Techniques for Relieving Stress and Anxiety

 

At one time or another, almost all of us deal with some level of stress or anxiety.  There are any number of factors that trigger these feelings in people, including personality, difficult life experiences and physical health.  Often, stress and anxiety are brought on by a combination of factors. Some of the most common triggers include: 

  • Work stress or job change
  • Change in living arrangements
  • Family and relationship problems
  • Emotional shock following a traumatic event
  • Death or loss of a loved one
  • Health issues like diabetes, asthma or hypertension
  • Mental health conditions including depression and compulsive behavior

Fortunately, there are some time-tested techniques that anyone can use to overcome these stressors and get back into a positive frame of mind.  Next time you start to feel overwhelmed, take a few minutes and try one of these ideas to decompress: 

  • Exercise:  All forms of exercise can ease depression and anxiety.  Even if you can’t make it to the box for the daily WOD, you can go for a walk, play outside with a pet or do some simple stretching exercises like shoulder shrugs or head rolls.  
  • Meditation and Deep Breathing: Sit up straight with your feet on the floor.  Slowly inhale through your nose, filling your lungs completely and then exhaling through your mouth.  Clear your mind of distractions by focusing your attention on positive thoughts and feelings. Be attentive to your body and posture, noting areas of focused tension and stress. 
  • Decompress: Place a warm towel or heat wrap around your neck and shoulders, relaxing your face, neck, shoulders and upper back muscles.  After 10 minutes, remove the wrap and use a tennis ball or foam roller to massage away tension. 
  • Reach Out to Friends and Family:  Face to face conversations are best, but phone calls can be an effective substitute.  Share what’s going on in your life. Sometimes just saying it out loud can lift an emotional weight off your shoulders. 
  • Crank Up the Tunes:  Soothing music has been proven to lower blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety. 
  • Be Grateful:  Make a conscious effort to recognize all the good things in your life.  Celebrate accomplishments of your own and those of friends and loved ones. 

Life moves fast. We are constantly bombarded with demands on our time and energy.  There are a lot of negative influences that would have you believe things are worse than they really are. Next time you feel like you’re at the end of your rope, try one of these techniques to restore your peace of mind.