Stress Management Techniques for Anxious People
We are collectively going through stressful times. Learning to cope with stress is crucial for our overall well-being and quality of life. Here are some stress management techniques for people who feel particularly anxious.
First, identify the causes of your stress. Knowing exactly why you are feeling stressed will help you better handle your situation and state of mind. They can be difficult to retrace and be a combination of multiple factors, but it’s worth the effort of finding out. Stressors typically share one or many of these characteristics: you are experiencing stress because of something new or unknown, unpredictable, threatening, or out of control. Second, observe how you feel that stress through your senses – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Is your heart beating fast? Do you have sweaty hands? Do you feel jumpy? Third, remember what you have done in the past in response to a comparable situation that made you feel better. Have a notebook specifically for the purpose of coping with stress if it helps.
That’s right. Remember to do the thing you do nonstop to keep yourself alive. When going through tough moments or confronted with a difficult decision to make, remember to breathe. The same goes for when you’re in a panic, remember to breathe. When faced with a small annoyance, like being stuck in traffic or waiting in a long lineup, remember to breathe. To reduce your stress levels or deescalate a tense situation, take several deep breaths. Start by getting comfortable. Breathe in slowly through your nose, down to the lower belly, and feel it rise. Exhale. Repeat as often as needed. Deep breathing helps with better oxygenation, a lower heart rate, and a more stable blood pressure. To help you relax while focusing on your breathing, close your eyes.
Another very effective stress management technique is stretching exercises. Simple enough to do just about anywhere and anytime, it takes only a few seconds before feeling the immediate benefit. Stretching does a ton of good for your well-being. It helps with mobility, flexibility, posture, lean muscles and it prevents injuries. Whether you are sitting all day or in the same position for a long period of time, take a few short breaks throughout the day for some stretching of the shoulders, neck, lower back, legs, etc.
Prepare and prioritize
We all have limited time and resources. Figure out what’s important in your life and make them a priority. Be realistic about what you can do. Get comfortable saying no to things. For things over which you have control, preparation greatly contributes to lowering your level of stress.
Switch to a positive outlook
Stress levels are up to us. Our response to stress can make things worse or better for us. We are directly responsible for our response to stress. Having identified and understood our stressors, it becomes much easier to know which aspects of a stressful situation are within our control and which aren’t. This awareness will then help us better accept the things we cannot control. Put things in perspective and invite a more positive outlook in life. Will this problem matter a year from now? What could be the silver lining? What’s positive about this situation? What about it am I grateful for? Keeping optimism and hope will help lower stress levels. If actively looking for the positive is too hard, start by forcing a smile in front of the mirror and hold it for ten seconds. You’ve got this. You will be fine.
We are social animals. Don’t be alone. Be surrounded. Seek to connect regularly with close friends and family. Have friendly chats or confide in people you trust. It feels good to talk about our problems sometimes, share stories, and empathize with one another. Loved ones might not fix everything, but the simple act of listening makes a huge difference. If these are severe problems, don’t be afraid to seek help from health professionals.
Sufficient sleep. Balanced meals. Regular physical activity. Nothing new. Extremely important stress management techniques that are easily overlooked!
Other effective stress management techniques involve various methods of relaxation, such as guided meditation, yoga sessions, the active practice of mindfulness, and other spiritual practices. These are special moments that allow us to look inward and shut some of the unnecessary noises and other stressful thoughts in our minds.
Helping others can do wonders as a stress management technique. This is another way of putting our own problems into perspective.
What activities make you forget time? Which kinds of videos or memes make you laugh? What is your passion project? What could you do to temporarily shut your worries off? For stressful circumstances outside of our control, like a pandemic on a global scale, distraction might be the solution. Occupy your mind with something creative or entertaining. You deserve some laughter and enjoyment.
Shirley is a Vacation Tracker occasional contributor. She’s held a few positions in communications, marketing and copywriting. When she’s not at her laptop, you can find her daydreaming about her laptop and chasing the sun while people watching.