Play With Your Pet To Relieve Stress And Anxiety
Pet interaction is known for releasing oxytocin, a chemical to promote a positive mood. Moreover, pets give a sense of love and companionship that reduces anxiety to a great level. Hanging out or going out on a walk with them is just a happy time for both! They are your constant partners in every mood and indeed the best friend.
The Psychobiological Mediators Of Social Support
Investigators have explored the ways in which social support may enhance mental and physical health. It has been argued that rich social networks may reduce the rate at which individuals engage in risky behaviors, prevent negative appraisals, and increase treatment adherence. In general, resilient or hardy individuals are thought to use active coping mechanisms when dealing with stressful life situations. Using a time lag model for the prediction of depression, Holohan, et al., found that high social support predicted less subsequent depression in patients with acute and chronic cardiac illness and that this relationship was partly mediated by the use of an active coping style. Importantly, in this cohort, social support preceded and facilitated the use of active coping mechanisms.
In human studies, low social support has been associated with physiological and neuroendocrine indices of heightened stress reactivity, including elevated heart rate, increased blood pressure, and exaggerated cardiovascular and neuroendocrine responses to laboratory stressors. For example, in laboratory studies mental arithmetic and public speaking tasks, cause significantly smaller rises in heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol among subjects supported by another person compared to subjects who are alone. These findings are consistent with the results of a study conducted by Steptoe, et al., who reported an overall increased noradrenergic and HPA reactivity in lonely individuals.
Keep Outside In Mind For Less Stress
Spending time in nature can help relieve stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and boost feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Whatever you call it forest bathing, ecotherapy, mindfulness in nature, green time or the wilderness cure — humans evolved in the great outdoors, and your brain benefits from a journey back to nature.
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Cut Out Things That Add To Your Stress
Sometimes, the best way to reduce your stress is to cut something out of your life. Get rid of the things that are adding to your stress so you can experience more peace.
Watching the news, being constantly connected to your digital devices, drinking alcohol, and consuming too much caffeine are just a few of the things that may add more stress to your life. Making some changes to your daily habits could be instrumental in helping you feel better.
Take Small Steps Toward Reducing Everyday Anxiety
Everyone worries once in a while. Its a common, warranted, sometimes even healthy thing to do. But how much worrying is too much worrying? Generalized Anxiety Disorder affects 6.8 million adults in the United States, and is characterized by excessive, persistent worry about a multitude of different things. Symptoms range from moderate to severe and include restlessness, irritability, fatigue, confusion and trouble sleeping.
But you dont need to be diagnosed with GAD to experience anxiety and worry. Many people encounter a day-to-day anxiety that doesnt warrant an anxiety disorder diagnosis. For these people, anxiety can still have a negative effect on their social and professional lives, and can bring on a multitude of physical and emotional issues. And while there are many ways to treat anxiety, including therapy and medication, there are also little things that can be done to help ease an anxious mind. Here are four things to try.
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Fomi Facial Gel Bead Eye Mask
While a relaxing facial may not always be in the budget, this FOMI Facial Gel Bead Eye Mask is a more affordable alternative. Pop it into the microwave and use it to relax before bed, or even when taking a breather during the day.
You can also freeze the mask and use it to help relieve sinus pressure, muscle pain, and headaches. Personal tip: You can do this on an even tighter budget by freezing a washcloth and placing it over your eyes. I do this for headaches frequently, and its so refreshing.
Spend Time With Friends And Family
Social support from friends and family can help you get through stressful times.
Being part of a friend network gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth, which can help you in tough times.
One study found that for women in particular, spending time with friends and children helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. This effect is called tend and befriend, and is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response .
Keep in mind that both men and women benefit from friendship.
Another study found that men and women with the fewest social connections were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety .
Having strong social ties may help you get through stressful times and lower your risk of anxiety.
Its hard to feel anxious when youre laughing. Its good for your health, and there are a few ways it may help relieve stress:
- Relieving your stress response.
- Relieving tension by relaxing your muscles.
In the long term, laughter can also help improve your immune system and mood.
A study among people with cancer found that people in the laughter intervention group experienced more stress relief than those who were simply distracted (
Try watching a funny TV show or hanging out with friends who make you laugh.
