Stress and anxiety quickly take over.
In fact, for many it has become an all too real reality.
But if you’re feeling pressured, there are many things you can do to find your Zen.
This article describes empowering techniques that have been proven to work.
1) Use journaling to de-stress and understand yourself better
Think of journaling as the evolution of a teenage diary into adulthood.
However, rather than swooning over recent love, it has become a tool for releasing stream of consciousness.
Studies show that journaling can help reduce stress and anxiety.
It allows you to let go of the worries you are feeling. I found that just writing it down on paper was therapeutic.
It can also help clarify if there is something that is specifically affecting your stress levels.
It helps you develop a greater sense of self-awareness, allowing you to better understand what is going on with your emotions and thoughts.
Journaling is like having a dialogue with yourself.
But instead of letting thoughts swirl endlessly in your head, put pen to paper and spit them out.
2) Practice meditation and mindfulness
I have heard many people say that they cannot meditate.
i know what they mean. One of the hardest things in our fast-paced, stressful world is doing nothing.
For some people, sitting quietly still is almost impossible.
But there are so many scientifically proven benefits to starting a meditation practice, stress and anxiety relief are just a few.
Even better, meditation doesn’t have to be so formal.
There are several ways.
For example, instead of staying silent, you can follow a guided meditation or listen to calming music.
It doesn’t even have to be completely still. There are mindful techniques that still offer many of the stress-relieving benefits.
It could be:
- Take a leisurely walk in nature.
- Do a body scan and consciously relax your body.
- Guided images to use your imagination to create a better vision of your life.
- Consciously focus on all your senses.
Anything that brings you into the present and keeps you away from unnecessary worries will work.
3) become active
Whether it’s an aggressive session at the gym to sweat it out or a calming yoga session, the most important thing is to shake off those cobwebs.
Negative emotions may start out as thoughts in your head, but they quickly flow into your body.
You will definitely notice it when you are stressed.
You may feel some tension in your jaw. You may feel muscle tension. Or maybe you feel sick to your stomach pit.
The brain is constantly sending signals to the body. So the connection between mind and body is much deeper than we think.
We can soothe our emotional frustration with the power of our bodies.
Go for a walk or run, punch and scream into your pillow, or dance like crazy around the room.
Finding physical ways to let go of your emotions will help you shift your energies. Therefore, exercising is the best stress reliever.
4) Identify Your Biggest Triggers and Make a Plan
When we are stressed, we tend to feel out of control.
Doing nothing can make you feel sick.
Having a plan of action can help you feel like you’re back in the driver’s seat of your life.
The first step is to look at the biggest sources of stress and anxiety.
What can you control and what can’t you control?
Let’s be honest, there are some things we can’t change, we need to work on accepting them instead.
But there are other things we can do.
Being in control can feel empowering. Trying to identify practical solutions to your main stress triggers will probably help.
This can mean strengthening your boundaries and becoming better at saying no when you overdo it.
If you know you’re under pressure, it can mean making time for self-care.
That might mean putting some distance between you and the person you feel is pushing your buttons or having a negative impact on your life.
Ask yourself what is adding to my stress and anxiety right now. And what can I do about it?
5) Practice gratitude
When we struggle with anxiety, we find ourselves focusing on the bad.
Your mind quickly finds all potential pitfalls and problems in life.
These will only feed your anxiety and increase your stress as a result. The problem is that it is hard to stop.
You may feel controlled by disturbing thoughts and you cannot do anything about them. But instead of fighting them, you can practice gratitude.
It almost acts as an antidote.
Encourages you to return your focus to what is going well in your life.
I know it’s hard to look for what’s right when you’re in the fog of what’s “wrong.”
If you find it difficult to find something, keep looking, no matter how small or trivial.
Write down at least five things that make you feel really lucky right now.
It could be your health, your kids, or that parking lot you managed to easily put in your bag this morning.
Taking a few minutes out of your day to express gratitude is scientifically proven to:
- It helps you feel more positive emotions.
