Feeling stressed or anxious? Then you’re not alone. In the UK, according to a new survey from the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of people have at some point felt so stressed that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. In the US, that figure is slightly higher with 79% of Amercians who feel stress sometimes or frequently during their day.
The terms ‘Stress’ and ‘Stress Management’ and ‘Stress Relief’ now receive up to 1million monthly searches on google. The most common causes of stress involve work pressure, lack of time, financial stress, children, health, relationships, and political climate.
Stress will make you feel anxious, it also causes you a number of physical health problems.
Given the potential impacts of prolonged stress, learning ways of managing, reducing, and preventing stress can be important tools for mental and physical health and wellbeing.
Here are 16 actions you can take to help anxiety caused by your stressful life:
1. Spend More Time Gardening
Researchers have shown that spending time in your garden will boost your mood and lower your stress and anxiety. By spending half an hour a week tending to plants or vegetables in your garden can reduce feelings of tension and fatigue, leaving people less prone to anger and depression.
When you’re feeling stressed and looking for something to get you out of bed in the morning, head to your garden and spend some time tending to your plants.
If you don’t have an outside garden think about creating a mini herb garden for your kitchen or balcony.
2. Take up Yoga
Yoga is great for improving flexibility and strengthening our core. But it is also fantastic for inducing feelings of calm and improving your heart health, if you do it regularly. By spending 15 minutes a day, you could reduce your blood pressure by as much as 10%.
In a recent study by Canadian researchers, they found that, among people being treated for high blood pressure, those who spent 15 minutes five time a week in quiet relaxation, saw no improvement to their condition. However, those who stretched for the same time experienced a 5% drop in blood pressure, and those who practiced deep breathing saw a 7% drop.
3. Celebrate Small Wins
When we pursue our goals and view our daily successes, we have two options:
- Look at how far you’ve come, what you’ve achieved and celebrate success every day(Growth Mindset)
- Look at how far away you are from the goals you have in life and feel more anxious and stressed because you haven’t achieved what you want (Gap Mindset)
With the Growth Mindset, you will always be making progress, your confidence and capabilities will grow every day.
Rather than worrying about doing everything perfectly and comparing yourself to others, a major source of stress and anxiety, you are focused on staying on the path and daily growth.
At the end of every day, write down 3 things that you achieved that day. It could be big or small. The point is that you made progress, even if it was just a little step.
4. Take up Meditation
Meditation can improve physical health, boost the immune systems and increase our ability to cope with stress.
Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says mindfulness meditation is perfect for reducing anxiety both short- and long-term:
“People with anxiety have a problem dealing with distracting thoughts that have too much power … You might think ‘I’m late, I might lose my job if I don’t get there on time, and it will be a disaster!’ Mindfulness teaches you to recognize, ‘Oh, there’s that thought again. I’ve been here before. But it’s just that–a thought, and not a part of my core self.’”
Meditation can help improve our attention and concentration, improve our self-control and give us greater overall psychological well-being.
By meditating for just 10-15 minutes per day, it can help reduce stress hormone levels, increasing serotonin, and strengthening your ability to let go of thoughts that don’t serve you.