How to relieve stress and anxiety: 7 simple ways you should know
Anxiety and stress are the main problems of this century. Today life is much faster and more hectic, so we no longer have time or a way to look inside.
However, they are basic emotions and feelings that are useful to our organism for survival. They characterize the “fight or flight” system. This consists of raising the guard level, which is essential for overcoming dangerous situations.
Nonetheless, the number of people suffering from a chronic condition is alarming. Even unknowingly.
What’s the difference between stress and anxiety
Let’s start with the definition of anxiety. It must first be distinguished from fear. The latter is the oldest emotion that makes us react to imminent danger. Anxiety, on the other hand, is an emotion that is the result of a subjective elaboration, which makes us fear for a future, near or distant event. Therefore, it is the result of our meaning that we attribute to the event more than to itself.
Stress, on the other hand, is that state of nervous tension, often not consciously felt. It is created when a person feels unsuitable and not ready for a certain situation.
The two emotions of anxiety and stress can be perceived with symptoms as an increase in palpitations, tachycardia and rapid breathing.
Why anxiety and stress are dangerous for your health
The problem exists when anxiety and stress are a habitual condition. Millions of people are immersed in this emotional state day and night. Over time, it can cause both psychological and physical damage.
Therefore, it is important to recognize our recurring malaise and to start doing something to reduce it. Do not fear! You are not alone, serenity and tranquillity are a right and within everyone’s reach.
Below we will discover how to recognize anxiety and stress and 7 useful tips to reduce this destructive state and finally live worthily.
Difference between physiological and pathological anxiety
There are two types of anxiety: physiological and pathological. Physiological anxiety is useful because it allows us to prepare for a critical and important event. The assiduous and careful study before an exam or competition is an example. It is essential because it allows us to raise the level of attention and improve performance.
Pathological anxiety is that which, instead of strengthening us, inhibits us from acting. It is what prevents us from studying for an exam or creates concern for a situation that does not require it.
It can be defined as the fear of pain, that is, fear that it may be experienced in the future. Therefore, full disinterest in the present, for the here and now.
How to manage and reduce stress and anxiety
Prolonged anxiety and stress have both internal and external causes, so to eliminate them you need to act on several fronts. Let’s see some useful tips.
1. Sharing the suffering
This is the first step to take after becoming aware that you have this problem. Trusting someone about our problems is vital to release some emotional tension. Sometimes, even just letting off steam creates a sense of release from a burden we have held to ourselves for a long time.
Giving importance to the feedback we receive is also important, whatever it is. Seeing the situation from another point of view allows us to understand that, after all, it may not be as serious as we think. Seeing the cause of our anxiety from the outside allows us to contain it, sometimes understanding its lack of motivation.
2. Having a healthy social life to relieve tension
This step is directly related to the first. Spending time with friends and family allows us to release tension, to distract excessive attention from our fear.
However, you have to be careful about the people you hang out with. In these situations, it is easy to feel alone. So it’s also easy to make toxic friendships that are addictive rather than enriching. We need to spend time with people who give us tranquillity and serenity. Positive, sincere and genuine people.
3. Give more credit to the importance rather than the urgency
In times of high pressure, where we have lots of cats to peel, it’s easy to get frantic. In these cases the stress increases, the more we allow ourselves to be invaded by it and the more likely we will make the decision wrong.
Pause for a moment. Take a break to clarify the situation in your head. What is really important to you? Not at the moment but more generally. What really matters? Is it really necessary to take care of this at the moment?
Dwight Eisenhower said: “What is important is rarely urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”
So, take a break, think carefully about what really matters to you and take action!
4. Use relaxation techniques
There are many relaxation techniques. Autogenic training, yoga, meditation, mindfulness. Each can be effective for someone and vice versa for someone else.
However, what is really important for relaxation is breathing. In recent studies, it has been shown that some neurons that control anxiety reside in the air of respiratory control. This means that the state of mind is in symbiosis with the breath.
In human physiology, the anatomical structure can change the function, but in turn, the function also changes the anatomy.
In summary, taking deep diaphragmatic breaths (with the belly instead of the neck muscles) predisposes to relaxation. Also, it is important to do this when you are alone, in a comfortable position and without disturbing background noise.
5. Play sports to lower the levels of the stress hormone
Sports activity is also healthy for our mind. Not necessarily a long and tiring activity, even 20 minutes of walking a day is enough.
Movement is well known to lower cortisol levels in the blood, and increase endorphins (feel-good hormones). In addition, it increases self-esteem and is also useful for relieving tension and nervousness.
If possible, do outdoor sports, contact with nature is very important to combat stress and anxiety.
6. Have an evening routine
Good sleep is a prerequisite for having a good and peaceful day. People with sleep disorders are more prone to suffering from depression, anxiety and stress. An optimal amount of rest involves 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
In addition, it is recommended to go to sleep regularly, that is, always at the same time. The body gets used to our rhythms, if we always change the time we go to bed it will be difficult to rest well.
So, if you suffer from serious sleep problems, contact your doctor immediately, he could help you. There are various solutions to help you sleep optimally.
7. Eat well
Finally, to reduce anxiety and stress, it is necessary to eat healthy and regular meals. Do not exceed after hours. Also, enrich your meals with fruits and vegetables, especially with lots of fresh foods. Avoid all those substances that have an exciting effect such as caffeine and theine. Cut down on alcohol consumption.
Finally, avoid eating out of nervousness, how many people do it? It is easy to react to stress by eating nervously. Nonetheless, it is wrong and does nothing but fuel our malaise.
How to manage anxiety
We have seen some useful actions to improve our psychophysical state during difficult times.
However, in the management of anxiety it is sometimes necessary to prescribe drugs. Don’t be ashamed to consult a specialist if you can’t solve your problem. He could really lead you to serenity. Remember that it is everyone’s right, even yours.
However, drugs alone are not enough, we need to intervene on several fronts to solve the problem of anxiety and stress. As we have seen, the management of emotions ranges from rest to breathing, from nutrition to sport. What matters is to take a positive attitude and focus on the solution rather than the problem.
So, start today! Remarkable results can be achieved by growing and improving more and more.