Most people experience stress and anxiety from time to time. People feel stressed when multiple demands are placed on them at the same time. The feeling of being stressed can be triggered by an event that makes you feel frustrated or nervous.
Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, or unease. It can be a reaction to stress, or it can occur in people who are unable to cope with certain situations in their life. Anxiety can be normal in stressful situations such as public speaking or taking a test.
How anxiety leads to stress
Anxiety is natural because it is a fundamental part of our survival. When faced with threat or trauma, this serves as a resource to help us cope. However, the pressures of modern life trigger anxiety for unnecessary reasons. The automatic bodily response is the release of Cortisol, the stress hormone, which puts us into a fight or flight mode. When this becomes a pattern, we develop a habit of anxiety. Anxiety is only an indication of underlying disease when feelings become excessive and interfere with daily living.
We have the power to control our subconscious mind by focusing on being calm and confident.
The positive side
Stress and anxiety are not always bad. In the short term, they can help you overcome a challenge or dangerous situation. Examples of everyday stress and anxiety include worrying about finding a job, feeling nervous before a big test, or being embarrassed in certain social situations. If we did not experience some anxiety, we might not be motivated to do things that we need to do.
The negative side
However, if you are avoiding situations due to irrational fears, constantly worrying, or experiencing severe anxiety about a traumatic event weeks after it happened, it may start interfering with your daily life. It can also have negative effects on your physical health if untreated for long periods of time. While some amount of stress and anxiety in life is expected and shouldn’t be a cause for concern, it’s important to recognize when the stress in your life is causing negative consequences.
Physical and psychological symptoms
Stress and anxiety can produce both physical and psychological symptoms. Common physical symptoms include: muscle tension, headache, fast heartbeat, sweating, dizziness, change in appetite, lack of sleep and fatigue.
Mental or emotional symptoms can include: feelings of impending doom, panic or nervousness, especially in social settings, difficulty in concentrating.
People who have stress and anxiety over long periods of time are likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression or panic disorder.
Controlling stress and anxiety
There are strategies you can use to make stress and anxiety more manageable. Pay attention to how your body and mind respond to stressful and anxiety-producing situations. Next time a stressful experience occurs, you’ll be able to anticipate your reaction and it may be less disruptive.
Certain lifestyle changes can help alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety. These techniques can be used along with medical treatments for anxiety. Techniques to reduce stress and anxiety include:
- eating a balanced, healthy diet
- limiting caffeine and alcohol consumption
- getting enough sleep
- scheduling time for hobbies
- keeping a diary of your feelings
- recognizing the factors that trigger your stress
- talking to a friend
Be mindful if you tend to use substances like alcohol or drugs as ways to cope with stress and anxiety. This can lead to serious substance abuse issues.
Five steps you can take to reduce anxiety:
Meditation is the simplest way to restore your calm and inner peace. You can practise meditation wherever you are _ going for a walk, riding a bus or standing in a queue outside the grocery shop. Meditation can relax you and clear away the information overload that is clogging your mind. It helps you to detach from anxious thoughts. Meditating with mindfulness leads to awareness. You learn to identify the tensions in your body, understand the way you think, and how to deal with difficult emotions.
Any form of exercise acts as a stress reliever, whether you choose aerobics, yoga or free-hand exercises. Make exercise a part of your stress-management routine. Daily tension can be shed through physical activity. It not only helps you to relax, but also lowers symptoms of depression and anxiety. You should include exercise in your schedule throughout the week.
3. Develop a positive self-image
Becoming more positive means programming your subconscious to focus on positive thoughts rather than fear, which is what causes anxiety.
The way you speak about yourself is a way of creating your own story, to yourself and to other people. This forms the framework of how you feel about yourself. So, make it a good story, because this will improve the way you live your life.
First thing in the morning, visualize the way you want to go through the day. When you close your eyes and imagine something, your body will respond to the image in your mind as if the event were really happening. Every day acknowledge something good about the day. The mind forms memories through experiences, so acknowledge positive events.
The full realization that you are responsible for yourself is a fundamental step for mental well-being. You have everything you need within yourself, you are complete and whole. Feel that you are worthy of care and love. The best relationship is the one you have with yourself. So, practise self-care. Say these words to yourself every day:
I am worthy
I am self-confident
I am capable of achieving my goals
5. Get rid of negative thinking
Negative thinking is a habit that must be broken in dealing with anxiety.
Negative self-talk is the inner critic. By watching your thoughts, you can learn how your mind operates. Your thoughts affect your feelings, and this determines the way you behave. If you tell yourself you have no energy, or you feel frustrated, then that is how you will feel. Keep a photograph of yourself as a child where you can see it every day. It will remind you of the innocence and wonder you felt as a child.
Avoid the company of people who discourage you. Choose to be with those who motivate you to become a better person. Being in good company also includes the company of books and good music. Read motivational books, and listen to inspirational music. You will find your spirits are lifted and you are filled with positive energy.