Find the humor in everyday life, spend time with funny friends or watch a comedy show to help relieve stress.
Not all stressors are within your control, but some are.
One way to do this may be to say no more often.
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Stress Busters: 4 Integrative Treatments
Nearly half of women report a rise in stress levels over the past five years. And while women and men tend to cope with stress differently, we know that chronic stress contributes to a range of health problems in both sexes, including mental health disorders, heart disease and obesity.
Integrative treatments like meditation and acupuncture can help reduce stress and related problems. These techniques are gaining mainstream acceptance as research demonstrates their positive health effects.
Managing stress calls for addressing the mind as well as the body, since both the brain and body contribute to symptoms.
Take A Mental Health Day
Tracking your moods can also allow you to plan ahead for low days. For example, your mental state may fluctuate with hormonal changes throughout your cycle, so if you know you typically feel extra anxious just before your period, you can begin to anticipate certain waves of emotions and inform those around you, says Colangelo. She suggests planning a Zoom with friends, or taking a mental health day if you can, just to relax.
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How Can I Identify The Signs Of Stress
Everyone experiences stress. However, when it is affecting your life, health and wellbeing, it is important to tackle it as soon as possible, and while stress affects everyone differently, there are common signs and symptoms you can look out for:15
- feelings of constant worry or anxiety
- feelings of being overwhelmed
7. Dont be too hard on yourself
- Try to keep things in perspective.
- Remember that having a bad day is a universal human experience
- When your inner critic or an outer critic finds faults, try and find truth and exception to what is being said
- If you stumble or feel you have failed, dont beat yourself up
- Act as if you were your own best friend: be kind and supportive
- Take a few minutes each day to appreciate yourself
Now, we would like to move on to a more detailed look at the causes and effects of stress. In this section we will focus on the effects prolonged stress has on your body, behaviour and emotions, and look at key causes such as relationships, money, work, alcohol and drug use.
What Do Fear And Anxiety Feel Like
When you feel frightened or seriously anxious, your mind and body work very quickly. These are some of the things that might happen:
- Your heart beats very fast maybe it feels irregular
- You breathe very fast
- You have hot and cold sweats
- You get a dry mouth
- You get very tense muscles
These things occur because your body, sensing fear, is preparing you for an emergency, so it makes your blood flow to the muscles, increases blood sugar, and gives you the mental ability to focus on the thing that your body perceives as a threat.
With anxiety, in the longer term, you may have some of the above symptoms as well as a more nagging sense of fear, and you may get irritable, have trouble sleeping, develop headaches, or have trouble getting on with work and planning for the future you might have problems having sex, and might lose self-confidence.
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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.
Tip : Talk About Your Worries
It may seem like a simplistic solution, but talking face to face with a trusted friend or family membersomeone who will listen to you without judging, criticizing, or continually being distractedis one of the most effective ways to calm your nervous system and diffuse anxiety. When your worries start spiraling, talking them over can make them seem far less threatening.
Keeping worries to yourself only causes them to build up until they seem overwhelming. But saying them out loud can often help you to make sense of what youre feeling and put things in perspective. If your fears are unwarranted, verbalizing them can expose them for what they areneedless worries. And if your fears are justified, sharing them with someone else can produce solutions that you may not have thought of alone.
Build a strong support system. Human beings are social creatures. Were not meant to live in isolation. But a strong support system doesnt necessarily mean a vast network of friends. Dont underestimate the benefit of a few people you can trust and count on to be there for you. And if you dont feel that you have anyone to confide in, its never too late to build new friendships.
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Nutritional Strategies To Ease Anxiety
- By Uma Naidoo, MD, Contributor
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. Thats 40 million adults18% of the populationwho struggle with anxiety. Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand, with about half of those with depression also experiencing anxiety.
Specific therapies and medications can help relieve the burden of anxiety, yet only about a third of people suffering from this condition seek treatment. In my practice, part of what I discuss when explaining treatment options is the important role of diet in helping to manage anxiety.
In addition to healthy guidelines such as eating a balanced diet, drinking enough water to stay hydrated, and limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine, there are many other dietary considerations that can help relieve anxiety. For example, complex carbohydrates are metabolized more slowly and therefore help maintain a more even blood sugar level, which creates a calmer feeling.
A diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits is a healthier option than eating a lot of simple carbohydrates found in processed foods. When you eat is also important. Dont skip meals. Doing so may result in drops in blood sugar that cause you to feel jittery, which may worsen underlying anxiety.
The Right Supplement Might Help Quell Stress And Anxiety
Most of us live with a low-simmering level of stress from trying to juggle work and family responsibilities to navigating sudden problems, such as a job loss or health scare. And now, we are all experiencing added stress from the anxiety and unknowns of living in the age of COVID-19. A May 2020 survey by the American Psychological Association found not surprisingly that stress about work and the economy has increased over the past year, especially among parents.
Elevated stress hormones, especially cortisol, can increase inflammation, reduce immunity, and raise the risk for high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack. In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, chronic stress can negatively impact every aspect of your health and contribute to a wide range of problems that include:
Stress is a problem we clearly need to address, but what can we do? The good news is that there are numerous strategies that have been shown to be effective for relieving stress, including eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, talking to friends or a mental health professional, and engaging in relaxation techniques and meditation, just to name a few.
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Achieving Better Mental Health Through Diet
Be sure to talk to your doctor if your anxiety symptoms are severe or last more than two weeks. But even if your doctor recommends medication or therapy for anxiety, it is still worth asking whether you might also have some success by adjusting your diet. While nutritional psychiatry is not a substitute for other treatments, the relationship between food, mood, and anxiety is garnering more and more attention. There is a growing body of evidence, and more research is needed to fully understand the role of nutritional psychiatry, or as I prefer to call it, Psycho-Nutrition.
Other Types Of Relaxation Techniques
Many de-stressing therapies have common goals. They aim to help you pay attention to your body and focus on aspects of your breathing or other exercises that will lower your blood pressure and increase feelings of well-being. You can try:
- Biofeedback, which measures body functions and helps you learn to control them.
- Self-hypnosis, in which a practitioner teaches you to relax when you hear a phrase or get a nonspoken cue.
- Massage therapy, which can include Swedish, sports, Shiatsu, or other types of massage.
- Music therapy, when a therapist uses music to accomplish health goals.
- Art therapy, which uses art to enhance your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
- Aromatherapy, or using essential oils as a type of treatment.
- Hydrotherapy, which can include soaking, compresses, or even steam baths.
While relaxation practices are mostly safe for heathy people, there have been reports of negative impacts, such as increased stress, bad thoughts, or a fear of losing control. Talk to your doctor about what practice might be best for you, depending on the relaxation technique you want to try and your health.
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Fill Your Plate With Anti
Science is discovering more about the gut-brain connection. Researchers often refer to the belly as the second brain, since about 95% of serotonin receptors are found in the lining of the gut. Science shows that foods containing certain vitamins and minerals may help reduce anxiety, so when youre thinking about natural ways to help anxiety, consider filling up on these:
- Leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, which are rich in magnesium. Evidence suggests that magnesium may have a beneficial effect on anxiety.
- Oysters, liver, and egg yolks contain the mineral zinc, which has been linked to lower anxiety.
- Wild Alaskan salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may reduce anxiety.
- Turkey contains an amino acid called tryptophan, which the body needs to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin that helps regulate sleep and mood.
- Berries, apples, prunes, cherries, plums, broccoli, beets, and spices like ginger and turmeric are all high in antioxidants. Anxiety is thought to be correlated with lower levels. Artichokes and asparagus, which is widely used in Chinese medicine, are known for their anti-anxiety properties.
If you have anxiety, its a good idea to limit caffeine and alcohol both of which can aggravate symptoms.
Exercise For Stress And Anxiety
The physical benefits of exercise improving physical condition and fighting disease have long been established, and physicians always encourage staying physically active.
Exercise is also considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress. Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.
When stress affects the brain, with its many nerve connections, the rest of the body feels the impact as well. Or, if your body feels better, so does your mind. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.
Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. About five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects.
Relationship of Exercise to Anxiety Disorders
Stress and anxiety are a normal part of life, but anxiety disorders, which affect 40 million adults, are the most common psychiatric illnesses in the U.S. The benefits of exercise may well extend beyond stress relief to improving anxiety and related disorders.
Exercise as Part of Therapy
Resources – ADAA Member Experts
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