Stress is a constant knock on the minds door that can be hard to shake. It can beat you down if you let it and I fell victim to it for such a long time. I still do from time to time but I have learned many techniques and skills to cope with stress and anxiety. Let me help you by sharing 10 of my top ways to fight back and get rid of some of that stress and anxiety you have bringing you down.
- “75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the past month and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year – American Psychological Association.”
- “Stress is a top health concern for U.S. teens between 9th and 12th grade, psychologists say that if they don’t learn healthy ways to manage that stress now, it could have serious long-term health implications – American Psychological Association.”
These are some alarming statistics I got from Gostress.com and if we don’t fix this, we could be in for some trouble down the road. So let’s get started.
This is a no brainer and I hate to be a broken record player because you have probably heard this a thousand times. This really helps though and if you haven’t tried it, I recommend you get out and exercise. This doesn’t always have to be strength training, it can be running, boxing, taking a class, working with a trainer, walking with your dog (which is a double whammy -see #5) or a friend. Just get out and move. This boost self-esteem and self confidence and also gets blood flowing which helps send more blood to the brain to help process thoughts easier. This also releases endorphins in the brain which is basically like sending love to your mind, body and soul to help relax and reduce stress. So what are you waiting for, get out and move around!
I used to think meditation was the biggest waist of time until I made myself do it for a month straight. Since then I try to mediate in the morning right after my workouts everyday.
Meditation may not get rid of all thoughts but it will help immensely with coping with the thoughts and making the mind feel more at ease with it. Trust me, this helps so so much. I went through such bad anxiety and when I started to use meditation for just even 5-10 minutes daily, it played a huge role in being able to fight back. I highly recommend HeadSpace. It is a guided meditation app that you can get on your phone and it has worked wonders for me as well as millions of others I’m sure. It’s a FREE app so go delete some photos to make more storage and download it!! There is also a subscription you can get for more options.
I did yoga back in high school during football and track but not daily. It helped a lot with flexibility and nerves before big games. I started doing daily yoga at the same time I started my daily meditation and they go hand in hand. These first three things on my list are literally how I start everyday and I can’t put into words how beneficial it has been for me with managing stress and anxiety on a daily basis. Yoga is a great form of mindfulness and mobility work for your body to stretch and strengthen muscles you probably forgot you had.
I highly recommend Sarah Beth’s yoga YouTube channel, it’s what I use everyday. I do a 10 minute yoga session everyday and usually try to switch it up each time. She knows her stuff and makes it so easy to follow along. Go get ya yoga on!
#4 Essential oils
I know, I sound like a hippie for this but don’t knock it until you try it! I added a lavender essential oil roll on to my bag after I had a massive break down a couple years ago with my anxiety and panic attacks. I still use it to this very day. I like the roll ons because I am on the go a lot and I can put it on my wrist for a smell I can easily have access to when needed.
They have a bunch of different scents and essential oil forms so go out and check it out and pick one that you enjoy. Lavender is popular for its calming effect but each smell has its own unique spot to help you so research and try it out!
#5 Seeing animals
This will most likely be everyones favorite part of this article. You might as well get in the car after you read this and go to a local pet store and play with the dogs. Studies show that being around an animal such as a dog can reduce stress, fear and anxiety. It does so by releasing oxytocin, which is a chemical in the brain the can increase your mood positivity.
Here is one of the studies I read about : “The effect of social support by a dog in comparison to support by a friendly human during a social stress test on the cortisol levels of children with insecure attachment representations was investigated by Beetz et al. (2011). The support by a friendly dog during the experiment was associated with significantly lower cortisol levels than support by a friendly human.”
Who doesn’t love spending time with a good boy/girl? Go give your dog some love, it will be beneficial for both of you.
#6 Talk to a friend or family member
Although it may not be as good as an animal based off of what we just read, sometimes being able to interact with another person like a good friend or close family member can be a good way to have a person to help for advise and to listen to your problems.
A study discusses how having a low quantity of social support may increase mental health effects such as depression and anxiety, this is more common in high stress situations such as low income household in the study. So find some friends and family and hangout because friend networks can gives a sense of belonging which can help get through the harder times.
#7 Reflect on positivity
I know when you are stressed or going through any kind of anxiety attack, the last thing that comes to mind is about how thankful you are to have some bomb cold pizza waiting in the fridge at home for you.
On a real note, try to write some of the things and people you are thankful for each week and carry it with you so you can reflect on positive thoughts when you get a little stressed. These can be things such as family, friends, a date with your girlfriend or boyfriend, a task that was completed, an event you have coming up, nice weather, anything really that brings enlightenment or excitement. Take 5 minutes and just reflect on some positivity, it can lighten up the mood.
#8 Write and rip
This is a little quick and easy technique you can use if you need to get a little stress anger out. Write the topic down on a small piece of paper and rip it up. Do it 2 times if you need to, just make sure you try to recycle paper if you do this more than a handful of times each day or just try one of the other 9 techniques.
#9 Laugh & smile
This kinda ties in with seeing animals in a way. When you smile and laugh it basically tricks your brain into thinking you’re happy.
There are a million ways to crack a smile and laugh. Go do something fun with your friends, family or boyfriend/girlfriend. Listen to a comedy podcast, watch comedies on Netflix, I recommend Chris D’elia, Kevin Hart and Sebastian Maniscalco. I also watch “What The Fit” Kevin Harts YouTube series, it is hilarious and you’re bound to get a laugh out.
Laughing will help relax your muscles from being tense due to the stress, so laugh it up just like Taylor and I in the picture above. I think we were laughing about the pumpkin and how giant it was, definitely was probably something else.
This may be one of the most important ones on the list and it is always overlooked. When you have a busy schedule, work a crap ton of hours, full time student, anything along those lines, you need to make time for yourself. I have a solid 2-4 hours of ME TIME almost everyday. I wake up at 4-5am, go to the gym by myself, comeback and then meditate, do yoga and then I’ll usually make breakfast and then watch a youtube video before I start my day. I get that almost everyday and it is super nice to be able to gather my thoughts and prepare to whoop the days a$s.
Start getting a little YOUTIME even if it’s a 20 minute walk in the middle of the day.
I really hope you find some takeaways that will help you because this is a subject that is important and needs more attention. Please share this with friends and family that it might help so we can decrease the amount of stress and anxiety the world fights on a daily basis. Have a good Thursday!