By now, everyone knows how important it is to keep one’s stress levels under control. But that’s often much easier said than done, especially these days. When you can eliminate the stressors in your life altogether, that’s great. However, it’s just as essential to have effective coping mechanisms in place for the times avoiding stress just isn’t possible.
You don’t necessarily have to suffer from clinical anxiety or panic disorder to benefit from the ability to keep stress-related anxiety and worry at bay. The following are some terrific strategies that can help anyone live a calmer, healthier life.
Gain some perspective
Anxiety has a way of distorting your thoughts, especially when you’re already really stressed out about something in particular. Even small challenges and obstacles can feel like the end of the world, so it’s crucial to consciously reassess situations rationally.
If you feel a situation starting to get the best of you, step back. Breathe, count to ten, and ask yourself whether the problem is as serious as it feels. Then, whether the answer is “yes” or “no”, take a time out to decompress. Even dire situations are easier to approach from a calm, stable place.
It’s also important to accept that you can’t control everything. When it comes to stressful situations in life, be proactive and fix what you can. But, stay sane by taking a few steps back from the things you can’t fix. And aim for simply doing your best, instead of deciding nothing but perfection will do.
Prioritize diet and exercise
Eating right and exercising are two of the most important things anyone can do for themselves, whether they struggle with chronic stress and anxiety or not. A healthy mind starts with a healthy body, and a healthy body requires proper maintenance and nourishment to function at its very best.
If you’re not already doing it, incorporate at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise into your schedule five days a week. You don’t have to be hitting the gym and pumping iron until you feel like you’re about to pass out for what you’re doing to count as exercise. Walking, dancing, light housework, and pretty much anything that gets you up and moving counts as exercise.
As far as your diet goes, there’s nothing wrong with the occasional treat. However, you’ll want to revamp your habits so that most of what you eat is healthy, wholesome, and adequately nourishing. Think lean protein, whole grains, plenty of fresh produce, and lots of water. You’ll also want to limit your consumption of alcohol and caffeine, especially if you’ve been feeling anxious, as they’re known triggers.
Identify your personal triggers
Some triggers – like alcohol and caffeine – can exacerbate anxiety for just about anyone, but others will be unique to you. It’s worthwhile to figure out what those triggers are for you. Common examples include specific work situations, financial worries, and family responsibilities.
Consider starting a personal journal that you write in daily (or close to it). Use it to explore the feelings and emotions you experience, making a concentrated effort to understand what causes or intensifies each one. Eventually, you’ll see patterns emerge as far as things that trigger sadness, anger, anxiety, or stress. Then, you can use what you’ve learned to better manage those feelings in the future.
The same goes for positive emotions like happiness, joy, peace, or gratitude. What activities, people, or settings do you associate with feeling good? Is it possible to incorporate these things into your life to a greater degree, so you feel that way more often?
Create a daily stress management habit
It is possible to rewire your brain so that it’s second nature to shut down anxious thought patterns and other reactions to stress before they spiral out of control and overwhelm you. It starts with cultivating positive daily habits one step, choice, and decision at a time.
Consider signing up for a web-based program like UnwindingAnxiety.com that’s specially designed to simplify the process of keeping anxiety under control. You’ll gain instant access to helpful resources like video lessons, support communities, journaling tools, and more that will help you diffuse stress reactions and start living the life you truly deserve. Get started today!