Reducing Stress

Learn some simple strategies that will help you calm anxiety, now.

While some anxiety is not a bad thing, like feeling anxious before an exam. You don't want it to take over. If you don't stop feeling anxious after the exam, then you may want to bring in some stress reduction strategies to your life.

Learn how to calm anxiety.

Research has found that about 40 million Americans live with an anxiety disorder. This is more than the occasional anxiety or fear. This is when the anxiety doesn't stop. This can affect your sleep, and also your focus. If it goes untreated, it can affect your health.

It's important to look at treating your anxiety disorder with talk therapy and medication. But, everyone can benefit from other ways to reduce the stress and anxiety in their life.You need to take a look at your lifestyle. You need to eat a balanced diet, limit alcohol and caffeine, and take time for yourself.

Here are five strategies to help calm your anxiety:

  1. Breathe in and out. Start by taking a deep breathe. All you have to do is breath in and out. Whenever you feel like your thoughts just won't stop. Take ten deep breathes. This will help slow things down.
  2. Stay in one time zone. You are worried about the future. There isn't a lot you can do about it, so, stay in the present. It's alright to plan ahead, but you need to stop obsessing about it. I find most of the time people predict that the future will be horrible. When you actually don't know how it will be. This will only increase stress in your life. It will also take you away from enjoying the present moment. When was the last time you stopped and looked at the cloud formation?
  3. Watch a funny video. This may sound easy, but it is often overlooked. Laughing is good for you. There are many funny videos to watch, just pick one. Research has shown that laughter can actually decrease anxiety, and ease your mind.
  4. Call or text a friend. When all else fails, talk it out. It's important that you have positive and supportive friends. This means they won't be judgmental. This will also give you the space you need to work things through. This is also known as a second opinion. 
  5. Stop and do a reality check. When you have anxiety, it's easy to fixate on the worst case scenario. Stop and ask yourself if there is any truth to this? You can also ask a friend to do a reality check with you. You have a big presentation coming up at work. It's easy to tell yourself you will bomb it, or that no one will like it. Instead of looking at what could go wrong, look at what could go well. This will help change your thought process.

Don't let your thoughts get the best of you. It's easy for your mind to lie to you. This means you can't believe everything that you tell yourself. You also need to stay away from comparing yourself to others. This will only make you feel worse.

One thought that I keep close is that there is always someone with more and there is always someone with less. What does this mean? You aren't special. In life you go through many highs and lows. What's important is that you take good care of your mind.

Set aside time everyday for yourself. Ten minutes of meditation or mindfulness. Even five minutes of deep breathing. This doesn't mean that you are doing nothing. This means you are giving your mind a rest. You are not a machine, you can't keep going. If you do, you will eventually crash. Start today with one of these strategies. Remember, small steps lead to big steps.

If you liked what you read, there is more in Reducing Stress. There are many simple but effective strategies to help you reduce the stress in your life right now.

Lianne Avila is a Marriage & Family Therapist helping people in San Mateo, CA who are looking to create a life that is happier and more fulfilling. Please subscribe to Lianne’s newsletter on www.LessonsforLove.com to learn more about her services and expertise.

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