- Improve physical and mental health.
- Helps you deal with adversity.
- Improve your relationships with others.
6) Try breathwork
Some people find breathwork easier to “learn” than meditation.
To be honest, breathwork is just a form of mediation.
Because it allows you to sensuously focus on something and bring your attention to the present moment.
And the funny thing is that almost all of our problems exist only in the future or the past.
There are very few moments in the “now” that require our attention, the “now.”
But the worries we generate in our minds make us feel threatened.
Much like meditation, breathing exercises help get the body out of the harmful fight-or-flight mode that floods the body with the stress hormone cortisol.
By simply breathing a certain way, you can trick your body into relaxing and overriding this response.
Why not try it?
This Hack Spirit article presents four breathing techniques to reduce stress and anxiety.
7) talk to someone
Talking about how we feel can make a big difference.
It has potential for professionals such as therapists and psychologists. But it can just as easily become good friends and family.
I recommend letting someone know what you need first. For example, they may tend to offer unsolicited advice.
As good as it is, it can be frustrating to be on the receiving end when it’s not what you were looking for.
Often we just want a sympathetic ear to feel heard.
So make sure to let them know if you want someone’s opinion or if you just want them to hear it.
Even when you don’t feel like talking, just being with someone can help.
We all need connection. It’s especially important to turn to your support network for help when you’re struggling.
8) sleep soundly
It may not sound like a big deal, but getting enough sleep and improving your diet are extremely important to your health.
For example, there are proven links between sleep and mental and emotional health.
As the Sleep Foundation highlights:
“Adequate sleep, especially REM sleep, facilitates the processing of emotional information by the brain. During sleep, the brain evaluates and stores thoughts and memories. It appears to be particularly detrimental to entrenchment, which can affect mood and emotional reactivity, and is associated with mental health disorders and their severity.”
Additionally, studies show that a cleaner diet (consisting primarily of unprocessed, whole foods) helps with symptoms of depression and anxiety.
So this is a reminder to all of us that the basics should not be neglected.
How to relieve stress and anxiety isn’t rocket science, it’s also common sense.
9) Help others
This should probably come with a disclaimer.
If you are feeling stressed or anxious right now because you are overworked, overworked, or overcommitted, do not go out to volunteer.
But when we feel lost in our own struggles, one of the easiest ways to jump out of it is to serve someone else.
Studies show that kind people live longer and healthier lives because of an actual physical sensation known as a “helper high.”
Participants in one study reported benefits such as feeling stronger, more energetic, calmer, less depressed, and increased self-esteem.
You don’t have to spend hours to feel this effect. It’s as simple as doing something small for someone.
But taking your attention away from your own stress can actually help you take your mind off things, feel more connected, and put things in perspective.
10) Get creative
Everyone on this planet is born creative.
It is your birthright as a cosmic being.
Sound a little extreme?
Well, it’s true.
Almost every element of the human body is literally made of stardust, as it was created by a star that once exploded.
Being creative has magical powers that help you de-stress and reconnect with yourself.
It doesn’t matter what kind of creativity you choose. Of course, it doesn’t have to be Mozart. Simply let the expression flow.
dance, writing, painting, music, photography, crafts, baking, and a myriad of other creative pursuits.
But when you play, you allow yourself to be the creator that life designed you for.
Tips for a better life?
Hi. I’m Lachlan Brown, founder of Hack Spirit.
Please know that it’s okay to feel anxious, confused, and frustrated.
See, I’ve been there too.
My new e-book takes you on a journey from the days of lifting TVs in the warehouses of my lost twenties, to embracing Buddhism and creating the life of my dreams.
And reveal a step-by-step process for you to change your life in the same way…
If you’re ready to finally escape the traps of life in which you’re trapped, this eBook is what you’ve been waiting for.
If I can use the teachings of Buddhism to brighten and empower my life, so can you.
Check out my new ebook here.