Whether work-related problems or stressful family situations, stress management techniques are hands-down the best way to battle anxiety.
Stress can be suffocating, and without stress management techniques, this monster can take over your entire life. Anxiety has been known to cause the destruction of relationships, the loss of jobs and even death, yeah, you heard that right.
Enough stress can do damage to the heart and other organs in the body, causing sickness and ultimately the worst case scenario. Now, how would you like to know about some stress management techniques to battle this beast? I thought so.
Science and stress
But before we look at the techniques, let’s understand what we’re dealing with. So, what is stress? Are stress and anxiety the same thing? Stress is considered to be the mental and emotional strain. According to science, stress is a response while anxiety is a reaction.
Though they are slightly different, they still benefit from the same management techniques. Without further ado, here are several science-based stress-management techniques that really show results.
Let’s set some boundaries!
I remember while visiting my first therapist at the age of 18, a certain technique she showed me. She said that I had to separate my home life from work life. She went on to explain how setting these boundaries kept me from feeling overloaded in either place.
So, while driving home from work, which took about 30 minutes, at the time, I was to take the first 15 minutes to bring closure to my workday. On the second 15 minutes of the drive, I was to start contemplating about home life.
This gave me the opportunity to set boundaries between the too and keep them separated, limiting multitasking and mixing business with pleasure. It does work and relieves quite a bit of stress.
Fitness, let’s get moving
It’s a no-brainer to say that exercise can reduce stress. Not only can it change your mindset, but can alter chemicals in the body as well. If you’ve not been active for a while, it will seem tedious and painful at first, but after a while, you will feel much better.
I’m not saying that being active will remove all stress, but it will relieve the symptoms quite a bit. Don’t forget to drink lots of water and improve your eating habits as well.
It’s no secret that pets offer comfort to those who suffer from anxiety. Just recently, I have seen at least three service dogs designated for anxiety patients. They are called emotional support animals, and in this case, they are trained to be supportive and protective of their owners.
On the other hand, just having a pet helps out quite a bit. They generally have the ability to calm stress and anxiety just by touch.
Practicing meditative techniques consistently can decrease feelings of anxiety. It’s about mindfulness and being able to focus on the present without any interruptions or desserts.
A recent study at the University of California stated that meditation boosts chemicals in the brain that combat stress. These same chemicals were also responsible for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure as well.
The power of nature
Okay, this one may seem silly to some people, but trust me, it works wonders! For instance, during the warmer months of the year, you might want to take a walk outside in bare feet.
This helps you stay grounded and absorb negative ions which are natural detoxifiers. In fact, the largest concentrations of these ions are found in water. Now you know why walking on the beach has such an impact.
Other aspects of nature also help reduce anxiety, like the obvious positive effects of vitamin D absorption from the sun. Taking some time with nature will provide a huge benefit and prove to be one of the best stress management techniques available.
And guess what! It’s free and always in ample supply!
Although nature provides several therapeutic aromas, you might not be able to get outside due to ….well, stressful situations such as work overload. So until you can partake of the wonderland of trees and soft grass, you can partake of certain aromas in your home.
Aromatherapy has the ability to calm stress and promote stillness of mind.
Let’s start with a simple one: Lavender, it has the ability to both calm and promote a good night’s sleep. Then there’s peppermint which promotes a sharp mind and focus, and eucalyptus which alleviates headaches, considering stress usually causes headaches to occur.
Essential oils are good ways to incorporate aromatherapy into your lifestyle.
Some people may mistake yoga as strange exercises which teach us how to get into, well, strange positions. But Yoga is so much more than that, it’s spiritual, to say the least. When practicing Yoga, you learn to focus and to balance your breathing.
These two tactics alone can greatly reduce stress. When your mind is occupied with controlling breathing and focusing on one thing at a time, it’s just that – self-control!
Yoga also gets you in touch with a deeper consciousness, one that brings you closer to enlightenment, the more you clear your mind of clutter, which yoga helps you to accomplish.
And the strange poses I mentioned, yeah, those are designed to put your body back into alignment and strengthen un-used muscles. Everything included in the Yoga practice is designed to eliminate stress.
Basically, listening to music can reduce stress. In fact, about a year ago, I wrote about ambient music, which is simply the best selection for stress reduction. A combination of aromatherapy, music, like the ambient selection, and exercise may just be the best recipe for reducing chances of anxiety attacks!
Yes, it’s true, laughter is the best medicine. Not only can it burn calories, but it can also reduce stress by releasing endorphins, which not only fights infection-causing antibodies but also strengthens the immune system, simultaneously.
In times of stress, if someone can make you laugh, they are indeed helping you.
Stress doesn’t have to win
Don’t become discouraged during times of stress. Try using these stress management techniques and you should experience a positive change in no time. As stated above, sometimes a combination of measures works even better.
So, what have you tried when battling stressful situations? I would love to learn more!
By Sherrie H.