Do you know that feeling of excessive worrying, agitation, and restlessness?
That’s anxiety, and it is our body’s way of responding to stress.
It is normal to feel anxious from time to time, and it is something that most people experience at least a few times throughout their lives.
To make it easier to go through these experiences, here are nine tips to deal with anxiety and stress:
1. Figure out what triggers your anxiety
We often notice the physical symptoms of anxiety, yet we are not sure what caused it. Analyze your thoughts and feelings, and try to find the root of your worries. Is it your job? Or maybe your family? Do you only feel this in certain situations? Analyze the moments when you felt anxious and try to identify a pattern.
2. Practice deep breathing
Deep breathing exercises are very effective for calming anxiety. Whenever you feel anxious, try this simple exercise: breathe in while mentally counting to 4 or 5, then breathe out while doing the same thing. Repeat this for a few minutes. It will help you even your breath, slow your heart rate, and, as a consequence, you will calm down.
3. Write down your thoughts
Writing things down can help you see things from a fresh and clear perspective. Doing this will not only help you calm down, but it will also help you prevent anxiety attacks from happening.
I recommend including journaling in your daily routine, even if you only write a few lines a day. Becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings will help you keep track of what’s bothering you, and you will be able to see things from a more objective angle.
4. Include meditation in your daily routine
Meditation is a simple practice that is accessible to everyone. All you need are some comfortable clothes and a quiet place where no one will disturb you. Starting the day with a short meditation can make you feel calm and focused for the rest of the day.
To maximize its benefits, it is important to practice it regularly, so try to include it in your daily routine, preferably in the morning.
5. Keep your body healthy
Your physical health is extremely important for your mental well-being. Therefore, exercise regularly, do not skip any meals, and try to eat clean. These will not only benefit our health but exercise and healthy food will also boost our mood. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and added sugar.
Moreover, it’s essential to get enough sleep, as being tired can increase our stress and anxiety. People who deal with anxiety might even feel the need for additional sleep hours.
6. Schedule your worry time
Don’t let worries occupy all your time and prevent you from doing other things. Instead of trying to permanently avoid negative thoughts, set a specific time of the day when you allow your mind to analyze your worries.
Scheduled worry time is a cognitive-behavioral therapy, and it can considerably reduce negative thoughts and help you deal with anxiety.
It can be done in three steps:
- Worry awareness: noticing when you experience worrisome thoughts.
- Worry delay: acknowledging the negative thoughts and putting them aside for a certain period.
- Worry time: allowing those thoughts to come back at the scheduled time and analyzing them.
7. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is the state of being aware of the present moment. It can be achieved through different techniques, such as meditation or breathing exercises. Anchoring yourself in the present moment can help you focus and let go of the negative thoughts. The more you practice it, the easier it will be to achieve this state and to let go of unwanted emotions. So, take a deep breath, relax, and notice the things around you.
8. Connect with others
Social support is priceless. Remember that whatever you are feeling, you don’t need to go through this alone. Talk to your family, friends, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you feel the need to.
Furthermore, spending time with others will give you a sense of belonging that will make it easier for you to go through tough times. In fact, studies show that spending time with friends helps release oxytocin.
9. Be kind to yourself
Last but not least, don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t criticize yourself for being vulnerable, sensitive, or confused. It’s part of our human nature to experience different emotions. Feeling guilty or angry about feeling anxious will only make things worse. Therefore, stop the self-judgment and be kind to yourself.
How can you do that?
Here are some tips:
- Learn to accept the situation. Accept that you feel a certain way instead of denying it, then try to find the best way to move past that emotion.
- Have some self-compassion. Acknowledge the fact that you are doing your best and treat yourself with kindness. Give yourself time to do activities that make you feel happy and relaxed, such as going for a walk or taking a bubble bath.
Remember that the process of dealing with stress and anxiety begins with self-love. Take care of yourself, and don’t deny your feelings. It’s okay to feel down from time to time, and your mental and physical health should be a priority in your life.
This article was meant as a general guide for people who experience occasional anxiety. If you are concerned about your mental health, or if these strategies do not work for you, do not hesitate to seek professional help.
What are your strategies for coping with stress and anxiety? Let me know in the comments below.