. Being matter-of-fact about their limitations without excessively shaming them or insisting they should pursue becoming normal is often the best strategy.

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