How to Relieve Stress and Anxiety in a Healthy Way
Stress is our body and mind’s normal response to challenges in our daily life. Short term, it can help us perform better when the clock is ticking and we are under pressure, and it enables us to respond quickly to threats and danger. However, longer or constant exposure to stress can pose problems for our overall health – it can affect our physical health, our mental well-being and emotional state.
While we may not (to the full extent) be able to change what causes stress, we can focus on our reaction and our stress management. Now you’re probably thinking ‘easier said than done’, huh? Well here I offer 8 simple and healthy lifestyle changes you can implement into your daily routine, slowly and steadily shifting your mindset towards a slower, lighter, more mindful, and healthier way of living. Why do I think that can help in reducing and better managing everyday stress?
Just imagine 2 scenarios: in one, you woke up in a rush, you ate some pizza from yesterday for breakfast, while scrolling through social media, and you quickly got dressed and rushed off to work. In the other, you woke up in time, even earlier, you didn’t look at your phone right away. You stretched out a bit, meditated for a couple of minutes, and made yourself a healthy breakfast, which you ate mindfully, without any distractions. You had enough time to get ready at your own pace and went to work. Which of these two scenario-people do you think will handle that day’s work stress better? The second one, without a doubt. The cause (outside element) might be the same, but the person managing it will be different.
8 Healthy Lifestyle Habits for Better Managing Everyday Stress
Create a simple, but effective morning routine
How you start each day sets the tone for the rest of that day. Wake up early, give yourself time to wake up entirely – stretch or workout to wake up your body, meditate, and have a healthy breakfast without any distractions. Set yourself for a more mindful and focused day.
Go to bed early
Tiredness is like adding fuel to stressful situations. Having more energy is the first step in dealing with stressful situations more effectively. Also, in order to maintain a productive morning routine, it is important to get enough sleep and rest the night before. Go to bed early and enjoy your well deserved rest.
Avoid people who stress you out
Other people play a huge role in our everyday lives. Some people may not be that easy to avoid, but sometimes we keep hanging out with people that cause negative emotions in us out of pure habit. Re-evaluate your social life, detect who influences your life in a solely negative way, and re-consider how you handle them.
Practice deep breathing throughout the day
Set your timer for every couple of hours, and pause to have a couple of deep and mindful breaths. All of us easily get caught up and race through the day, this can help you keep yourself more grounded and remind you to pause every now and then.
Identify what is causing your stress and anxiety
Sometimes it takes us some time to recognize we are under huge stress or feeling anxious. Mindful breathing breaks are a tool in helping you understand your state of being – if you’re under stress, taking a pause can help you realize that. Beside acknowledging your body and mind are experiencing stress, work on identifying the cause. Look at your habits, your attitude about the cause, and the possible excuses you might be making. We often multiply our stressful response by building it up in our mind – break that cycle by observing it and calling it what it is. The purpose is not to minimize what is happening, but to minimize your reaction to it.
Get regular exercise
Except for having great physical health benefits, exercise can also be a powerful stress reliever. Whether it is a daily 30-minute walk, a fitness workout using an app on your phone, just find what works for you and stay consistent.
Reduce caffeine and sugar
If you adopt healthy habits, while still maintaining the unhealthy ones, not much can be done in managing and reducing your stress levels. Reduce your refined sugar intake and the amount of coffee you drink. Besides being your sidekick for stress relief, it can also improve your sleeping habits.
Avoid tobacco, alcohol and other drugs
Tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs, along with many other harmful health consequences, are also your enemy when it comes to healthy coping mechanisms and relieving stress. I just cannot stress enough the amount of negative impact it has on your overall well-being and how you deal with stressful situations, so here are a couple of useful links if you want to look more into it:
- How to Break the Vicious Cycle of Stress and Alcohol Dependence
- How smoking makes stress worse
- How Does Stress Relate to Drug Abuse
If you are struggling with negative self talk and wonder how to change it, this post can be your starting point for understanding how to deal with and respond to those negative inner thoughts and work towards finding inner peace.
These tips are aimed at those dealing with regular everyday stress and wish to improve their general well-being. However, if you are overwhelmed by stress, feel like you cannot cope, you should seek help right away. Ask help from a health professional, and/or call your local hotline.
With love and compassion,