Life is stressful, period. There are no buts or ifs – this fast-moving, chaotic and ever-changing pace of everyday life can slowly build up and become stressful and can cause anxiety.
There’s no going around the fact that this constant pressure of pursuing the perfect life is daunting and it can drag down even the best of us. Some will say, it’s a love-hate relationship between stress and us.
Some would say, some sort of stress and anxiety are driving forces required to achieve success. Stress can push you to achieve goals that you thought were impossible, it can make you better at your work and push boundaries so you can aim higher. Anxiety helps you deal with danger and makes you self-aware to stay prepared and organized. So, it’s not all that bad, right? Wrong.
This slow constant push to reach higher and higher can take us down faster than we think. And, that’s why it’s more than necessary to take some time from our daily grind and practice self-care for the mind and body to minimize the negative effects of stress and anxiety.
It’s all about taking control of your mind and body and leverage stress and anxiety to your benefit. Read on below to find out more about how to control them.
We often tend to get a cold beer or a glass of wine to ‘destress’ and relax from a hectic schedule. True, a drink or two can take the edge off of anxiety. But once the initial feeling of thrill and euphoria is gone, anxiety can return ten-fold in strength. There’s a high chance of becoming alcohol dependent if one relies on it to fight off anxiety on an occasional basis.
Avoid Caffeine And Nicotine
Again, a coffee or a cigarette are often used as destressors for those who indulge. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants. Rather than lowering the stress level, they can have the opposite effect. Everyone has their own level of tolerance for caffeine and too much of it can make anyone jittery and anxious.
Instead of caffeinated drinks or smoking, swap those habits for drinking healthy herbal teas and diluted natural fruit juices instead, even plain water is more than fine as a hydrated body can combat stress better.
It cannot be stressed enough how important exercise is to fight stress in our daily lives. Physical exercise releases dopamine and serotonin – these brain chemicals help improve mood and help bring a sense of well-being. Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly experience less anxiety compared to people who don’t exercise.
Exercise can have an immediate effect on the body to relieve stress, it lowers the body’s stress hormone called cortisol and releases endorphins – the happy hormone. Regular exercise will result in a lowering the base cortisol level in your bloodstream.
Another important factor that combats stress successfully is a good night’s sleep. And, here again, exercise can improve your sleep quality to start off your day refreshed and energized.
Physical activity can be anything from walking, running, yoga, rock climbing to even dancing. Cardio exercises like brisk walking, jogging, and running are particularly helpful in reducing chronic stress – not to mention the fresh air is calming and de stressing.
If you are thinking of taking up running, you will need a pair of good running shoes that meet your physical conditions. You can learn more by reading up on reviews of shoes and then making the decision best suited to your needs.
Get More Sleep
When we say get more sleep, we mean to get more good quality REM sleep at night. Make sleeping at night a priority. Make sure you are not on your phone or binging on Netflix late nights. Screen lights from devices can mimic daylight and send the wrong signals to your brain about resting period. Screen Time can actually keep you from falling asleep. Try reading a good ol’ book to help you read.
It’s also very important to have a sleeping routine and go to sleep at the same time every day. Keep your room cool and dark to get an optimal snooze. Another good habit is not to have a large meal or caffeine or nicotine for at least 4 hours before bedtime
You can also write down your thoughts and worries before you hit the bed. Writing can help you handle stress, aside from writing about all that’s making you anxious, be sure to emphasize all the things in life you are grateful for and don’t forget to focus on all things positive.
Get Essential Oils
Make your sense of smell an ally in combating stress and anxiety. Soothing essential oils are proven to reduce stress. . You can also put a few drops of essential oil on your pillowcases to get better sleep.
Some more well-known and effective scents you can use are lavender, neroli, sandalwood, ylang-ylang, orange blossom, roman chamomile, geranium, bergamot, rose and frankincense.
Current daily stressors along with worrying about a secured future are common anxiety and stress inducing thoughts. The main reason for meditation is to remove those turbulent disorganized thoughts racing in your mind and give every thought its place to achieve calmness. And, mindfulness is the practice to attach yourself to the present moment to the fullest. When you combine these two practices, you come up with one of the most effective mind exercises to relieve stress and anxiety.
If meditation is not your thing, you can also increase mindfulness through mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based yoga.
Yoga’s main aim is to sync your mind and body and it does this through body and breath awareness. Yoga can also enhance mood and act as an antidepressant.
You can also try deep breathing exercises such as belly breathing, abdominal breathing, and paced respiration. Deep breathing can slow down your heart rate to make you feel calm.
Spend Time With Your Loved Ones
Tough times can usher in loneliness and a low sense of self-worth. In these times, you need to spend time with your loved ones, it can be your family, friends, partners or even your pet. It’s important to find a sense of belonging.
Your body physically reacts when you are spending time with people you love, your brain releases oxytocin and this effect is called ‘tend and befriend’, an opposite response to ‘fight and flight’.
Laughing can also naturally relieve tension by relaxing your muscles and in the long term, it can strengthen your immune system.
And, there you have it – seven remedies that can help manage stress and reduce anxiety. Our lives are intertwined with stress and anxiety and there’s no point in running away from it. Stress and anxiety are always going to be there and we need to learn how to fight it for our own well-being.