Stress and anxiety have now become daily experience for more and more people. In order to limit the harm to our psychological wellbeing and health, it is important to know how to cope with stress and anxiety. Psychologists suggest we should use the following tips and strategies to relieve tension.
8 tips and strategies to cope with stress and anxiety
1 – Take note of your thoughts
According to clinical psychologist John Duffy, who has authored several books, one of the best strategies to smooth out tension and control anxiety is to write, write and organize everything which comes up to mind at the moment: thoughts, situations, reflections on relationships with self and others, work-related ideas etc. This is a very effective creative process, as this way our brain abandons its problems, our thinking lightens and tension gets smoothed out. Writing everything down helps see things from a new perspective.
2 – Cook something fanciful
Choosing all the ingredients very carefully and preparing a specific recipe leisurely may help battle stress and anxiety which bother us every day. Buy groceries, carefully follow all the steps of the recipe at issue, preparing, chopping and cooking all the ingredients, then taste the dish and (why not?) share your result on social networks, exchanging comments with your friends – all this is an excellent way to relax, beat stress and overcome anxiety.
3 – Contract and relax muscles
We are talking about the progressive muscle relaxation technique, which was come up with by psychologists in 1920, and which consists in alternating contraction and relaxation of some muscle groups.
This effective technique is based upon a very easy principle: every strong tension is followed by deep relaxation.
How to do it? Contract your muscles strongly for 10 seconds, then release and focus on the relaxation sensation for another 20 seconds and repeat.
4 – Don’t overreact to situations
This is a technique which, instead of coping with stress, suggests we should avoid it. When we are living a stressful situation, it is a good idea to keep this mantra in mind: “I can’t change the situation, yet I can change my reaction to it.”
“Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not.” (Valerie Bertinelli)
Not only might a positive reaction help avoid stress, but also promote a better evaluation of a negative situation, understand and correct mistakes, and enhance our life experience.
5 – Stop the flow of thoughts
“Easier said than done”- you might be saying now – though this technique is very effective and easy to carry out. In this case we need an outer and sudden stimulus.
How to do it? When our thoughts get too besetting, try clapping your hands and say loud: “Stop! I will be thinking about it tomorrow!”. “After all, tomorrow is another day”, Rossella O’Hara would say!!!
Another way to carry out this technique is to wear a rubber band around your wrist, then to pull and release each time we feel threatened by negative thoughts. The annoyance caused by the rubber band helps us regain concentration. If you prefer not using a rubber band, simply try pinching yourself and shifting your attention to another activity.
6 – One hour a day for your hobbies
It is very important that every day we find some time to dedicate only to those things that make us happy – some time to devote to our passions such as reading, drawing, gardening, dancing, photography, playing a musical instrument etc… One hour a day to escape our problems and boost our mood and health.
7 – Stimulate nerve endings
This technique may sound a bit odd, though it is very effective to cope with everyday stress and anxiety. Based upon physiotherapy and reflexology principles, this technique consists in stroking our lips with our index finger. The parasympathetic nervous system gets then stimulated and we start feeling calmer.
8 – Tidy up
These are productive activities helping us smooth out tension, be it cleaning the house, wash up, tidy up the desk, arrange photo albums, etc. The important thing is to distract our mind and abandon (even temporarily) those thoughts that make us feel stressed and anxious.
“In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.” (Lee Iacocca)
In order to beat stress and overcome anxiety besetting us, it is important to be able to drift away from our stressors. This proves necessary in order to reset our mind and face life challenges with clear-headedness. Besides these 8 tips and strategies there surely are other ways to cope with stress and anxiety. It is important to find what best fits our situation. You can also alternate a few methods if possible.
Test your stress level!
In this post you can test your stress level by taking a simple quiz:
As far as I am concerned, I get relaxed by playing the drums or going to the swimming-pool.
What about you? What are your favorite anti-stress strategies? Leave a comment and tell me of your experience!