It’s easy to get locked into the hectic schedules and daily ‘to do’ lists that keep us feeling overwhelmed, isn’t it? And it can be confronting to recognizing that you’re not as happy as you want to be.
How to Reduce Stress And Anxiety
But there’s a lot you to do to reclaim your sense of calm and to get the spring back in your step. Sometimes even the smallest changes can have a big impact, so why not try these five tips that you can put in place today…
You’ve heard it before, right? Exercise is good for you. But when’s the last time you really considered how good it is for your mental health, not just your physical health?
Being active is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety.
Just 20 minutes of exercise stimulates the release of endorphins and helps to reduce stress and anxiety. What’s not to love about that? And if the gym’s not your thing you can hit the pool, or start walking or jogging. Get yourself a skipping rope or start some exercise videos at home. Whatever it is, work towards making it a regular part of your week.
2. Nourish your body
Another great way to reduce stress and anxiety is to nourish your body. This is all about good, nutrient-dense foods. If you’re propping yourself up on high-energy foods like processed sugars (hello soft drinks) and carbs (which are so easy to reach for when you’re low on energy), you might be setting yourself up for big energy swings which make it hard to stay vitalized all day.
Studies in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that subjects who had a diet high in processed foods had a 58% increased risk for depression, whereas those whose diet contained more whole foods had a 26% reduced risk of depression.
Shifting your diet to include fresh nutrient-dense produce, omega-3 fats, amino acids and vitamin B rich foods can help give your body – and your brain – the best fuels it needs to stay sharp, healthy and happy.
Developing a routine around sleep can be a really good way to get a good night’s rest. After all, feeling relaxed, happy and calm is hard to achieve if you’re not giving your body and mind time to recuperate at the end of each busy day. So, protect your own sleep and:
- Create a regular bedtime
- Avoid looking at screens (including your phone) for thirty minutes prior sleep – try reading a book instead!
- Meditate or use a relaxation technique to signal to your brain and body that it’s time for sleep – you’ll be amazed how well a consistent routine can work.
4. Incorporate mindfulness and relaxation
If you’re someone who is prone to depression, studies have shown that regular meditation, when done correctly, can have significant effects in reducing the risk of future clinical depression. Meditation or yoga classes can be a nice way to get expert guidance and connect with other people too.
Some of the benefits of practicing regular mindfulness and relaxation include:
- better sleep
- improved mental state and control of emotions
- increased memory and concentration
- reduced levels of anxiety, stress and panic attacks
And the best part? Mindfulness and relaxation can be done almost anywhere, anytime – and by anyone! You don’t need any special equipment or memberships – it’s something you can do by yourself anytime you’re feeling a bit stressed or anxious.
So why not give mindfulness and relaxation a go?
Once you’ve got these stress-tackling basics covered, think about what actively makes you happy. Maybe there are particular activities, people or events that help you feel relaxed and positive? Here are a few suggestions…
This seems too simple, right? But a recent study in Australia has shown a clear correlation between regularly handwriting notes, thoughts, ideas, feelings or memories and an increase in experiencing relief from anxiety, fear, and worry.
Having your favorite music on hand can be a simple tool to reduce stress and anxiety. It can be energizing if you need a little pick me up, or relaxing you if you need to clear your head.
Settle into a comfy chair and throw yourself into a good book. And if you want, join the local library or find a nearby book group.
Learn something new
This is all about creating stimulating down-time for yourself – away from the chaos of daily routines. Choose something you’re interested in: maybe learning a new language or a new cooking style. If you’re after something simple and satisfying, try growing your own herb garden. Whatever it is, cultivating your own downtime is an important thing in a balanced and fulfilled life.
Getting that spring back in your step is probably going to involve a combination of things, some of which might be easy to achieve and some of which might feel more challenging. It’s important though not to feel alone – changes in how we feel are not about strength or weakness, it’s just a part of the human experience. So if you’re feeling low, and if you’re having trouble seeing your pathway back to happiness, reach out and ask for help. So much is known about stress, anxiety, and depression these days that there are many people, including a whole range of experts, who can help you.
What about you? What is the number one thing that helps you to reduce stress and anxiety? You can share your comment in the comment section below 🙂