Stress is woven into our daily life, despite the fact that we live in almost ideal conditions compared to those a hundred years ago. Clean water, food, affordable education, antibiotics, robots, internet, IKEA. Western society has a very comfortable life, but for some reason, it seems that we are experiencing more and more stress.
What are the signs of stress? Since there are a lot of them, I’ll point out the most common:
- restless sleep;
- muscle tremor (eye, cheek, corner of the mouth twitch, fingers tremble);
- binge-watching or binge-gaming;
- persistent desire to sleep and use substances that help change consciousness, such as alcohol;
- digestion problems.
In this article, you will find the best 10 tips to manage stress and anxiety that only psychotherapists know about.
1. Relax Your Body
Yes, it is better to start with the body. The mind will not be able to switch to anything else and rest if the body is in tension. In stress, all muscles contract, it is difficult to relax them. Try to vent this energy. If you are angry, beat a pillow or break a plate (just don’t hurt anyone), if you are scared – try to breathe evenly, so that the inhalation and exhalation are approximately the same in duration. Massage your shoulders. Wrap yourself up in a blanket. Perhaps you are just hungry? Grab something sweet or whatever you like. In short, take care of your body.
2. Don’t Exaggerate
Sometimes we have to cope with several problems at the same time. In this situation, stress increases, and difficulties, each of which might be simple separately, seem like complex complexity. Don’t try to deal with everything at once. Set your priorities. You can organize the problems you face as a plan, adding possible solutions. Dividing a bunch of problems into small, well-defined tasks will help you manage stress and anxiety.
3. Work out
Even if you don’t feel like exercising when stressed, try to do at least 10-15-minute workouts. Firstly, it will help to divert attention, and secondly, while training, a large number of endorphins are released, which help you feel better. This is what is needed when you are getting through. Go to the gym or pool, take a walk, do chores or jump rope. In short, get rid of mental stress and anxiety with physical activity.
4. Put Problem on Hold
When you are angry or feel that you no longer feel anything, this is a tell-tale sign that it’s time to put off the task for later. I know, switching to something else, especially when a problem is very annoying, can be pretty difficult. However, try to get some rest. If you want to manage stress, you need an internal source of strength, which you don’t have when you are limp with fatigue. If you continue forcing yourself to deal with issues when your battery is dead, you take a loan from yourself, which you may have to repay by having a nervous breakdown.
5. Meet Your Friends
The support of loved ones is one of the best ways to manage stress and anxiety. Meet someone you enjoy being around. Share your feelings, and ask for help.
Although everyone probably already knows this, I’ll repeat that hugging and cuddling reduce stress. In a word, don’t be left alone with your problems. Don’t turn off your phone or ignore the attention of friends. Avoid thoughts of hiding from others. Once again – live communication is a sure remedy against stress. Getting away from people only makes the situation worse.
6. Look for Something That Makes You Happy
When we experience negative emotions, our body is tense and the brain can’t get rid of obsessive thoughts. In such a situation, it’s extremely difficult to name at least one thing that could bring you joy. Make an effort though. Our brain easily falls into the darkness of hopelessness where there is no vitality, no motivation. There is no future at all. To avoid this, you need to make an effort to find something that can cheer you up. Make a list of enjoyable things to do to help you manage stress and anxiety. You can include in this list a bubble bath, herbal tea, a chocolate bar, or a hobby. Whatever makes you a little bit happier.
7. Write Down Your Thoughts and Feelings
Try to write paper notes to express your thoughts and feelings. It makes clear what is happening to you right now, which can help avoid any hasty decisions. It also makes stress less intense, so you can easier cope with it. With the help of such notes, you will become calmer and more confident in yourself. In this article, I explain in detail how to deal with yourself and your feeling.
8. Follow the Daily Routine
Stick to your daily routine. Make the bed in the morning, sort out the mail, change your clothes. Go to bed on time, even if it’s hard to fall asleep. Don’t stare at your smartphone screen before going to bed. It is better to take a walk or read a book. While getting through bad times, we can forget to do usual things, which brings even more stress into our lives. Many people even forget about hygiene. Don’t do that. Acute stress sucks your energy out, so you may have a temptation to stop brushing your teeth and taking a shower. However, hygiene is one of the signs of mental health. Don’t let stress destroy your mind and body.
9. Notice What’s Going on Around You
Notice what is happening in the real world. What is the weather right now? What color is the passerby’s hat? What does your hand smell like? What does the food you eat taste like? To manage stress and anxiety, you need to be in a constant contact with reality. Try to avoid binge-watching or scrolling your social feed all day long. Although it may help you to escape from the unpleasant reality, it brings only temporary relief. In the long run such distracting behavior aggravates the problem. Accepting reality for what it is, we learn to deal with it and address problems.
10. You Are Not Alone in a Difficult Situation
In a challenging situation, we often try to cheer ourselves up with affirmation that there are many people in the world who suffer more compared to us. It doesn’t help at all, because such thoughts devalue your own feelings. Admit that you are in stress. From time to time, each of us has to get over the difficulties, and this is ok. It would be desirable to avoid illnesses, fights, break-ups, but, unfortunately, all these things sometimes happen. You are definitely not the only one who has to deal with stress. This understanding helps to stop condemning yourself. Release some energy to take care of oneself and ask for help if necessary.
I can’t promise that everything will be perfect. But I know for sure that you’ll overcome this challenge.