Eff Stress. It can lead to debilitating anxiety, negative thoughts, and limiting beliefs. I think it is safe to say we have all experienced this at times in our lives. We feel like we are headed down a rabbit hole with no way back up. If only someone could throw us a rope to climb out of it.
I am here to throw you the rope. I will warn you that you can’t just hang there. If you want out, you have to put in the work but you are worth it. You are capable and it is possible.
Stress is highly underestimated and rarely talked about in terms of being healthy. I have experienced the paralyzing effects of an unchecked attitude, self-defeating beliefs, and negative mindset. Best believe it gets you nowhere and fast.
We need to be in alignment with our thoughts, emotions, and actions to be healthy. Here are some effective actions you can take to reduce anxiety, manage stress, and be more positive.
1.) Practice breathing. No, you don’t have to meditate or be mindful for an hour. Feel free if that’s your thing! You just need to breathe wherever you are. Practice inhaling through your nose and imagine filling your entire diaphragm.
Exhale slowly and let the negative thoughts go with it. It’s as simple as that. You will have thoughts but try not to judge them, instead, let them pass. With time it gets easier. It really doesn’t have to be a huge commitment in order for it to work. Do it where you are and when you need it.
2.) Get moving! This could be walking, running, yoga, dancing, strength training, really anything that challenges you. Try to do an activity that raises your heart rate and challenges your mind. Get creative and find what works for you. Exercise releases endorphins and is one of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety.
3. Find something that you are passionate about doing. Your hobby could be anything from drawing to building airplanes. Just find something you are interested in or are passionate about. If you are savvy you can combine them both.
We are all busy but it is vital to take time for things we enjoy. If you are a parent what better way to connect with your kids then to involve them with something you love?
4.) Listen to a podcast or music that you love. It’s so important to do things we enjoy in life to be happy. You can listen to something motivating or fun while you work out or even if you are getting some work done. We only get one life so why not enjoy it?
5.) Spend time with family. I truly believe the key to relieving stress is finding balance in all areas of life. Something that always makes me happy is to take time for my children. It could be as simple as watching a movie while snuggling together.
You could even call someone you love. Have a quick conversation with them and let them know that you care. We can all do better at prioritizing family and showing one another love.
6.) Create the experience or vibe you want to feel. I make a point to be surrounded by things I love and that make me feel happy. Books, candles, essential oils, or even a comfy blanket can make you feel more content.
Set your space up according to your style and the energy you want to feel. Keeping things simple and organized can make a huge difference too.
7.) Declutter. Get rid of anything you don’t need or use. Clean up your space and allow new energy to flow in. Let go of excess and try a more minimal approach. Start with something small like clearing out your closet.
Donate anything that doesn’t fit or you haven’t worn for a year. Someone else will love and appreciate what you don’t use. Enjoy the newfound space and clarity that comes with it.
8.) Write in a journal, notebook, or anywhere that works for you. It could be feelings you are working through or things that you are grateful for. It’s all about what you need at any given moment.
I’ve found that this is essential to my night routine. It allows me to quiet my mind and helps me go to sleep. That goes for your to-do list, schedule, appointments, or life goals. If you write something down you no longer need to worry about it.
9.) Learn something new or read something you enjoy daily. Find a good book or blog that resonates with you. It’s so important to stimulate the mind. If you are not challenging your mind it results in anxiety and stress. The more proactive you are with your mental health the less prone to intrusive thoughts you will be.
10.) Go outside! Being in nature has so many positive effects on our health. If you can’t take the time to get outside, find ways to get fresh air whenever you can. Walk your dog or park further from the grocery store to get a little Vitamin D. Sunshine can bring joy even on our worst days.
11.) Start a routine. Our minds thrive on structure and routine. I have a morning, afternoon, and night routine. Our brains like to know what to expect. That doesn’t mean it needs to be rigorously structured.
However, it does help when we have an idea of how our day will go. I make a point to plan out my week. Then every night I briefly go over what’s on my list the next day. You don’t need to do like me but it helps to have a system.
12.) Just say no. Sometimes you have to say no to someone else so you can say yes to yourself. We only have so much energy to give. It is important to draw a line. It’s okay and NECESSARY to prioritize yourself and your family first.
Let go of responsibility that is not yours and stop doing things you hate doing. I am not saying throw out your obligations or don’t help others. I am saying don’t just do something for the sake of pleasing someone else. Practice this enough and you will stop feeling guilty.
13.) Find a higher power. This one is taboo, I know. It is my opinion that it doesn’t matter so much what you actually believe in. It could be that you believe in the Universe. I just feel that it is important to have faith in something outside of yourself.
Find what works for you but I assure you this helps with anxiety and stress. Give your worry away to something greater than you. LET IT GO! I am spiritual in nature but when I started to look at the bigger picture, that is when my life really changed.
14.) Practice self-care. It is easy to become better about our circumstances. I’ve done this many times. Taking care of yourself could mean many things. Start by brushing your teeth and washing your face.
Care for yourself in the ways that matter to you. It really is the little things that can make all the difference. Throw on a face mask, read a good book, and chill the eff out.
15.) Talk it out. I’ve recently started talking to a therapist. There are so many stigmas when it comes to mental health. You don’t need to see a therapist but it is important to talk to someone that you trust. I enjoy having an objective viewpoint with no connection to my world. The point is to get a sense of release and possibly another perspective.
Sometimes we build things up in our mind and just saying them out loud can help to lessen the burden of it. It doesn’t mean you are weak or negative if you have feelings. It makes you a human. I’m a firm believer that strength comes from confronting our past and moving forward.
16.) Smile, laugh, compliment yourself, and others. It’s proven that the more we smile, the better we begin to feel. Sometimes you just have to “fake it until you make it.” This doesn’t mean being fake, It just means pushing yourself to do things you have not been doing.
Growth and happiness come when you get outside of your comfort zone. It doesn’t take much effort to smile and be kind. Be generous with your kindness for its contagious. Make someone else smile and it will be sure to make your day
17.) Set limits on screens. Limiting your time on social media, news, gaming, and television can have a profound effect on your life. I will get flak for this one but it needs to be said. When I took a needed break from social media, I realized how much time and energy I had been wasting worrying about unimportant things.
I am sure many of you can relate. How many times have you sat down, opened your phone, started to scroll, only to realize an hour had gone by and you had done nothing?
It was a major distraction for me. In order to live a meaningful life, it is important to look at how we spend our time. All I ask is that you really consider what I am saying here. Make your own choices but remember that you only have one life to live. Make it meaningful.
18.) Be mindful. Mindfulness means being present in life. Not dwelling over the past or worrying about the future. Being here in this moment and making the most of it. As you start do this you will see your mindset shift. Just be open to change and patient with yourself.
Life can be stressful, there is no doubt about that. What you do to deal with that stress is what really matters. In the face of adversity, we have a decision. We can fall down the rabbit hole, blame our circumstances, or even give up hope. The latter is that we can grab the rope and climb out of it inch by inch.
Know that you have the strength and power to get through anything. I have given you 18 ways to reduce and handle stress. Try incorporating one or two of these suggestions into your week.
Make them your own and find out what helps you. Most importantly do what you can do, when you can do it. It is through small consistent actions that you can really change your overall wellbeing.