Let’s face it, 2020 has been a stressful year by anyone’s standards. Not only have we had to deal with a global pandemic, lockdowns, and loss of life. But we’ve also been dealing with anxieties related to the presidential election and social unrest. In fact, more than two-thirds of individuals describe having election-related stress to a significant degree. Therefore, it’s no wonder many that many of us are trying our best to manage our worries. Stress is bad enough when it’s short-lived, but it quickly becomes overwhelming when it lasts for months.
Understanding this, it’s important to have a variety of ways to reduce anxiety and stress. To begin with, it’s important to understand that anxiety is a “future-oriented” state of mind. We become anxious and stressed when we project future outcomes that conflict with our needs. As a result, a strategy that brings us back to the present is often a great technique to relieve anxiety. At the same time, we can obsess about specific worries and infuse more energy into that warranted. Distractions can therefore offer some effective ways to reduce anxiety. With this in mind, the following offers 10 great tips for keeping your stress at bay.
- Daily Morning Meditations – By starting your day in silent meditation, you invite a sense of calmness. This is a great technique to relieve anxiety because it allows you to focus on the moment rather than on worries. The stillness this provides naturally eases both emotional and physical tensions. In the process, you will find your anxiety will diminish immediately.
- Deep Breathing Exercises – There are a number of techniques that can be employed for deep-breathing exercises. But in each case, a focus is placed on diaphragmatic breathing and your breath specifically. Because deep breathing forces you into the present, it’s one of the easy ways to reduce anxiety. At the same time, it also engages the vagal, parasympathetic tone, which also promotes a sense of calmness.
- Take an Emotional Inventory – Often, we allow our stress and anxiety to get out of control because we become emotionally reactive. Fears can get in the way of rational thought. Therefore, one technique to relieve anxiety is by taking an inventory of your feelings. By defining your emotions, you can better defuse your feelings and enjoy a greater state of calm.
- Use Active Movement – Research has shown that even brief bouts of activity and movement can relieve stress and worry. In part, this serves as a means of distraction from worry and stress. But exercise and activity also release neurochemicals and hormones that reduce anxiety as well. This makes exercise one of the easiest ways to reduce anxiety and stress.
- Practice Positivity and Gratitude – The emotions that fuel anxiety and stress tend to be negative ones. We anticipate a bad future outcome that makes us worry rather than a positive one. By practicing positivity and gratitude, we become less able to focus on these negative possibilities. Thus, one technique to relieve anxiety involves positivity and gratitude exercises. Plus, the more this is practiced, the easier it becomes. A few sessions throughout the day are often quite effective as a stress-relieving approach.
- Indulge in Aromatherapy – Aromatherapy refers to the use of scents and essential oils to provide wellness benefits to the body and mind. In terms of ways to reduce anxiety and stress, the use of lavender has been found to be quite effective. Lavender oils and scents are known to reduce joint pain and relax muscles. Likewise, it promotes better sleep, which also helps with stress reduction.
- Get Organized – Much of our stress and worry comes from the fact that we feel out of control. The future is naturally unpredictable, and not knowing the precise outcome can be unnerving. Understanding this, one technique to relieve anxiety involves completing tasks and getting organized. The more we accomplish, and the more organized we feel, the less likely we are to feel as stressed. Whether it’s making a list, finishing a home project, or other tasks, this can help reduce stress greatly.
- Immerse Yourself in Nature – Taking walks in nature has been found to be one of the great ways to reduce anxiety and stress. In fact, a specific activity called forest bathing is notably beneficial in promoting health and wellness. Nature experiences offer more than exercise alone. These immersions also invite a sense of calmness that helps melt away any stress we may be feeling. And it’s a great way to ensure you’re living in the present moment.
- Get in Touch with Your Senses – In regards to being present, one important technique to relieve anxiety pertains to sensory awareness. By focusing on the sights, smells, and other sensations around you, you demand a degree of presence. This helps counterbalance any future worries you may have while also offering a type of distraction. Taking a moment to explore the sensual stimuli in your environment is an easy way to reduce stress and worry. And this technique can be performed multiple times throughout the day.
- Practice Acceptance – One of the ways you can reduce anxiety is to simply assume the outcome that most worries you will occur. In doing so, you shift your perspective away from one of anticipation to one of acceptance. This doesn’t mean the harms of that outcome no longer exist. But it does let you approach the potential problems from a more proactive stance. In the process, you allow yourself to become more in control and less stressed.
Dealing with Stress in a Healthy Way
Anxiety and stress are normal phenomena. We all deal with this at some level. But this year’s level of stress certainly exceeds the norm for many of us. Therefore, it’s important to find ways to reduce anxiety and stress that are healthy as well as effective. The tips provided here do just that each has been shown to be an effective technique to relieve anxiety. But if these are ineffective, professional help is always a good idea. Because stress can lead to other health problems, tackling it head-on is the best way to ensure your overall wellness. Hopefully, all of us can see our collective level of stress and worry get back to normal in the near future. But until then, using these key stress-reducing tips can help get us through.
Want to make 2021 a better year than 2020? Then check out PROJECT BOLD LIFE: The Proven Formula to Take on Challenges and Achieve Happiness and Success.