16 Ways to Relieve Stress & Anxiety
With the global pandemic affecting practically the entire world, feelings of stress and anxiety have become more prevalent than ever.
From demanding daily routines, work schedules and chores, and now with the pressing global health crisis, no wonder so many people are experiencing high levels of stress.
It is important to know how to relieve stress in order to safeguard both your body and mind.
Below we explore 16 great ways to help alleviate stress and anxiety in an uncertain world.
- Home Fragrances
- Chewing Gum
- Friends & Family
- Learn To Say No
- Get Organised
- Talk To Someone
- Think It Through
- Hugs & Cuddles
- Breathing Exercises
Exercise is a very powerful stress reliever.
This does not mean that you need to undergo a long gym session or a demanding workout.
Simply spending a couple of minutes performing some basic exercises can have its benefits.
If you are at work, make it a habit of standing up every now and then and do some stretching.
If possible, go for a short walk.
Simple exercises will get your blood pumping.
This in turn releases endorphins which will help in improving your mood.
Moreover, exercise can help to improve your sleep quality, as well as make you feel more confident with your body.
This has positive effects on your mental wellbeing, thus combatting stress and anxiety.
The benefits you can gain from working out are multiplied if you make a point of exercising on a regular basis.
From research, it has been established that people who exercise regularly are much less likely to suffer from anxiety than those who do not exercise at all.
Also, it is best to choose activities that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups.
Walking and jogging are good examples.
There are several supplements on the market which are said to help in reducing stress and anxiety.
Some examples include:
- Green tea - increases serotonin levels and thus lowers stress levels.
- Ashwaganda - has been used to treat stress and anxiety and there are a number of studies that suggest that it is effective in this regard.
- Valerian root - has tranquillising effects.
- Lemon balm - studies were carried out about its anti-anxiety effects.
- Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Kava kava.
In case you are considering supplements, it is always best to consult with a healthcare specialist or your physician as there may be some interactions with other medications.
There are a number of scents which are exceptionally soothing to the senses.
Lavender, bergamot, frankincense, rose, ylang ylang, geranium and orange blossom are some of the top ones.
Such scents can be emitted from essential oils as well as scented candles.
With aromatherapy, you will be putting these scents to good use by improving your mood and thus reduce anxiety.
Such scents also help to improve sleep.
A healthy diet is of the essence - always!
You may not have considered that a proper diet actually has a direct impact on stress levels.
When you feel overwhelmed with work, and stressed out, you are more likely to eat anything that comes to hand.
From fatty snacks to sugary foods, you end up putting your health at stake as well as make it worse for your stress levels.
So rather than indulging in such unhealthy foods, it is better to plan ahead and prepare healthier snack alternatives.
Fruits and vegetables along with foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids can help you reduce stress while also maintaining a healthy diet.
It is also important to reduce the caffeine intake.
High doses will contribute to increased anxiety levels.
Some people may even end up feeling jittery when they drink coffee.
Moderation is always important, and so you should try to stick to a certain number of cups of coffee per day, depending on your threshold for caffeine tolerance.
You may wish to switch to decaf or green tea instead of coffee or black tea.
Chewing gum is a good stress reliever.
While chewing gum you will be promoting blood flow to the brain.
This helps in reducing stress levels.
Friends & Family
Being surrounded with relatives and friends can help you a great deal to cope with stress.
Thanks to social support you acquire from those close to you, there will be an improvement in the sense of belonging, and in turn this helps to reduce stress and anxiety.
Naturally if you laugh, you will feel less anxious.
Laughter is incredibly good for our health as it improves the mood while also relieves stress.
While laughing you will also be relieving tension in the muscles, and in the long run laughter helps to improve the immune system too.
So if you’re feeling stressed out, there is nothing better than watching a funny movie with friends!
Learn To Say No
You may not have realised this but chances are, most of your stress is coming from people around you due to their demanding behaviour and actions.
Wherever possible, you need to take control of such circumstances.
Avoid stressful situations deriving from people putting you up to certain pressures or chores that you’d prefer to avoid.
Often you may end up stressed out as you are overwhelmed with work or because you end up juggling several responsibilities.
So train yourself to be more selective in what you can feasibly take on to keep your workload reasonable.
Learning to say no can greatly help to reduce stress levels.
In this day and age we are all inundated with lots of things that need to be done.
There are deadlines to stick to, tasks to complete and chores to do.
Often you find yourself in a situation where you complete a task, only to find several others on your to do list.
It is important to try to be more organised to be able to handle tasks better.
If you get into the habit of saying, "I’ll see to that tomorrow or the day after", you will simply be adding more to your to-do list.
In time, you will end up struggling to catch up and the list will be never ending.
This will naturally result in a great deal of stress and anxiety.
So, to avoid such a situation try to be more organised.
Use a diary to spread out appointments, tasks and other commitments.
Set realistic deadlines whenever possible.
Slowly but surely, you will be better able to make your way down your list of tasks if you have everything written down or properly listed.
As you try to combat anxiety, it is important to train yourself to focus.
Meditation is a great way to do this.
It helps you to focus on the present moment, and avoid negative thoughts which can induce stress.
Mindfulness techniques, pilates, tai chi and yoga are great ways to reduce stress, while also improving self-esteem.
Talk To Someone
For most people, talking to someone can be of great relief.
Whenever you feel stressed, it could be really helpful to call a friend or find the time to talk things through with someone who is willing to listen to you.
You can get reassurance from your loved ones, and often as you are talking about your problems you will be better able to think about possible solutions as well.
This can greatly reduce stress and anxiety.
Think It Through
If you are struggling with a problem, or feeling really stressed, take the time to be with yourself.
Stop whatever you are doing, find a quiet place, and close your eyes.
Breathe in slowly and allow yourself to relax.
The calmer your surroundings, the better you will be able to do this.
Thinking it through is a great way to reduce anxiety, and more often than not you will be able to have a clear mind and an improved ability to solve problems afterwards.
Hugs & Cuddles
Being in close proximity with a loved one by hugging, kissing and cuddling is one of the best ways to relieve stress.
Positive physical contact will help you to relax.
While you are hugging a friend, cuddling up with your partner or kissing your spouse, oxytocin is released.
This lowers cortisol levels and blood pressure, and in turn stress is reduced.
Music can have a calming effect.
Try to find a quiet spot where you can put on some soothing music.
Instrumental music can help you feel more relaxed because as you listen to it your blood pressure and heart rate are reduced.
Nature sounds can also be very relaxing.
You may wish to check out meditation music, celtic music and indian music.
Breathe in, breath out!
We’ve often heard this right?
However, how often do we indulge in this simple technique purely for relaxation?
If you feel stressed out, you are bound to have a raised heart rate, which in turn leads to faster breathing.
So it is important to learn how to regulate your breathing to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for your relaxation responses.
Deep breathing exercises will help a great deal in slowing down your heart rate, and make you feel more relaxed, tranquil and peaceful.
Research shows that pets can greatly help reduce stress and improve your mood.
So if you have a furry friend, you may wish to try spending more time with him or her as you may actually benefit health-wise.
As you interact with a pet, oxytocin is released throughout your nervous system.
This is a neurological chemical which promotes an improved mood.
As you can see, there’s many simple ways and means to reduce your stress levels.
It’s important to learn how to include such activities in your daily routine, to help relieve anxiety and lead a better and healthier life.
Try some of the above techniques and see how your well being improves.