Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation involves relaxing all the muscles in your body, group by group. To practice, you can start with a few deep breaths.
Then, practice tightening and relaxing each muscle group, starting with your forehead and moving down to your toes.
With practice, you’ll learn to recognize tension and tightness in your muscles and you’ll be able to relax more easily. Each time you practice, however, you should experience a feeling of relaxation sweeping through your body.
Go On A Cleaning Binge
Giving the inside of your pantry a good wipe-down or really getting into the sofa cushions with a vacuum attachment has multiple stress reducing benefits on top of fewer visits from icky vermin: its a project that requires a little planning, but some physical activityboth of which Kissen says can reduce stressand is likely to result in a sense of achievement that lifts your mood. And working mindfully at it can reduce stress even more: one study found that folks who were told to stay gently focused on what they were doing while washing dishes boosted their effect
Am I Anxious Or Just Stressed
We often use the words anxiety and stress interchangeably. Yet despite their similarities, there are important differences between the two.
- Stress is typically defined as a response to an external trigger, and can either be acute or chronic .
- Anxiety, unlike stress, is often triggered internally by excessive thoughts judgments about the past, worries about the future, and so on.
- When left unchecked, both stress and anxiety can escalate into more severe mental health conditions, and anxiety disorders.
- Determining whats going on for you is the first step towards finding relief.
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Youre working on a deadline when your boss pings you. Its 3 pm and he wants to know if you have time to help with a project thats due by 5. You dont, not really you still havent eaten lunch. Its kind of urgent, he explains, apologizing for the late notice. A pit settles in your stomach, and your thoughts begin to race. Of course, you reply. Id be happy to help. Its not like saying no would be any less stressful.
In your head, a voice quickly pipes in to remind you of how poorly you work under pressure. Remember last time, that panic attack? You cant prepare an entire deck in two days, let alone two hours! Imagine how easy this would be for your coworkers. Why cant you be more like them? Face it: youre probably going to be stuck at this job forever.
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Things To Do If You Feel Anxious
Everyone goes through periods of feeling anxious and worried. After all, its a normal human experience. And whether youre dealing with occasional bouts of anxiety or trying to manage excessive worries, doubts, and fears, having tools to help you calm your mind and body can reduce the intensity and duration of these feelings.
Here are nine strategies that can relax your mind, ease your anxiety, and help you regain control of your thoughts so that you can feel better.
How To Manage Your Financial Anxiety And Stress
Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. Its your brains natural reaction to situations it perceives as dangerous. Unfortunately, sustained anxiety that disrupts your sleep and mental health becomes problematic and unhealthy over time.
If you feel anxious too often or for too long, it takes a toll on your brain and body. A mental health professional can help you find coping methods to help lower your anxiety and find balance in your day-to-day life.
If your anxiety stems from financial stress, however, there are steps you can take today to regain control and stop anxious thought patterns.
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The Evolution Of Anxiety
The mismatch between our old brain and our new environment has a significant impact on the amount of chronic stress and anxiety we experience today.
Thousands of years ago, when humans lived in an Immediate Return Environment, stress and anxiety were useful emotions because they helped us take action in the face of immediate problems.
- A lion appears across the plain > you feel stressed > you run away > your stress is relieved.
- A storm rumbles in the distance > you worry about finding shelter > you find shelter > your anxiety is relieved.
- You havent drunk any water today > you feel stressed and dehydrated > you find water > your stress is relieved.
This is how your brain evolved to use worry, anxiety, and stress. Anxiety was an emotion that helped protect humans in an Immediate Return Environment. It was built for solving short-term, acute problems. There was no such thing as chronic stress because there arent really chronic problems in an Immediate Return Environment.
