Meditation or Yoga. Both involve a focus on calming your body and entering a state of relaxation. The idea behind this common recommendation is that you become more aware of your body and learn to sense when stress is affecting you. As you practice learning how to relax, you are able to calm yourself more often and more effectively when you do feel stress.
Calming Activities. If yoga or meditation isn’t your thing, that’s ok and you can substitute it for something else. You can go for a run, you can read a book, you can get together with your best friends, or you can watch a couple of favorite movies. Recognize when you need to take the time to do these things to refresh yourself so you can be more effective in other areas of your life. Indulge yourself in outside activities! There is nothing more relaxing than the beautiful outdoors!
Fix Your Posture. When under stress, we tend to tense up. Even mundane stresses over the course of a work day can cause us to strain. Sit up straight and roll your shoulders back and down from time to time. Take breaks to walk around, maybe take the stairs instead of the elevator. Rolling your head from shoulder to shoulder will help to loosen up a tense neck. If you have a desk job, remember to keep a straight back to promote healthy blood flow. An achy neck and back can be due to poor posture!
Breathe Deep. Over the course of a work day, and especially when under stress, we tend to switch over to a shallow breathing pattern. Take slow, long deep breaths and see how this impacts you. Likely you will notice that your heart rate slows down, relaxes your muscles, and brings you calmness. If you feel overwhelmed, stop, close your eyes and take long deep breaths for 30 seconds.
Remove Yourself. At the first hint of stress, immediately remove yourself from the situation. Of course, this isn’t always possible. You can remove yourself from the stress without removing yourself from your physical location by taking deep breaths and thinking of calming places or situations. Listen to music before you make that phone call. Imagine yourself on a beach during the intermission of a tough meeting.
Know Yourself. Learn about your stress triggers. Is there a time of day or day of the week that is most stressful for you? Are there specific tasks or activities that cause you anxiety? Is your daily commute the hazard? Perhaps being around a certain person causes you stress. Look for patterns and insert coping techniques into your week strategically. If you’re having trouble finding your triggers, try writing down the time, day, and a brief description of the situation to help you find a pattern.
Reward Yourself. It’s okay to spoil yourself once and a while to relieve the stress of daily life. Get your nails done, get a new haircut, or maybe go shopping. If finances don’t allow those things, indulge in the simple pleasure of going to the park or maybe the beach for a day in the sun with a good book or friend! It’s good to have “you” time!
Sleep. Although daily stress causes anxiety, a lack of sleep can contribute to greater stress levels as well as higher anxiety levels. Every adult needs at least eight hours of sleep every night to be able to efficiently focus and deal with a full day of work! If sleeping is an issue, try going to sleep earlier. Taking deeper breaths, avoiding loud noises and bright lights will help to calm yourself down for restful sleep. If thoughts are keeping you from calming down for sleep, remember the breathing exercises. Imagine a box filled with all your stress then imagine tightly closing the box and putting it aside. If you’re having trouble sleeping and the exercises aren’t helping, speak to your primary physician about getting help for your sleep.