Do you feel like stress is pressing in on every side? Do you struggle to relax and find balance in your life? If so, you may be struggling with stress and anxiety. If you aren’t proactive in addressing these issues, they can have a negative impact on each area of your life. Learning how to stop stressing can be the key that you need to find balance in your life.
Stress can impact you on multiple levels. You may notice it impacting your mental health, or you may notice that you start to experience physical symptoms. To reduce stress, you need to first understand how to spot when it’s happening.
Signs of stress and anxiety can include:
These are not symptoms that you want to deal with regularly in your life. And, if left unchecked, you may find that they’re leading to larger health concerns such as depression, heart disease, diabetes, and more.
Some of the symptoms that we experience from stress are natural reactions that originally meant to protect us. Some of the physical responses that we have when we feel stress coming on are part of the fight or flight response. This can be an essential reaction to have if you’re in a life-threatening situation. And it’s a response that many credits with the survival of the human race throughout history. For example, if you come face-to-face with a wild animal, your fight-or-flight reaction could be what leads to you staying alive.
However, most of us aren’t coming face-to-face with wild animals that are trying to kill us regularly. Instead, we’re facing daily stresses such as financial burden, overwhelm schedules, coworkers that try to take the credit for the work that we do, and notifications dinging on our phones regularly. These situations are not life-threatening. So instead of our fight-or-flight response kicking into gear and saving us, the stress can continue to build, causing us long-term physical and mental health challenges.
This is why it’s important that we learned how to reduce stress and anxiety in our life.
The following strategies can help you learn how to manage your stress and anxiety in your life.
Many different things can be causing you stress in life. Some large life changes may be easy to identify as the cause of added stress. This could be things like getting a promotion at work, becoming a new parent, or going through financial trouble.
But your stress may be coming from things outside of the situations that you’re in. It could be from a lack of knowing how to handle your emotions or struggling with time management skills. While you can learn stress management techniques to use when you feel stressed, learning how to identify the trigger can help you work on addressing the root cause of it.
Meditation allows you to think through situations in a new way and look for solutions that you may not have noticed if you were responding in the natural stress response. If you’re unfamiliar with mindfulness meditation, there are many apps that you can find that can walk you through the process of getting started. They even have guided meditations that you can use to address your stress.
Sometimes part of finding balance in life is learning how to set priorities around the tasks that you need to accomplish. If you struggle with saying “no” when asked to do something, you may find that you’re taking on more tasks than what you’re actually able to accomplish healthily.
It can be helpful to establish priorities for your life. Decide on what things are the most important to you. This will look different for each person. For example, if you’re a parent, you are probably going to want to prioritize your family, while someone that is a single adult isn’t going to need to worry about prioritizing that the way that you might.
Once you create a list of priorities, you can start to use that list as you take on new responsibilities. For example, if you’re asked to join an extra committee at work that requires you to work longer hours, you can consider if that is going to meet your priorities or if it’s going to get in the way of another priority on your list. So, if you have already decided that your priority is to leave work on time each day so you can make it home before your child gets off the bus for the day, you’ll know that joining that committee at work is not going to fit into your priorities at the moment.
While setting goals can be important and helpful in life, it can also be a source of stress. If you find that you’re struggling with stress and anxiety because of your goals, it can help to start breaking them down into smaller, more achievable goals.
Take time to look at the goals that you have in your life, and then break them into a list of all the small actions that you will need to do to accomplish that goal. Then, you can start to focus on each one of these actions, one at a time, instead of just focusing on your larger goal. Not only can this help you to experience less stress and anxiety in your life, but it can also help you achieve those big goals.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has found that many ways exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety. This doesn’t mean that you need to start an extensive exercise routine. Simply doing things like walking, running, and yoga can have a positive impact on lowering stress and anxiety in your life.
When you participate in physical activity, it releases endorphins in your brain that can help boost your mood, improve concentration, and reduce fatigue. It’s also been found that exercising during the day can help you get better rest at night. And this can also help reduce stress because some people tend to struggle with insomnia when they’re feeling anxious.
When you start to feel stressed, your body naturally responds with the fight or flight response. When you practice deep breathing, it can help reverse the natural response that takes place. For example, as stress builds, you may notice that your heart rate increases. This can cause you to take shorter and quicker breathes. This can cause your blood pressure to rise. And then, you may start to experience things like dizziness, headache, muscle tension, and more.
When you notice the symptoms beginning to happen, you can practice deep breathing techniques, which can help put a stop to those natural responses. By controlling your breath, you can help lower your heart rate, which in turn lowers your blood pressure. This could have a domino effect on the other symptoms that you experience with stress and anxiety. And deep breathing is something that you can practice even in public without others knowing, so it’s a good strategy to understand how to use.
Some people can struggle with stress because they feel like they’re not accomplishing the things that they want to in life. They struggle with feeling like they’re not good enough, which leads them to feel like they always need to be trying to accomplish more. This can lead to a lack of balance in life as you’re always striving to get something done and not taking the time that you need to focus on yourself-care.
Learning how to recognize the success that you have daily can go a long way in building your confidence, which can help you avoid falling into the pattern of taking on too much. When you have healthy self-esteem, you’re not likely to look for approval from others, which can help you take a realistic look at what you want to accomplish and what you want to do. This can help you to relax and live a more balanced life.
Still, Struggling With Stress Relief?
If you’re still struggling with finding balance in your life and you find that stress and anxiety are overwhelming you, you may want to talk with a therapist. Don't be afraid of feeling like a burden when you ask for help.
While some people have the belief that therapy is only for people that have diagnosable mental health disorders, that’s simply not true. Licensed therapists like those at BetterHelp can help individuals with many different life challenges, including anxiety and stress. Your therapist can help you learn how to identify the stress triggers that are in your life. And, they can work with you to help you learn critical coping strategies to overcome stress and find the balance that you’re looking for.