Stress affects all of us. Whether you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or you just feel the impact a long day at work can have on your body and mind, you know that stress can really take its toll on you over time. Anxiety can be brought on by many different triggers depending on the person, which can sometimes make it difficult to sense it coming on, let alone to calm yourself down so it doesn’t escalate to high levels. If you know even just a few ways in which you can fight off anxiety before it gets too unbearable, you can feel more empowered and comfortable in your everyday life. Keep at least a few of these simple mental tricks in your back pocket to pull out in times of great stress and anxiety for better mental health.
Accept Your Feelings and Go With the Flow
This sounds counter-intuitive at first. Why would you possibly want to accept and embrace anxiety when it makes you feel so uncomfortable? Studies have shown that when people acknowledge their feelings of stress, this can actually cause it to recede and lessen in strength almost immediately. Stress is constantly trying to get your attention to “alert” you to something bad. Even though in this day and age you hardly need to take a stress response seriously, your primitive mind still will. Taking a moment to accept your stress, rather than trying to suppress it, can be enough to stop it in its tracks.
Perform a Body Scan
Sometimes, when the body is acting like there’s a threat, the mind will follow suit. If after a fight with a loved one you’re feeling stressed, notice how your body feels physically. Start from the top of your head and slowly work your way down, noticing any areas of tension. Is your chest tight? Are your fists clenched? Releasing these tense areas can help your mind relax.
Learn Forgiveness and Gratitude
Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies. Stress may come on as a result of self-criticism which is overly harsh in nature. Learning to be compassionate and forgiving with yourself in the face of mistakes can be helpful in the face of stress. It may also help you to start writing up a gratitude journal, in which you record five things you’re grateful for every day. They can be simple things, such as the taste of coffee or the fact that you have a warm bed to sleep in every night. Learning to appreciate what you have may help you gain the perspective needed to reduce stress.
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