Stress and anxiety are a regular part of life for most people. Unfortunately, there are some things that we just can’t control.
What we can control is how we react to stressful situations. This is true for people with anxiety disorders as well as those without them. Some of the common negative reactions to stress and anxiety are:
- irritability or anger
- unhealthy behaviors (smoking, drinking alcohol excessively, overeating or eating foods high in “bad fats” or salt/sugar, skipping meals)
- getting less sleep than necessary
Some people who feel stressed or anxious on a regular basis or for a long period of time may also experience other symptoms. For example, a person with chronic anxiety may have physical complaints like recurrent headaches, stomach-ache or a racing heart.
An article by Dr. Barton Goldsmith (“Be proactive in reducing anxiety“) describes how changing your way of thinking can help you to feel less anxious. Dr. Goldsmith discusses how to consider a problem from a different angle and how to think realistically about the best and worse outcomes of a situation that causes you unease.
There are a number of options for people who are looking to deal with stress and anxiety more efficiently. Basic lifestyle changes can make a big difference in how you react to stressful things.
Making exercise a regular part of your routine is a great way to release tension and feel more relaxed. Just by joining an exercise class a few times a week, going for a jog before work, or trying out an exercise video you can see improvements in your mood and your self-confidence. Just remember that before starting any exercise program, you should always consult with your doctor about the level of activity that is safe for you.
Learning how to practice yoga and mediation on a regular basis can also be rewarding for your mental and physical health. The stretches and poses in yoga can help you to relax your body, and they can also relieve tension. The breathing exercises serve the same purpose, and they can train you to better control your body and your mind. Even children can benefit from practicing yoga, so you can teach your son or daughter how to employ some of the techniques to cope with test anxiety or stress.
Another simple strategy you can use to feel less stressed is setting aside a specific time every day to relax and do something you enjoy. It’s important to give yourself a break and to enjoy your free time to avoid feeling “burned out” at work.