Stress and anxiety are both things that we all experience at some point in our lives. With the unfortunate circumstances of having bouts of stress and/or anxiety comes even more stress and anxiety. Stress causing more stress, who would have thought that was a thing?
Good news is with stress and anxiety comes coping mechanisms that you can take advantage of. This “stress management” tool is great to use when it comes to bringing yourself back to center. They key to getting this tool is to figure out what works best for you – what calms you down, gets your breath and heart rate back to normal, and what makes you feel at peace.
Before I hop into some of these stress and anxiety reducing tools – I would like to note that I am in no way telling you that any of these tools will get rid of your stress and anxiety. These tools are practices that I have found help me reduce stress and anxiety. My hope is that in sharing some of these practices with you, you’ll also be able to cope a little bit easier.
One of the most effective tools in my stress and anxiety reduction is meditation. This is a tool that I like to practice is different settings. Stress and anxiety doesn’t discriminate on when or where it is going to hit you – so it is good to be able to implement your tools in multiple places.
At work, I’ll lock myself in my office. At home, I’ll go for a walk. At the store, I’ll get through shopping for what I need and go sit in my car. Meditation can be practiced no matter where you are.
Wherever I may be I make sure to dedicate a minimum of five minutes. I’ll silence my phone, shut my laptop, and focus on my breathing. Inhaling for four counts and exhaling for four counts. Breathing in the good thoughts. Breathing out the bad.
Another great tool to use in the world of stress and anxiety is affirmations. Specifically daily affirmations geared towards your own situation. This may take a little bit of homework on your part – in that you pay attention to where your thoughts first go when stress and anxiety are creeping up on you.
For example, I personally go to a place of self doubt and extreme lack of confidence. Due to this I’ve geared my affirmations towards these feelings and tell myself “I am strong, I am brave, I am bold, I am me.”
Limit Caffeine Intake
As a coffee lover this one doesn’t come naturally to me by any means. With that being said, during times of anxiety saying no to that cup of coffee is one of the best things I could do. Caffeine can make anxiety symptoms a lot worse than they already are, or can even trigger anxiety.
Being that I tend to naturally run very high on the anxiety scale I decided to do a little experiment with my morning caffeine intake (geared more so towards coffee). With this I found that drinking even a drop of coffee outside my one cup in the morning brings on high stress and anxiety levels before I even make it to work.
Count to Ten
This one sounds pretty simple but is so effective. When stress and/or anxiety hits you take a deep breath and counting to ten (or down from ten) is taking control right away. This starts you off on the right foot as you don’t want stress or anxiety to take control of you, you control it.
The tool of counting slowly allows you to take your focus off of the situation and put it on the numbers. It’s a quick switch of focus which aides your brain in realizing that it’s ok. Taking you out of fight or flight mode.
Accepting a situation for what it is can be one of the most powerful tools you keep in your back pocket. Take every situation for what it is and nothing more than that. In the moment asking yourself if this is really the worst of situations.
Knowing that things could always be worse than they are will put things into perspective when it comes to your stress and anxiety. Having the realization of a situation being what it is can really help you keep those stress levels low.
In the midst of a situation shift your focus to find at least one good thing from it will guide you in shifting your focus.
Talk To Someone
The last of the tools I’m going to share with you today is to talk to someone. Talking can seem like a pretty scary thing but I promise you it’s worth taking that leap. Having one or two people to go to allows you to get everything out.
Believe it or not, simply just talking your stress and anxiety into the universe is a stress reliever in itself. Not having a conversation about it, but just putting it out there and moving on from it.