Stress and anxiety plague millions of people all over the world. There are numerous sources of stress that most Americans face every day, though Covid seems to be one of the current biggest stress-inducing events. When it comes to anxiety, a whopping 18% of Americans suffer from one anxiety disorder or another.
While stress and anxiety can make life more challenging and less enjoyable, there are many things you can do to help make living easier. Learning how to manage your stress can have a positive impact on your mental health, but it’s not something that people are born knowing.
You’ll need to work on adapting some strategies in order to help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety in your life, but fortunately, there are many ways to do this.
1. Get Some Exercise
It’s no secret that exercise impacts mental health in a positive manner. Getting enough exercise can do wonders for stress, anxiety, ADHD, depression, PTSD, and other mental health conditions. By making sure to get a bit of exercise every day, you’ll improve your physical health which in turn helps your mental health.
Some people are naturally drawn to sports while others aren’t. While sports are a great way to get exercise, they aren’t the only way. Going for an easy walk or picking up yoga are two perfectly acceptable ways to exercise. You don’t need to sweat and run in order to consider something exercise. It’s more important that you enjoy the activity.
2. Learn Deep Breathing and Meditation Tactics
It may be a bit cliche to learn deep breathing and meditation techniques, but they work! Deep breathing works by increasing blood flow to the brain and redirecting your attention away from negative thoughts and towards your physical feelings. The best part about deep breathing is that it isn’t hard to learn. Here’s a simple exercise you can try to practice:
- Place one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest. This will help you gauge where you’re breathing from your chest (shallow breathing) or your stomach (deeper breathing).
- Breathe in gently through your nose, pushing out your belly and keeping your chest still.
- Exhale through your mouth, pushing all the air from your belly.
- Repeat anywhere from 3 to 10 times until you feel calmer.
Meditation is a bit more technical, but it can also be a great way at calming your mind. Learning to meditate can help you adopt other stress-reducing practices such as mindfulness. You may also choose to keep a meditation journal which can also have stress-relieving effects.
3. Eat Healthily
Your diet can have a pretty big impact on your mental health which is why it’s so important to ensure that you’re eating healthily. Part of eating healthy means not overeating and making sure you don’t skip meals. To help with this, create a planned meal schedule and stick to it even if you feel too stressed to eat. Skipping meals can worsen anxiety and stress, so stick to your plan.
You don’t need to follow a specific diet. Just make sure you eat plenty of fruits, veggies, and proteins. Nuts, seeds, beans, and fish are all healthy meal ideas as they provide you with the nutrients your body needs and aren’t processed.
4. Minimize Your Time Spent Online
While it’s important to stay in touch with family and friends and stay up to date on the news, too much can quickly become unhealthy. If you find yourself constantly monitoring the news or scrolling through social media, it can be a good idea to start limiting your screen time.
While phones and the internet aren’t inherently bad, it’s easy to get discouraged by the news or social media. Not knowing when and how to put away your phone can lead to cell phone addiction and make your stress and anxiety much worse than it may already be.
If you have an iPhone, consider setting a screen time limit for certain apps. This can help you limit and manage the time you spend doom scrolling without making it impossible for you to stay in touch with your family if you need to.
5. Consult a Neuropsychologist
Sometimes your anxiety may be caused by an anxiety disorder. In this case, there may not be too much you can do as the cause of your anxiety is medically related. If you suspect this is the case, talk to a neuropsychologist and see about getting a neuropsychological evaluation. This can help determine if your cause of stress and anxiety is deeper than just surface problems.
While consulting a neuropsychologist may seem scary, it’s important to remember that their job is to help you get healthy. Mental health issues aren’t that different from physical health issues and need to be treated by professionals just as much as physical issues need to be treated and taken care of.
As society becomes more open to discussing and ensuring mental health, it’s becoming easier to find the help you need across the country. Don’t hesitate to contact a neuropsychologist at any point, especially if you feel like your anxiety and stress is beginning to affect other areas of your life.
Even if your stress and anxiety aren’t caused by an anxiety disorder, a psychologist can help provide you with healthy coping mechanisms for when you do become stressed or feel your anxiety rising. They’ll help you learn how to recognize bad habits and how to adjust your lifestyle so that you can live a healthier and stress-free life.
One Final Note
You aren’t the only one suffering from stress and anxiety, but that doesn’t necessarily mean living with it is easier. It can be hard to live under constant stress or when you find yourself getting anxious about the smallest things.
While there are many coping mechanisms you can adopt and habit changes you can make, it’s important to know when you should consult a professional for the help you need.