14 Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Stress
For many stress and anxiety have become part and parcel of modern life. We live in a time where many are tethered to a mobile device, social media feed, or email inbox. Media and news outlets bombard us with alerts and updates around the clock and for an increasing number of people there is a blurred line between work and home life.
In fact, a recent study by the American Psychological Association found that two-thirds of Americans experience stress during their day-to-day lives. Whether you're overwhelmed with work commitments, feeling the pressure of financial worries, or struggling to find balance in your life, it can be tough to deal with stress and anxiety. The good news is, there are ways you can experience less stress and more happiness in your life. In this article, you'll learn 14 powerful tips that can help you reduce stress and anxiety; adopting a few of these strategies can have a dramatic impact on your reducing stress levels. If you want to take back control of your mental health, this article is essential reading.
What is Anxiety?
According to Health Direct, "anxiety is the body’s physical response to a threat or perceived threat. It causes a pounding heart, rapid breathing, butterflies in the stomach and a burst of energy as well as mental responses such as excessive fears, worries or obsessive thinking."
Signs of Anxiety
The Mayo Clinic lists some of the most common anxiety symptoms:
- Rapid Breathing
- Increased Heart Rate
- Trouble Concentrating
We all experience some level of stress and despite its negative connotation not all stress is bad. In fact, some stress can boost our alertness or give us the impetus to complete undesired tasks; however, when stress is prolonged it can begin to take a toll on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The National Library of Medicine defines stress "as a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous."
Signs of Stress Overload:
Here are some common signs of stress overload:
- Sleep Problems
- Drug and/or Alcohol abuse
Ways to Reduce Stress and Tension
A good night's sleep is paramount when dealing with a stressful situation(s), and a sleep routine can help you to de-stress:
- Set a consistent sleep time
- Reduce electronic devices such as cell phones, televisions, and computers
- Ensure that your bedroom is dark (free from light)
- Practice meditation for sleep - there are many free YouTube videos on this topic
The importance of adequate rest to your overall health and well being cannot be overstated. In fact, there are entire blogs devoted to this topic which underscores its importance. One of our favorite in-depth articles examines the link between sleep and mental health.
Each of us is aware of the health benefits of regular sustained exercise yet only a few engage in these activities. The reasons are many: too boring, not enough time, childcare responsibilities, exhaustion and stress. Wait a minute did I just say stress? Well as it turns out exercise may help to relieve your stress by increasing blood flow, strengthening the heart, and taking your mind off of day-to-day worries even if it's just for a short time. My advice would be to wake up a bit earlier than usual and do what you can, alternatively, you can break out your workouts into shorter sessions. Your body will love you for it!
Talk with a Friend
Friends are among life's greatest treasures, and true friends support us through life's ups and downs. A good friend will listen deeply and compassionately without judgement, acknowledge your feelings, and be there for you as much as possible. We should all be blessed with such gems.
Keeping a journal of what ails you can be very cathartic and provide a release for pent up emotions. Writing may also prevent you from ruminating on life's pressures; journaling may be especially helpful if you feel alone and unsupported in your tribulations. There are many different types of journals from the traditional diary to an artistic journal. Choose a journal that suits your needs and style and start writing today.
Learn to Say No
If you play an essential role in many people's lives it may be difficult for you to say no, but not doing so from time-to-time may lead to stress, exhaustion, burnout, and anger. Remember that your health and well-being matter too.
Practice a Spirit of Gratitude
Do you read emails while talking on the phone, work while tutoring your children, or text while carrying on a conversation? If you answered yes to any of these questions you're engaging in multitasking. On the surface multitasking may seem like a great way to get a lot done all at once but did you know that it can multiply your stress? William Klemm, Ph.D is a senior professor of Neuroscience at Texas A&M University, and he writes about the perils of multitasking and how to overcome it.
Let Some Things Go
Do you demand perfection from yourself? Do you feel a pressure to maintain an immaculate home, present a faultless life, execute flawless parties or other celebrations, and/or be a perfect host/hostess? The drive to attain perfection in an imperfect world can lead to stress and worry. Despite what some may say, it's hard to do it all. Sometimes, you have to let some things go.
Ways to Relieve Anxiety
Here are some other tips; practicing any or all these activities may help to alleviate some of your anxiety symptoms:
Create a Sanctuary in Your Home
Turn a room in your home into a calming sanctuary; this may be a bathroom, office room, walk-in closet, balcony, or bedroom. Aromatherapy candles, essential oils, relaxing music, a diffuser, flowers, and decorative rocks can be added to create a soothing and peaceful oasis. Furthermore color psychology provides insight into colors that can enhance your well-being.
