Experiencing stress and anxiety is more common than you might think. Our fast-paced life can present many situations that might lead to burnout and feeling emotionally exhausted and anxious.
Consequently, we often resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms to get rid of feelings of anxiety and stress. Unfortunately, these coping methods often include drugs, alcohol, or prescription medication. Although they may seem like a good solution, they only provide temporary relief. Moreover, using drugs and alcohol can also give birth to other side effects that can harm your quality of life.
However, there are several healthy ways to cope with the stressors of daily life. These mostly include lifestyle changes that can significantly impact your overall mental well-being. So, here are some effective and healthy ways to deal with anxiety and stress and improve your mental health:
1. Say no to smoking
When you ask people why they smoke, the most common answer is to reduce stress. Many people believe that smoking is a great way to reduce stress. While this is true to some extent, it is not a healthy or long-term solution.
When you smoke, the nicotine reaches your brain in less than ten seconds. This helps you relax, improves mood, relaxes the muscles, and decreases appetite. So, you feel good but for a short time.
However, chain-smoking can lead to specific changes in your brain. This can lead you to experience signs of nicotine addiction if you cannot smoke for any reason. In addition, these withdrawal symptoms can give rise to additional anxiety and stress.
Apart from this, smoking can also cause several health issues. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 million people live with a smoking-related disease in the USA. So, it is necessary to stay away from smoking at all costs. Moreover, it is advised to reduce smoking if you already smoke. It may seem hard initially but is beneficial in the long term.
2. Let it out
Keeping your feelings bottled up can often worsen situations. You may feel like no one will understand your struggles, but that is not necessarily true. So, you should talk to a friend or a loved one about your problems.
Talking about your issues is an excellent way to let them out. You may not find a solution immediately, but it will considerably lessen your burden. Venting is a great way to work through your feelings, express your emotions and fully experience what you are feeling. It can also lead to catharsis. Moreover, the emotional support you receive can work wonders for your mental health and help you realize that you are not alone.
The benefits of talking or venting are also backed up by evidence. Research also suggests that talking is a great way to relieve stress. For instance, a study found that talking about problems with your coworkers can help you work through your emotions and also help you bond with your coworkers.
3. Hit the gym
Exercise might be at the bottom of your list when you feel emotionally overwhelmed. However, exercise is proven to work wonders for your mental health. Exercise helps release endorphins, also known as the feel-good hormone. This improves your mood and concentration and lowers symptoms of anxiety.
Here are some of the many benefits of exercise that can help reduce stress and anxiety:
- Exercise reduces trouble sleeping and improves the quality of sleep as well.
- It keeps you physically fit and reduces the chances of falling sick.
- It elevates stress and helps you relax.
- It boosts self-esteem.
- It helps you feel energized.
4. Reduce your caffeine intake
Caffeine is an important part of our lives. 85% of the US population consumes some form of caffeine every day. However, high amounts of caffeine can cause anxiety. Additionally, caffeine can also worsen existing anxiety disorders.
So, if you experience anxiety regularly, it is recommended to cut down on your caffeine intake. Although leaving caffeine altogether may seem hard, it can be made easier with the help of moderation. So, for instance, you can cut down to two normal-sized cups of coffee a day if you currently drink more than that. In addition, you can replace coffee with other alternatives such as matcha tea, golden milk, and lemon water.
5. Create a sleep schedule
Creating and sticking to a sleep schedule is an effective way to deal with anxiety. However, lack of sleep can be harmful to your mental health. For instance, it can cause irritability, anxiety, stress, and problems concentrating.
So, it is recommended to sleep for at least 7 hours or more every night. If you have trouble sleeping, you can establish a bedtime routine to help you relax. For example, you can engage in some light stretching or yoga or read a book before bed. It is also important to limit your screen time before going to sleep.
- Focus on the present
Anxiety is often experienced due to uncertainty regarding the outcome of a future event. However, overthinking about certain things and worrying too much is not helpful. It is necessary to realize that some things are not in your control.
So, if you often feel anxious about future events, such as a meeting next week or an upcoming trip, try to stop thinking about it. Instead, you should try to live in the moment and focus on what lies right in front. Moreover, if you still feel worried, you can list things according to their priority and tackle the problems individually.
It is necessary to take it one day at a time and focus on other problems when the time comes. Obsessing the future can make you miss out on exciting things in your present and may lead to regrets.
7. Take a little me-time
Everyone needs a little time to themselves to detox and relax. However, if your routine mainly includes going to work and back home, or if you work in your free time, you need to step back. Working too much can lead to burnout, cause you to feel overwhelmed, and cause stress. This can negatively impact your overall well-being.
So, it is important to have certain hobbies that give you pleasure and help you relieve stress. Such activities can include anything that gives you joy, like reading, painting listening to music, etc. In addition, taking time for yourself and doing what you love can also take your mind off stressful things.
Feeling stressed or anxious is common and inevitable. There are many stressors in our daily life, such as work and family or personal obligations. As a result, we often resort to unhealthy methods to relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety, such as drugs or alcohol. However, they have several side effects and only offer temporary relief.
So, it is necessary to practice healthy habits that can help you overcome stress and anxiety. These include exercising, talking to a friend, self-care, and more.