Who hasn’t occasionally had feelings of stress, anxiety, and nervousness?
A little here and there is an accepted part of modern life. But when they throw a person off balance they can wreak havoc in the mind and body. Often disrupting our quality of life. Without a plan on how to manage stress in life we can end up suffering chronically triggering a host of other health problems. Sleep disturbance, frequent headaches, neck pain, fainting, heart problems, gastrointestinal problems, and trouble with concentration are some of the common problems that one might suffer because of increased stress and anxiety.
If you are wondering about how to deal with stress and anxiety, here are various tips you can adopt in your everyday life.
People suffering with recurring stress and anxiety usually do not give a thought on what’s triggering or causing them. If you identify the triggers, you can potentially counteract them and prevent going into downward spiral of depression and misery. Triggers can be psychological or physical. Here is a rundown on a list of psychological and physical triggers that might be pulling you into stress and anxiety.
Psychological triggers can be classified into external and internal.
Neuro-linguistic programming is called as pseudoscience by many. But a good deal of research has been done through the years to prove its effectiveness in treating anxiety and stress.
Even doctors and therapists suggest NLP techniques to their patients as a part of psychotherapy treatment. NLP is directed towards rewiring your brain and breaking the habits of falling back into stress and anxiety. While there are more than 50 NLP techniques, below are two ways to alleviate stress and anxiety.
Anchoring is reassessing a state of mind through triggering a desired internal response by consciously performing an external or internal act. For example, Tony Robbins prepares himself to be positive before his talks with a gentle punch on both sides on his chest. The gentle punch here is the stimulus or anchor. You can create your own anchors to quickly move out of stress and anxiety and move into a relaxed, happy, positive and energetic state. Anchors can be your favorite songs, smell of food, words, gestures etc. Click here to know more about anchoring.
Focusing hard on something without the awareness of body can create stress. This is linked to use of foveal vision which arouses sympathetic nervous system to create adrenaline and cortisol- stress hormone. Looking at your phone, laptop, or at a magazine intensely for a long time can produce this effect in the body. The opposite to foveal vision is peripheral vision which is connected to parasympathetic nervous system. It involves casual gazing at moving and stationary things surrounding you without trying to make sense of them. These might be people, trees, roads, objects, and anything that doesn’t demand tunnel vision.
Choose 2 to 3 techniques that work best for you and stick with them for at least 40 days to imprint them in your mind.
If you are mired in a mindset to control everything and expect the life events to happen just as you want, you become vulnerable to move easily into anxious and stressful states. To do away with this, realize and accept that in life certain challenges and constraints are irrepressible. And they need to be dealt with patience and wisdom.
One of the symptoms of stress and anxiety is shortness of breath. It leads to tensing of muscles and makes the body feel tired. Deep breathing reverses this by increasing the level of oxygen in the body. To try deep breathing, slowly exhale until your belly contracts fully and breathe in slowly until the lower belly and chest fill in. Hold on for a 5 to 10 seconds and gradually exhale. Repeat this 8 to 10 times.
When you write down, it gives you a broader perspective on how to overcome it. This is similar to recording your daily events or writing a journal which is considered to be therapeutic.
You might have heard about counting down from 100 to 1 when having trouble falling asleep. To relieve stress and anxiety, try counting from 20 to 1. It will divert your mind’s attention and make you calmer. Repeat this one or more times to get into a normal state.
Some experts advocate for alone time to relax and become stress-free but it doesn’t work all the time. Even people who stay isolated suffer from stress and anxiety due to other problems such as low self-esteem. Socializing more with your friends and family comforts you, helps you forget your worries, and boosts happiness.
In our everyday life, often we think without acknowledging our thoughts. It’s a constant run of thoughts whose start and end times are instantaneous and go unwatched. Try to keep a watch on thoughts as they arise. When you are successful in doing so, you are mindful and actually living in the present moment. This almost immediately calms and soothes the whole body and keeps you grounded in intense situations.
According to National Institute of Mental Health, dietary factors play a role in deciding the level of stress and anxiety in the body. Eating complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and adequate quantity of healthy fats is the backbone of a good diet plan. Also, along with eating the right foods, eating at right times of the day is also important to keep the normal biological cycle going. This includes functioning of thyroid and pituitary gland that control the secretion of stress hormones.
While you pick foods, make sure to include ones that have vitamins including B12, C, B2, B1, B5, B6, folic acid, biotin, magnesium and zinc.
Exercises are natural painkillers. They stimulate the brain to produce endorphins that reduce stress in the body and induce positivity. Yoga, Tai Chi, Kickboxing, Pilates, Martial arts, and Jogging are excellent for keeping the body in balance and energetic.
There are natural herbs that work wonders when it comes to promoting calmness. From ancient times, these have been used extensively in natural anxiety treatment. Herbs soothe and relax the central nervous system to create a healthy mood. Some of the herbs you can try are Holy Basil, Skullcaps, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, and Kava.
Stress and anxiety can ruin your life if you let them to. So don’t. Take control on how you deal with stress and anxiety. It is always best to stick to natural treatments rather than seeking quick relief from medications. Following through the above tips for even a week can make a real difference in how you manage stress and live a calm and balanced life.
Matt is a trained and licenced Mindfulness teacher and Stress and Anxiety Reduction Counsellor operating in and around the Peterborough area. After overcoming his own stress and anxiety he's found his purpose teaching others to do the same.
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