How to Deal with Stress and Anxiety. Five Ideas that Work.

Dealing with stress at home or work?  Looking for a way to manage it? Of course you are. Here are five easy methods that will show you how to deal with stress and anxiety no matter where you are. 

 

Everybody deals with stress and anxiety. I struggled with stress for years without recognizing the symptoms. Work was (and still is) crazy. My family was (and is) growing. Pressure and deadlines are commonplace for me. Finally, after doing some research and gaining insight into my struggles, I learned how to deal with stress and get my life back.

I still have stress. Don’t get me wrong. But now I recognize it, anticipate it and can manage it with different methods.

Stress and anxiety can be dangerous if not treated over the long term. Don’t ignore the symptoms.

Common Symptoms of Stress and Anxiety

It all starts with awareness. Be conscious of what you’re feeling and when you feel it. Stress can be managed. Here are some common symptoms to look for;

  • Recurring headaches
  • Tight or tense muscles
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Short of breath
  • Stomach problems
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Unable to sleep, or restless sleep
  • Sweating
  • Lack of appetite
  • Feeling of being trapped
  • Nervous at social settings
  • Mental cloudiness
  • Irrational anger

If you experience any of these symptoms you are likely suffering from stress. The good news is stress can be treated. Here are five simple ways to control your stress and anxiety today.

 

1. Manage Stress by Changing your Mindset

Try not to take yourself too seriously. Try not to take your life too seriously. Things happen to us everyday.

By changing my mindset decided how I was going to approach a particular problem or event. I made a choice to be more positive, no matter what came my way.

Ask yourself these two simple questions;

What can I control? 

What is outside of my control?

I found myself getting stressed over things that were outside of my control. I realized this made no sense and was a total waste of mind-space and energy.

I was able to change my mindset by letting go of the things that I was unable to change. I decided to only focus on the things that I could influence.

Limiting my exposure to the negativity on social media really helped me turn a corner on this.

It might sound corny, but one thing that helps me settle my mind is simply looking at the stars. When the sky fills with countless spots of light and you start to think about how really small we are in the grand scheme of things – your daily problems don’t seem like such big deal anymore.

It took some practice to change my mindset, and along my journey I discovered the power of meditation.

2. Control Stress with Meditation

Does Meditation relieve stress? You bet it does.

My mind was so busy with work items, school items, family commitments and things that I couldn’t control that initially I found it hard to meditate.

I tried to practice meditation on my own, but I couldn’t get my mind to shut up. I simply didn’t know how to do it. Some people can quiet their mind in a heartbeat, but for others (like me) I had to learn a process to let go.

It sounds simple; focus attention on your breath and on how your body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. I could do about ten breaths, and then I’d start having conversations in my head with people at work. It was frustrating.

My turning point for meditation was finding a really good meditation app that guided me through the process. It taught me the basics of meditation and I was able to get my stress under control.

Meditation is beautiful. There are so many different types of guided meditations for stress. For me, doing a simple 5 to 25 minute guided meditation centered on gratitude helps me put my life and day in perspective.

The feeling of positivity after meditating is something that I crave daily now. It really helps and something you should consider putting into practice.

3. Reduce Stress with Exercise

For me (and most people) exercise and stress relief go hand in hand.

The physical benefits from exercise have been established for a very long time. Exercise helps improve your physical condition, self esteem and your body’s ability to fight disease.

But exercise is also recognized as being a vital component of stress management and maintaining good mental health. Exercise plays a major role in reducing fatigue, improving concentration and enhancing cognitive functions. When stress and anxiety have a negative impact on your mental state, exercise can bring you back to where you want to be.

My routine is pretty straight forward. I mix some strength training with cardio during the week.

Two to three days I do a full body workout with dumbbells and free weights. My goal is not to be a body builder, but to simply maintain muscle mass. I mix in cardio three to four times a week which I rotate between an elliptical machine and long walks outdoors.

The great thing about reducing stress with exercise is all you need is a good pair of shoes. If the gym or cardio machines aren’t your thing, go for a walk five or six times a week for 25 – 60 minutes.

Take your dog. Take a friend. Or simply have “me time” with your favorite music.

You’ll be amazed how exercise reduces stress and improves your mental state.

4. Reduce Stress with Improved Sleep Habits

Does a good sleep reduce stress? In my experience, absolutely.

I had horrible sleep habits. The worst thing I did was have electronics in bed. My phone and iPad were always on my night stand and within arms reach. This led to me looking at a lit-display (which is proven to impact sleep) every night before I went to bed.

I also checked email and social media (even if I happened to wake up in the middle of the night). This made my sleep even worse as it would get my mind going.

I changed a few things in my night time rourtine that helps me sleep much better and as a result puts me in a better frame of mine to control stress.

Five improvements to my nighttime routine are;

  • Declaring my bedroom an e-free zone. This means I can’t use any electronics in my room any time of the day. My room is meant for sleep, not work or social media
  • I read in bed, but I limit it to novels (no business books) and it has to be from a “real book”
  • I bought a small speaker and quietly play white noise in the background (my favorites are ocean sounds and forest sounds)
  • I now plug my phone in the bathroom so I am not tempted to check it
  • I try to do a 5 to 10 minute gratitude meditation every-night before going to sleep

The bottom line is to get yourself into a routine to let your body know it’s time to power down.

5. Relieve Stress with Yoga

Yoga is another form of stress relief that really helps not only the body, but the mind.

I do it three times a week and it really helps me focus on bringing both mind and body together. By connecting breathing to poses that are designed to build balance and strength, it helps me keep all the other thoughts at bay.

I will admit I am not a flexible guy. And while I’ve gone to yoga classes, for me I like online yoga courses and a handful of yoga apps. The internet has really brought world class yoga instructors right into our home. By accessing courses and materials online, I can do it in the comfort of my home and really be at peace with it.

Overall, Yoga research has found that it can improve your mood and be as effective as some forms of antidepressant drugs. Some studies also suggest that it helps moderate blood pressure and heart rate.

Yoga works. Consider using it as part of your stress management plan today.

Don’t wait to Deal with your Stress and Anxiety

Life is too short to not get your stress under control.

There are many resources at QuitStressing.com for you to draw upon. Alternatively, if you have strategies that work for you, please leave a comment below and we’ll share your story. Your ideas might help one of our many readers.

If you have any symptoms described at the beginning of this article that you simply cannot shake, please consider seeing a medical professional. Stress and anxiety can be dangerous and you need to treat it seriously.

Control your stress. You can do it. Try any of the ideas listed above and start your path to healthier living. What do you have to lose (except maybe your stress)?

You can do this. Just take a breath.

All the best,

Daniel James
QuitStressing.com

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