Feeling stressed and anxious isn’t a cool experience! Stress and anxiety are often characterized by intense panic attacks, sweating in the hands, nausea, muscle tension, shortness of breath, and rapid heartbeat.
If you’ve experienced these symptoms, most likely you’re stressed, and you can use some help. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you understand how to deal with stress and anxiety. So, let’s get to it!
What is an anxiety disorder?
According to Cleveland Clinic1, it is a mental health condition that makes victims respond to situations with fear. Anxiety disorder is often accompanied by signs like rapid heartbeat and sweaty hands.
Being anxious from time to time is normal and expected, especially when attending an interview, speaking in public, or meeting strangers. After some time, the nervousness often goes away. However, when you have an anxiety disorder, it’s prolonged.
Studies show that anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent health conditions in the United States. Recent statistics indicate they affect nearly 40 million Americans. In addition, at least 30% of adults experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.
According to Cleveland clinic, anyone is at risk of suffering from an anxiety disorder. For some people, it’s brought about by the environment, while for others, it’s often genetics. So, when you experience anxiety or become nervous, remember it’s not your fault.
That being said, there are at least four types of anxiety disorders—Panic disorder2, phobias, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD3, and separation anxiety. Regardless of the type of anxiety disorder, the symptoms and solutions are often similar.
How to cope with stress and anxiety
Below are the proven ways to manage stress and anxiety.
1. Improve physical activity by exercising daily
Exercising daily goes a long way to help manage stress and anxiety4. When you improve physical activity, the body produces endorphins and dopamine5. Endorphins are stress-relieving hormones, while dopamine is the feel-good hormone.
Therefore, you’ll want more of them to deal with the stress and anxiety. So, how should you go about this? You could be wondering. It’s recommended to mix moderate-intensity physical activity with vigorous-intensity activities each week.
You should aim for moderate-intensity exercises like brisk walking for at least two and half hours per week. If you can do more, the better. However, life gets in the way many times, and committing more time to workouts may not be feasible.
That being said, the soft spot for vigorous-intensity activities like swimming and jogging is one and quarter hours. In addition, you can always start your workouts with either moderate-intensity or vigorous-intensity exercises.
Other forms of exercises to keep your body active are dancing, biking, skating, or any that you’re already comfortable doing.
2. Take some time out
Unplugging from your daily routine can help you cope with stress and anxiety. Probably, you’re overwhelmed at work, or a lot is going on in school. The best remedy is not to give up entirely but to take some time out and focus on yourself.
During this time, you can indulge in fun activities like Yoga, jam to your favorite music, try meditation, or go for a massage. The bottom line is, find anything that can soothe your body and help to relax your mind.
3. Eat a properly balanced diet
The food you consume serves multiple purposes in your body. One, it helps generate energy for body functions, and two, it can be therapeutic benefits. That’s why you shouldn’t be eating anything that comes your way.
Instead, you want to go for a well-balanced diet6, especially when going through stress. In addition, you shouldn’t skip any meals. By all means, try to have three meals as a minimum and some snacks in between.
4. Drink less coffee and alcohol
Coffee contains high levels of caffeine7 which increases anxiety and stress by causing restlessness. This is also true for alcohol, so you want to limit their intake. If possible, it would be best to avoid them altogether. But, don’t stress over it if you can’t. A little restrain is more than enough.
5. Sleep well
Getting enough sleep is often underrated. At a minimum, you want to sleep for at least 6-8 hours. The more, the better because it’ll help relax your body and mind.
6. Breath in and out
Taking deep breaths can also help you cope with stress and anxiety. Start by breathing in through your nostrils, then hold your breathe. After about five seconds, release the air through your mouth slowly and steadily. If you wish, you can close your eyes during the exercise.
7. Count to ten
Counting to ten is one excellent exercise to manage anxiety. So, you want to start by counting from zero to ten. This exercise is only effective when done slowly. Therefore, be mindful of your counting speed.
If you still feel anxious after counting to ten, you may proceed to 20 until the anxiety is gone. Most importantly, you want to be patient and not rush the process.
8. Accept your limitations
All humans have limitations, and not all things will go our way. Therefore, it’s normal to feel disappointed, stressed, and anxious because of certain failures. However, the sooner you realize you can’t change some things on your own, the quicker the stress will fade away.
That’s why you first want to accept your limitations and shortcomings. Secondly, it’s best to find help from someone who can do it better. This will help save you from more disappointments and frustrations down the road.
9. Try to laugh it out
A little laughter could be what you need to deal with the stress and anxiety. The good news is that there are many ways to crack your ribs to get a good laugh. You can call your funny friend or two; you can watch some hilarious videos from platforms like YouTube.
Talking to a funny friend isn’t only good for finding humor. This is another excellent way to open up and release out whatever is bothering you. Like it’s often said, a problem shared is half solved. So please, don’t go through hard times alone when you can find someone to talk to.
10. Embrace a positive mindset
The truth is, stress and anxiety can sometimes be caused by negativity happening around us. It could also be because of one failure after another. However, holding yourself down isn’t a remedy to manage the stress.
So, it’s essential to ditch any negative thoughts in your mind and replace them with positive ones. Always remind yourself that tomorrow will be better, and you can get better results because you’re more than enough.
11. Discover what triggers the anxiety and stress
Solving a problem from the roots is more sustainable than dealing with its symptoms. The same applies to stress and anxiety. So, if you want to cope with them, it would be best to diagnose the problem from the roots, then find long-lasting solutions.
For example, one of the causes of stress and anxiety is an anxiety disorder, which we’ve already looked at in detail. Therefore, managing stress and anxiety after a panic attack becomes easy when you know you have this mental condition.
12. Find a support group
Associating with people battling the same issues like depression and life traumas can help reduce stress and anxiety. Thus, it would be best to find a support group in your community and share what’s on your mind.
In addition to that, you can also engage in community work as a volunteer to help keep you occupied throughout the day. Stress and anxiety are more prevalent when one is idle. That’s why we believe finding a support group and participating in community work can help.
13. Chew some gum
Chewing gum8 can help a great deal with your stress and anxiety. Studies show that people who chew gum have a high self-esteem and low-stress levels.
Stress and anxiety can affect your productivity and how you go about your day. The good news is, there are several ways to cope with them, which we’ve looked at in detail. To sum it up, below is a quick rundown of how to relieve stress and anxiety;
- Improve physical activity by exercising daily
- Take some time out
- Eat a properly balanced diet
- Drink less coffee and alcohol
- Sleep well
- Breath in and out
- Count to ten
- Accept your limitations
- Try to laugh it out
- Embrace a positive mindset
- Discover what triggers the anxiety and stress
- Find a support group
- Chew some gum
We hope you found this guide helpful.
1. Anxiety Disorder | Cleveland Clinic
2. Panic Disorder | Cleveland Clinic
3. Diagnosis and Management of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder in Adults | American Family Physician
4. Exercising to relax | Harvard health Publishing
5. What Are Endorphins? | Verywellmind
6. Healthy Eating Plate | Harvard School of Public Health
7. What to know about caffeine and anxiety | Medical News Today