Stress and anxiety are unfortunately a regular part of life. However, for some people, stress and anxiety become so overwhelming and frequent that it is negatively impacting their quality of life.
If this sounds like you, then you’re probably looking for some ways to start reducing the amount of stress, or the level of anxiety, that you feel on a regular basis.
Here are 5 methods that basically anyone can try. Give them a try in your own life and see if you experience any benefits.
Improve Your Sleep Schedule
One of the reasons many of us feel stressed is because we aren’t getting enough sleep. When we don’t sleep enough, it causes us to feel more irritable. This leads to an increase in stress, which can then lead to an increase in anxiety. If you want to lower them both, you’ll want to examine your sleep schedule.
Are you getting to bed early enough?
Are you sleeping throughout the night, or do you find yourself waking up often?
How many times do you hit snooze in the morning?
Addressing all three of these issues will help to improve your sleep. Change your schedule so you can get to bed early.
Find some local mattress stores and upgrade your mattress for a better night’s sleep. Then, don’t hit snooze in the morning, and instead, get up right away. These three simple things should go a long way towards giving you a more restful night.
Develop a Mindfulness Habit
Anxiety and stress often come when our thoughts are focused on a perceived future. We are constantly thinking about all the things that are due or all the things that could go wrong. We spend so much time focusing on what could go wrong that we forget that these things may never even happen.
Rather than focusing on the worst-case scenarios, you should instead focus on the present moment. You can do this through a mindfulness habit.
Mindfulness is when you focus your mind on just the present moment.
What can you currently smell or hear? What does the air entering in through your nose feel like?
Can you feel a breeze coming in through the window?
Mindfulness takes some practice, but that’s the point.
Each time you practice you’ll stop focusing on that mistake you made earlier that morning, or the big project you have due at the end of the day. Spending just a minute or two being mindful can eliminate the anxiety you’re feeling and help you refocus so you can get more done.
Exercise More Often
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. When we’re exercising, we’re too tired to focus on anything else, and the release of endorphins will wash away those negative feelings. Of course, it’s developing that fitness habit that’s the problem. Setting aside time each day requires dedication so that even on your busiest days, you still find time to get your heart rate up.
The key is to enjoy working out. You can do this by either reframing your mindset – for instance, telling yourself that you want to work out rather than you have to work out – or by finding exercise activities that you enjoy.
If you hate running on a treadmill at the gym, find something else. Go for a run in the morning before work or get on an exercise bike after dinner. If you enjoy the activity you’re much more likely to keep at it than if you hate it. For more help, here are some tips you can use to jumpstart your fitness routine.
Get Yourself Organized
Sometimes we’re stressed because everything around us is disorganized. It’s hard to focus on your work when your desk is cluttered with papers. To combat this, you’ll want to spend some time organizing everything, then developing a habit to keep it that way.
Grab some file cabinets to organize your work papers. Have your kids help you with the cleaning after work. Organize the files on your computer so you can more easily find what you need. Taking an hour or two now to get things straight will provide long-term benefits, so set some time aside as soon as you can.
Find Some Fun Hobbies
Finally, make sure you’re setting aside some time for things you enjoy. It’s important that we all have some fun from time to time, and that our entire lives are not focused around work.
Go for a hike, see a movie, go to the bar with your friends, whatever. When you’re having fun you’re not focusing on your anxiety or your stress, so make sure you’re spending some time each week on things you enjoy.