Wild animals rarely experience chronic stress. As Duke University professor Mark Leary put it, A deer may be startled by a loud noise and take off through the forest, but as soon as the threat is gone, the deer immediately calms down and starts grazing. And it doesnt appear to be tied in knots the way that many people are. When you live in an Immediate Return Environment, you only have to worry about acute stressors. Once the threat is gone, the anxiety subsides. 5
What Is The Long
Stress and anxiety can be unpleasant to deal with. They can also have negative effects on your physical health if untreated for long periods of time. While some amount of stress and anxiety in life is expected and shouldnt be cause for concern, its important to recognize when the stress in your life is causing negative consequences. If you feel like your stress and anxiety are becoming unmanageable, seek professional help or ask others to help you find the support you need.
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Learn To Recognize The Signs Of Anxiety
Anxiety disorder is the most common mental health condition in the United States, affecting up to 18% of the population. Knowing the signs of anxiety can help you realize when someone you love is having fearful thoughts or feelings. Symptoms vary from person to person but can be broken into three categories:
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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Find What Relaxes You
There are already things in your life that relax you. You may find it beneficial to make a list of things you enjoy and that help you to relax so you can reference it when symptoms of anxiety arise. When you notice your anxiety rising turn to those activities to help stop symptoms before they escalate.
For example, if you find that a warm bath is relaxing, don’t wait, draw a bath, maybe light some candles or add a few nice scents and get in. Whether it’s a bath, a shower, skipping stones at a park, getting a massage – if it works, do it right away, rather than allowing yourself to become overwhelmed by your anxiety.
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.
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What To Do About It
One of the greatest sources of anxiety in a Delayed Return Environment is the constant uncertainty. There is no guarantee that working hard in school will get you a job. There is no promise that investments will go up in the future. There is no assurance that going on a date will land you a soulmate. Living in a Delayed Return Environment means you are surrounded by uncertainty.
So what can you do? How can you thrive in a Delayed Return Environment that creates so much stress and anxiety?
The first thing you can do is measure something. You cant know for certain how much money you will have in retirement, but you can remove some uncertainty from the situation by measuring how much you save each month. You cant be sure that youll get a job after graduation, but you can track how often you reach out to companies about internships. You cant predict when you find love, but you can pay attention to how many times you introduce yourself to someone new.
The act of measurement takes an unknown quantity and makes it known. When you measure something, you immediately become more certain about the situation. Measurement wont magically solve your problems, but it will clarify the situation, pull you out of the black box of worry and uncertainty, and help you get a grip on what is actually happening.
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.
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Why Are You Experiencing Anxiety
Understanding what is causing you to experience anxiety is the first step to implementing an effective treatment protocol. Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health disorders that share features of excessive fear and anxiety. There are different types of anxiety disorders common disorders that cause anxiety include panic disorder, phobic disorders, generalized anxiety disorder and stress disorders.
These disorders and symptoms have a variety of contributing factors. Hyperthyroidism, excessive caffeine consumption, the use of amphetamines, and heart abnormalities are only a few factors that can be looked at when a person experiences frequent symptoms of anxiety.
Supporting Someone With Anxiety Or Depression
There are ways that you can help someone with anxiety or depression. It may be helpful to:
- let them know if youve noticed a change in their behaviour
- spend time talking about their experiences and let them know youre there to listen without being judgmental
- help them to get information from a website, library or community health centre
- suggest they go to a doctor or health professional, and help them to make an appointment
- offer to go with them to their appointment and follow up with them afterwards
- encourage them to get enough sleep, to exercise and to eat well
- encourage family and friends to invite them out and keep in touch, but dont pressure them to participate in activities
- contact a doctor or hospital if they become a threat to themselves or others.
It is unhelpful to:
- put pressure on them by telling them to snap out of it or get their act together
- stay away or avoid them
- tell them they just need to stay busy or get out more
- pressure them to party more or wipe out how theyre feeling with drugs and alcohol
- assume the problem will just go away.
If you or someone you know needs support, talk to a doctor or other health professional about getting appropriate treatment.
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Whats The Difference Between Stress And Anxiety
Knowing the difference can ensure you get the help you need.
