How to handle stress and anxiety with ease
Stress and anxiety are a part of our daily lives. Learning how to handle stress and anxiety is essential to being able to manage our lives in the most productive and satisfying manner should be easy and simple. Sadly, it’s not. It just can’t be, can it? I mean, look at all the self-help books, videos, seminars, classes and advice on the different methods available. You can spend thousands of dollars and still the relaxation you are looking for eludes you. Sometimes it seems we are chasing a dream. So, lets stop chasing that elusive dream and look at some practicable habits to develop without adding to the stress.
Stress is as much a part of our lives as the air we breathe. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, defines stress as: Physiological or biological stress is an organism’s response to a stressor such as an environmental condition. Stress is the body’s method of reacting to a condition such as a threat, challenge, or physical and psychological barrier. Wikipedia defines anxiety as: An emotion characterized by an unpleasant state of inner turmoil; unpleasant feelings of dread over anticipated events; and as a feeling of uneasiness and worry.
External factors and internal factors are combining to have an effect us. And sometimes these negative affects overpower and take control of our lives. Often enough, we have no control over the external factors. The world is slightly out of our area of responsibility and just keeping the internal factors rational sometimes requires extensive outside assistance. But there is hope on how to handle stress and anxiety with ease. Three habits to develop in our lives:
- Rest– Sleep well and wake up early
- Education– Self education is key
- Exercise– “Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”
Rest or Relaxation
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” (Benjamin Franklin) is a quote I remember AD Wright being fond of. As a kid, I heard it several times a week as he headed down the hall to his bedroom while I sat up watching TV. I only vaguely remember hearing it when I had to get up early for chores.
During sleep, most of the body’s systems are in a growth state, helping to restore the immune, nervous, skeletal, and muscular systems; these are vital processes that maintain mood, memory, and cognitive function, and play a large role in the function of the endocrine and immune systems. Or, simply put, your body is healing from the days activities and your mind is processing and storing the information it has received during the day.
Smart parents know to have a routine for bed for their toddlers. A set pattern eases the child into a relaxed state and allows for a smooth transition to sleep. Somewhere along the way to becoming an adult, we seem to lose that routine. Bring it back. Begin with a set bedtime, and allow extra time to develop a routine. Scented candles or essential oils, soft music, a few minutes for a period of relaxation or meditation. Take a moment to release negative thoughts and emotions. Take some deep breaths and go to bed with a clear mind and positive thoughts.
In the morning, don’t automatically hit the snooze button. Use that 5 minutes to breathe deeply and stretch, Feel yourself come awake and fill your thoughts with positive messages. Sleep well and wake up early!
The owner of a multi-million dollar business has different environmental conditions than the mail-room worker. The external factors (stress) is different. The internal factors (anxiety) are very similar. The more familiar the environment, the more knowledgeable you are about the conditions can lead to a more relaxed outlook on your position. Professional knowledge can reduce stress and the knowledge leads to increased skill sets, helping to reduce anxiety.
And don’t forget the pleasure of education just for education. Set aside some time to learn more about your hobby or for something you wish to learn about. Reading is the best way to relax and even six minutes can be enough to reduce stress levels by more than two-thirds and to slow down the heart rate and ease tension in the muscles, according to research by the consultancy agency Mindlab International at the University of Sussex in 2009. If 6 minutes can help this much, imagine what reading for an hour a day could do! Self education is key!
Exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness. Proper nutrition is as important to health as exercise. When exercising, it becomes even more important to have a good diet to ensure that the body has the correct ratio of macronutrients while providing ample micronutrients, in order to aid the body with the recovery process following strenuous exercise.
Exercise is performed for various reasons, including increasing growth and development, preventing aging, strengthening muscles and the cardiovascular system, honingatheltic skills, weight loss or maintenance, and also for enjoyment. Physical activity helps bump up the production of endorphins. As you focus on physical activity the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything you do. “Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” Thich Nhat Hanh
Our goal today was to find how to handle stress and anxiety with ease. External and internal factors both have an impact on our lives and our health. Understanding the difference between stress and anxiety is just the first step on our path. Our three new habits, Rest, Education, and Exercise will only help if we use them on a daily basis and stay with them. There is no short fix, but with time getting a handle on stress and anxiety is possible.
Up for a 2 week challenge? Bookmark us, leave a comment below about yourself and where you feel your stress level is. Use the 3 new habits for two weeks and come back to leave an update.
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions on how to handle stress and anxiety with ease, please comment below. I’ll get back to you!
Walking the Path of Peace,