Eleven Effective Ways to Alleviate Anxiety
With the arrival of April comes the return of Stress Awareness Month. While stress is a natural part of life, learning ways to manage it is critical. After all, over time, stress can lead to a wide variety of mental and physical health issues, including anxiety, headaches, muscle tension, chest pain, fatigue, insomnia, depression, stomach upset, and more. To help you lower your stress levels, here are eleven tools to add to your self-love, stress-less toolbox…
Get Outside and PLAY
An excellent way to alleviate stress is through physical exercise. Go for a run, take a bike ride, play tennis or golf – whatever resonates best with you and immediately lifts your spirits. In addition, the vitamin D you absorb from your time in the sun can improve symptoms of stress.
Explore Relaxation Techniques
Sign up for a yoga class, download an app that directs your breathing, try your hand a meditation, or hit a local spa for a great massage.
Spend Time with Family and Friends
Be intentional about how you use your free time… and WHO you spend it with. Just as time spent with toxic people can raise your stress levels, there are those in your inner circle who are terrific at lowering your stress by making you laugh, listening to whatever is on your mind, encouraging and empowering you, and making you feel loved.
Take up a New Hobby or Save Time for an Old Favorite
Take an art or cooking class, read a book, learn an instrument, or try your hand at knitting a sweater – whatever takes your focus off the things that are disturbing you in favor of making you feel grounded and hopeful.
Trim Your Screen Time
If you spend a lot of time on your phone, on your laptop, or in front of the TV, chances are, you are bombarded by news streams and social media status changes. Not only can too much screen time cause overstimulation and negatively impact sleep cycles, but it can also influence your psychological well-being.
Embrace the Word “NO!”
Many people have difficulty saying “no” when asked for a favor. Know that – when your stress levels and mental health are concerned – it’s okay to take a pass on helping a friend move, taking on a new project, or pet-sitting your co-worker’s dog.
Enhance your Diet with Supplements
Science shows that some vitamins and minerals – or deficiencies in them – can lower or increase feelings of well-being and anxiety. Are you having trouble sleeping? Melatonin or ashwagandha could help you relax. Magnesium is a mineral that is often depleted in chronically stressed people, so supplementing it in your diet can help replace what you’ve lost. Add vitamin B6 to give magnesium an extra boost.
Become Your Own Biggest Fan
While self-care may feel indulgent, it can significantly lower your stress levels and shift your focus. It could be as simple as taking a bubble bath, getting a manicure, lighting aromatherapy candles, and listening to calming music.
Skip Your Morning Coffee and Midday Soda
While you may believe you can’t function without your morning coffee, the sad truth is that all that caffeine may actually enhance your anxiety and stress levels. So, while cutting caffeine, don’t limit it to coffee alone. Try to minimize your soda, tea, and energy drink intake, too.
Find Peace in an Emotional Support Animal
Whether you’re a cat, dog, rabbit, or reptile person, studies show that every time humans cuddle with a pet, our bodies release oxytocin – a hormone released by the pituitary gland that is tied to positive feelings. Not to mention, owning a pet provides companionship, fills you with a sense of purpose, and keeps you active.
Let Someone Else Cook for You
On those days when stress is high, tap someone else to do the cooking. Whether you treat yourself to a night out at a local restaurant like Woody’s Bar-B-Q or place an online order to pick up on your way home from work, you’re alleviating the stress of having to cook and clean that night. Making comfort foods part of the meal gives you a double whammy of stress reduction. Look to foods that bring you a sense of comfort – reminding you of your childhood or rekindling memories of a favorite place. To find the Woody’s Bar-B-Q near you and view our menu, visit www.Woodys.com.