Whats the difference between stress and anxiety?
Theres a fine line between stress and anxiety. Both are emotional responses, but stress is typically caused by an external trigger. The trigger can be short-term, such as a work deadline or a fight with a loved one or long-term, such as being unable to work, discrimination, or chronic illness. People under stress experience mental and physical symptoms, such as irritability, anger, fatigue, muscle pain, digestive troubles, and difficulty sleeping.
Anxiety, on the other hand, is defined by persistent, excessive worries that dont go away even in the absence of a stressor. Anxiety leads to a nearly identical set of symptoms as stress: insomnia, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, muscle tension, and irritability.
Both mild stress and mild anxiety respond well to similar coping mechanisms. Physical activity, a nutritious and varied diet, and good sleep hygiene are a good starting point, but there are other .
Anxiety disorders are common. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 19% of Americans over the age of 18 had an anxiety disorder in the past year, and 31% of Americans will experience an anxiety disorder during their lifetimes.
Anxiety I Thought I Was Just Stressed
Stress and anxiety are related, but not synonymous states. Both are normal, adaptive responses to lifes challenges work, relationships, mortality, to name just a few and share many symptoms, including worry, stomach aches, restlessness, muscle tension, racing thoughts, headaches, sleepless nights, or all of the above.
For these reasons and more, we often use the words anxiety and stress interchangeably. Yet despite their similarities, there are important differences between the two. Determining whats going on for you is the first step towards finding relief.
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Accept The Things You Can’t Change
Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over.
“If your company is going under and is making redundancies, for example, there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Professor Cooper.
“In a situation like that, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.”
Simple Ways To Relieve Stress And Anxiety
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Stress and anxiety are common experiences for most people. In fact, 70% of adults in the United States say they feel stress or anxiety daily.
Here are 16 simple ways to relieve stress and anxiety.
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress.
It might seem contradictory, but putting physical stress on your body through exercise can relieve mental stress.
The benefits are strongest when you exercise regularly. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who dont exercise .
There are a few reasons behind this:
- Stress hormones: Exercise lowers your bodys stress hormones such as cortisol in the long run. It also helps release endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers.
- Sleep: Exercise can also improve your sleep quality, which can be negatively affected by stress and anxiety.
- Confidence: When you exercise regularly, you may feel more competent and confident in your body, which in turn promotes mental wellbeing.
- Try to find an exercise routine or activity you enjoy, such as walking, dancing, rock climbing or yoga.
Activities such as walking or jogging that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups can be particularly stress relieving.
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Listen To Soothing Music
Listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body.
Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as stress hormones.
Some types of classical, Celtic, Native American and Indian music can be particularly soothing, but simply listening to the music you enjoy is effective too .
Nature sounds can also be very calming. This is why theyre often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music.
Learn How To Manage Your Anxious Thoughts
Anxiety doesn’t come out of the blue. When you have anxiety attacks, it’s often because your mind tends to spiral into negative thoughts – often without your control. Sometimes you can control this anxiety by keeping these thoughts at bay and learning to dismiss triggers that cause you anxiety.
For many, this is easier said than done. But there are many different strategies you can try that may be effective. These include:
A Question Checklist
When you feel anxious, have a checklist on hand of questions to ask yourself about that anxiety experience. The longer the checklist, the more you’ll find that your thoughts become more realistic. Questions that you can use include:
- Is there a reason to believe something is wrong?
- What evidence is there that something is wrong?
- Is there a chance I’m blowing this out of proportion?
Affirmations not for everyone, but those that do use them find them to be very beneficial. Affirmations are things that you say to yourself to make yourself feel better. These include:
- I’m okay. This is just anxiety and I will get passed this .
- I have a great life and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
- My anxiety won’t control me.
Getting Used to Physical Symptoms
The latter is known as “exposure therapy” and there are countless ways to create exercises that will habituate you to your panic attack triggers.
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