Anxious, worried, overwhelmed, stressed out? Don’t worry you’re not alone! Stress and anxiety is now a common fixture in our hectic, busy lives. Small amounts of stress can be beneficial in motivating and helping us achieve our goals. Although chronic or long-term stress affects each of us differently, it ultimately affects the whole body in a negative way and may contribute to many health complaints.
Is your health being affected by stress? Do you often feel anxious, worried, depressed, irritable, exhausted, overloaded or forgetful? Do you suffer from tension headaches, high blood pressure, low immune system function, stiff or sore muscles or joints? Or do you have digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome or ulcers, an increase or decrease in appetite, or worsening of an existing illness or condition? If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, your body may be overburdened by stress or anxiety.
Here are 8 simple ways to relieve stress and anxiety.
- Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
I know, I know! I’m sorry to say it, but this is one of the most important ones. High quantities of caffeine can increase stress and anxiety. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine as well. It’s a stimulant which increases cortisol (your fight or flight) production in the body. Try to substitute your usual cup of coffee with a dandelion coffee (great for your liver!) or a green tea.
One of the most important things to combat stress is exercise! Regular exercise can lower stress and anxiety by releasing endorphins and improving your sleep and self-image. Aim to move your body for 30 minutes a day. Try to find an activity that you enjoy, walking, yoga, pilates, weight lifting, dancing.
- Learn to Say No
Feeling overwhelmed? Lear to say NO to social arrangements. Instead use the time for yourself to rest. Do something for you! Your friends and family will be there for you!
- Practice Mindfulness
Becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings as they arise gives you the opportunity to deal with situations in a rational way. Mindfulness practices anchor you into the present moment. It can help combat the anxiety-inducing effects of negative thinking.
- Laugh More
Laughing is seriously the best medicine! It’s hard feel anxious when stress you’re laughing. Try to find humor is everyday life, watch a funny TV show, hang out with your funny friends or anyone who makes you laugh.
- Put Focus on Your Breath
Breathing from your belly is a really simple and effective strategy for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed and stressed, as it activates your parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system. Often when we’re anxious we breath short-shallow breaths from our chest. I personally like to put aside 10-15 minutes each day where I can sit alone and focus on my breath. My favourite way is to put my legs up a wall, this is a great way to lower cortisol levels and rest your adrenal glands. If you’re not into this find a quiet spot and focus on breathing diaphragmatically, take 20 slow deep breaths making your belly rise and fall, breathing in for 4 counts, hold, then out for 4 counts.
- Socialise! Spend Time with Family and Friends
Life is to be enjoyed! Don’t forget that. Having social support from your friends and family can help you get through stressful times.
- Eat Nutritious Food
Consume a diet rich in whole foods (vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, good quality protein, healthy fats), to ensure your body gets a wide range of nutrients.
One more thing… find something to be grateful for, daily.
Gratitude relieves stress and anxiety.