Helping Stress and Anxiety

Helping Stress and Anxiety

There are many different levels of stress and anxiety, meaning different lifestyle changes maybe needed to alleviate the symptoms. When feeling overwhelmed I often use exercise, talking to friends and family, reading, and writing as ways to help me feel better. Unfortunately it is not a silver bullet. Stress needs for the cause to be resolved. Where as anxiety has a longer process. While you are still working towards the solution there are many different ways you can help reduce the effects of stress and anxiety. They include:

  • Trying to keep a routine or some sort of schedule for day-to-day activities. The brain likes patterns, they can be relaxing. Going for a walk at the same time each day for example.
  • Therapist find most useful for anxiety is keeping your mind in the present and to reduce over thinking. A way this can be done is through mindful meditation. I have discussed this in Therapies and some useful activities in Techniques.
  • A different therapy is cognitive behaviour therapy where you are taught to challenge and break down thoughts. There can also be exposure therapy if there is a trigger for the anxiety.
  • When facing large tasks break them down into smaller more manageable tasks. Makes the job appear easier and less stressful.
  • Writing can help with thoughts that are overpowering or repetitive. Keeping a journal with thoughts and feelings, or lists with jobs and shopping, can help remove this from your mind.
  • Talking to someone you trust like partner or family/friend about your thoughts can help you lighten the mental load and share the stress that you are feeling. Another option is joining a parent’s group where you can discuss with other parent who are probably feeling a lot of the same feelings. Reconnecting with people you care about can help relieve some stress.
  • Breathing techniques are a great tool to reduce heart rate, clear your mind and calm yourself when anxious or dealing with a difficult situation. I discuss two of these in techniques.
  • You can use these breathing techniques to help calm yourself before responding to an issue or situation. Ensuring you give yourself time, don’t become overwhelmed and respond appropriately.
  • Exercise regularly. This can be just going for a walk or joining a sports team. This can be a great chance to socialise, get outdoors for some fresh air and some vitamin D. Going to the forest or beach can reduce stress levels dramatically, really good therapy.
  • Eating a healthy and well-rounded diet can help ensure you have the energy and brain power to deal with the anxiety. Also making sure you do eat and regularly. I know some people forget to eat or don’t feel like eating when they are highly anxious. The body uses up a lot of extra fuel when anxious and that needs to be replenished.
  • Sleep, same as above, the body works hard when you are anxious. It needs time to rest and recover.
  • Doing activities, you enjoy can help increase our mood and help calm you. So read, paint, play with your pet, spend time with family. Anything you enjoy, ensure you still make time for them.

For more severe types of anxiety where lifestyle changes are not effective, you may need to therapy and sometimes medications. The most common medication for anxiety is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRIs). These increase the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine which are responsible for improving your mood.

There are many different types of anxiety and its important to seek help if you are unable to complete daily activities.

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