Practice Deep Breathing
When you feel anxious deep breathing may be of benefit. Think of situations that trigger your anxiety; they may be related to work demands, financial problems, health concerns, relationship issues or family members. Have you noticed how your breathing changes under these circumstances? You may begin to breathe more quickly taking shallow breaths which can lead to an increased heart rate, panic, trembling, dizziness, and difficulty focusing. Deep breathing can improve your sense of calm and may ease your anxiety. Specific deep breathing exercises can be found in the blog titled How Do I Practice Deep Breathing for Anxiety?
Surround Yourself with Positive People
Positive people exude happiness and joy, and their infectious nature rubs off on all who are lucky enough to be in their presence. I wrote about my aunt who is one such person. Her spirit of gratitude allows her to focus on life's blessings, and whenever we speak I feel uplifted. People who are positive build you up, listen fully, encourage you, are non-judgmental, and often help to view life's problems from a different perspective. They enrich our lives and remind us to see the glass as half full. So, how do you attract these people? Sarah Barkley has written a wonderful blog titled 10 Things You Can Do to Attract Positive People.
Focus on the Present
Spiritual teacher and self-help author Ekhart Tolle reminds us that life happens right now: "your entire life only happens in this moment. The present moment is life itself. Yet, people live as if the opposite were true and treat the present moment as a stepping stone to the next moment - a means to an end."
Crystals for Anxiety & Stress
Sodalite for Emotional Balance
Known as the poet's stone, Sodalite was one of the first crystals that I became familiar with when searching for ways to cope with ongoing anxiety and panic attacks while going through a very stressful period due to a demanding work environment that I was unable to change for many years, try as I might. As my ability to deal with my job stresses began to erode and my anxiety and panic attacks spiraled, I began to search for alternate ways to cope until I could change my situation. This search led me to Sodalite, a dark blue high vibration crystal that is purported to help restore emotional balance and calm panic attacks. Sodalite possesses a harmonious energy and this crystal along with mindfulness meditation helped to bring my mental state back into equilibrium many a time. It is a potent crystal that can help with anxiety. Sodalite, whose name is derived from the chemical element sodium, possesses a dark blue color with flecks of white. Today the stone is primarily found in Afghanistan, Canada, Brazil, Italy, Greenland, and the United States. You can buy a Sodalite bracelet here.
Rose Quartz for Relationships
Arguably the most well-known crystal, Rose Quartz is popularly known as the Stone of Love and is a member of the quartz family. Often found in Brazil, Namibia, South Africa, Madagascar, and South Dakota, this stone ranges in color from light pale pink to a deep hot pink hue depending on the amount of manganese and titanium that it contains. Rose Quartz emits a gentle, soothing, nurturing, yet powerful energy and is particularly helpful to ease anxiety that is related to love, emotions, and heartache. This translucent stone is a source of positive healing and one of the best crystals for anxiety. If your relationships with others are at the root of your feelings of anxiety, this crystal may help to thwart those feelings and induce a sense of peace. You can buy a Rose Quartz bracelet here.
Amethyst to Ease Worries
Lepidolite for Calm
Howlite to Reduce Stress
Whenever you are experiencing stress and anxiety Howlite is a great stone to turn to. This white stone with the black veins running throughout can be used to calm a harried state of mind, absorb tension and stress, and eliminate grief, trauma, and pain. If your anxiety is keeping you up at night Howlite can help you to attain a deep restful sleep when tucked under your pillow or placed close to your bed. Its soothing and peaceful energy can also help diffuse anger, ill temper, and aggression in both yourself and others. This stone is the perfect anecdote to help you destress and pacify your emotions. Today Howlite is found mainly in the United States and Canada, where it was first discovered in 1868. You can buy a Howlite bracelet here.
Citrine to Invoke Optimism
Like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day, Citrine can inject a dose of joy, energy, and optimism during fearful and anxious times and help balance your emotions. Ranging from a pale yellow color to almost brown, this crystal can assuage performance anxiety, improve your energy, drive, and self-confidence, and elevate your mood. It is often said that Citrine is Amethyst's sister as much of the Citrine today is derived from heating amethyst to extremely high temperatures. If your feelings of anxiety stem from fear of undertaking a new venture or your career ambitions this is the crystal for you. Often called the 'Merchant Stone,' it can be used to promote success, luck, and good fortune in business and inspire you to take action to achieve your goals and ambitions. You can buy a Citrine bracelet here
How to Use Crystals
There are many ways to use crystals to de-stress and relieve anxiety symptoms:
- Wear your crystals by placing them around your wrist, neck, or even tucked in your bra
- Carry them in your purse throughout the day
- Sleep with a crystal tucked under your pillow at night
- Place a crystal in a room or area when you need its healing energy
- Add them to your meditation practice to raise your consciousness
Seek Professional Help
If your anxiety symptoms and feelings of stress are chronic and debilitating do not be afraid to seek professional help. Remember your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
The information provided by Little Crystals is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any diseases. Please consult a qualified health care professional for medical advice. This blog is for educational purposes only. If you enjoyed this content, please subscribe to our mailing list.