Ten Tips to Manage Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are survival mechanisms. However when the become pervasive or overwhelming, it would suggest some of our basic needs are not being met. Some of these basic needs are
1. The need to give and receive attention.
2. Healthy body and mind connection, i.e. proper nutrition, exercise and sleep.
3. Purpose and goals in life.
4. Community and contribution. Community mau be geographical (e.g. local) or community’s of interest such as hobbies and interests.
5. The need for challenge and creativity.
6. Need for intimacy.
7. The need for safety and security
Depending on your level of stress and or anxiety the following ten tips will be of use. You may need assistance in developing these as habits.
1. Deep Breathing: Sitting comfortably, with feet on the ground, close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose for 3 to 4 counts and let go of the breath through your nose for the same number of counts. Focus and feel the passage of breath through your nostrils and notice how it fills your stomach and lungs. Repeat this till you begin to feel relaxed and allow the relaxation to flow through your body. Practise whilst walking, driving, watching t.v etc (this will take time, but is worth it)
2. Practice Progressive Relaxation: Much as above, but imagine and feel the relaxation (perhaps giving it a colour), filling your head and then flowing over your cheeks, into your neck and shoulders, arms, hands, stomach, small of the back, legs and feet. Allow your whole body from the top of your head to the tips of your toes to be filled with relaxation. In the beginning, perhaps five minutes will suffice, but keep practising till you can are able to do it for ten or twenty minutes. Yoga and mindfulness are excellent activities for progressive relaxation.
3. Reducing sugar, caffeine, alcohol and cigarette consumption will give way to better sleep patterns and relaxation.
4. Take time to appreciate and focus on the world around you – a beautiful building, lovely flowers/trees, children laughing. Breath in the beauty, make a point of searching out such things.
5. Exercise more whether walking, running or swimming.
6. Do simple things for other people, E.G give directions, help neighbours and less able and disadvantaged people where possible. Look for such opportunities on a day to day basis and with charities and voluntary organisations.
7. Express feelings rather than supressing them or bottling them up.
8. Accept things you can’t control or change and look for the positive in negative situations. E.G rather than stress about the traffic jam use it as a chance to relax as in number 1.
9. Make a to-do list, prioritising the most important and accept that you might not reach the end of your list.
10. Accept yourself for all of your perfect imperfections and flaws.