Life in today’s world can be very stressful. Many people suffer from anxiety disorders and take anxiety medications for them. Even people who have not been diagnosed with mood disorders can suffer from stress and anxiety. There are things you can to to feel better and less stressed out.
1. Work out more. Studies show that getting more exercise can reduce stress and anxiety. If you cannot get to the gym, there are a lot of other ways to get exercise into your daily routine. Get out for a walk. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go dancing. Anything that gets you moving can help your body manage stress when you encounter it. Exercise can also help promote getting better sleep, which helps with most mood disorders.
2. Get more sleep. Insomnia can lead to more anxiety and depression. This can be a problem for a lot of people and can create a chicken and egg situation. Sometimes anxiety and depression can lead to insomnia, which makes most mood disorders worse. If you find you are having trouble sleeping, it important to incorporate good sleep hygiene techniques. They include:
- Go to bed at the same time every night.
- Get up at the same time every morning.
- Do not watch TV in bed.
- Stop looking at any kind of screen at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. The blue light from your computer, television or mobile device causes certain chemicals to be released in your brain that keep you up.
- If you cannot fall asleep within 30 minutes, get up and read a real book or magazine. Tossing and turning in bed will make things worse. You want to train your body that your bed is a place to sleep.
- Avoid alcohol. People think that it helps with sleep but it can impact your REM sleep and you will get less restful sleep.
3. Laughter is the best medicine. If you are really stressed about something, take five minutes to watch a funny cat video or read something funny. You may not think it will matter much but your anxiety level will be lessened by a good, hearty laugh. The worst case scenario when you find something to laugh at is that you go back to being stressed out. Go ahead, try it. You may be surprised at how just a short break to laugh can make a big difference in how you feel.
4. Take some time for yourself. When we are always on the go, it is easy to forget about our own needs. That is a mistake. If you have ever taken a flight, you are familiar with the flight attendants’ announcements about oxygen masks. They tell passengers to secure their own mask before they help other people. The same holds true for your day to day life. If you are not taking care of your needs, you will not be in the best position to help others. When you are feeling stressed, take a few minutes for yourself.
5. Limit your coffee and alcohol. Caffeine can make you stressed by itself. It can cause your heart to race and give you all of the symptoms that generally come along with a panic attack. Alcohol can do a lot of damage to your body if consumed over a long period of time. These two substances should be limited. That means, you should cut down on the amount of coffee you drink. Nicotine has a similar impact on your body as caffeine. if you have anxiety and smoke, you should quit.
6. Eat a better diet. When you are healthy, your body and mind will be able to deal with stress and anxiety better. When you remove processed foods and other junk food from your diet and add in fresh fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates and lean protein, you give your body a better chance to cope with stress.
7. Ask for help. Help is available for people who suffer from mental illness. Many people benefit from mental health counseling. Some people feel that asking for help shows weakness but the opposite is true. You are not the only one dealing with these issues and help is available.
Stress and anxiety can be managed, it just takes time and effort.