We all know that stress and anxiety take a toll on the human body. With the constant struggles in our daily lives, 70 percent of adults in the US say they feel stress or anxiety daily. But what is stress? The American Institute of Stress claims that there is no one definition for the crippling feeling of strain or tension but rather multiple types of stress. Today, we’re talking about distress: the stress in daily life which comes from negative feelings, punishment, difficulties or problems. Anxiety, in turn, is your body’s natural response to distress, causing fear or suspense to fill your mind.
Managing your distress might be an uphill battle you’ve dealt with for a while. If you’re experiencing chronic stress, we recommend seeking help from a therapist or counselor. Trying the following ideas could help supplement counseling to lower your stress and anxiety.
- Focus on your breath. Meditation, in a variety of forms, has been proven to improve stress and anxiety. Simple breathing techniques help to balance out your workday (try the 4-4-4 Method to start). Longer breathing practices will calm your body after work and keep your mind relaxed.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise will lower your stress hormones, such as cortisol, and improve your quality of sleep. Practicing yoga is one way you can work exercise into your daily routine (you can even find free yoga videos on YouTube if you’re unable to go to a yoga center).
- Reduce your caffeine intake. Caffeine in moderation can be healthy. However, if you have been experiencing increased anxiety after drinking caffeinated beverages, it’s probably time to say hello to decaf.
- Listen to your body. At different times of the day, take time to check in on how you’re feeling. If you notice feelings of tension or apprehension, practice your breathing exercises. If you’re a writer, start a journal to check in on your feelings and your body. Meditation, mood, feeling, and sensor apps have also reportedly helped certain individuals relieve stress.
Keep in mind that there might be other complications affecting your body and your stress levels, such as thyroid problems or anxiety disorders. If your stress could be related to something else, we encourage you to seek medical help.