5 Tips for Reducing Stress and Anxiety
Modern society is almost designed to give you a heart attack. It didn’t happen overnight, and certainly wasn’t on purpose. But with all of the benefits to be found in the massive personal power and expression of the internet age, there is also very little emphasis put on rest and relaxation. You are now expected to be available for communication around the clock, and the 24-hour news cycle found on television and the social networks means there’s always something new to be thinking about, worrying over and anticipating for the coming days. Americans work longer hours with less vacation than ever before, and yet the economy is so poor that the majority of people still struggle from paycheck to paycheck, one bad hop away from total disaster. It’s an awful lot for anyone to contend with, and if you have a predisposition for stress or depression you’ll face a daily, uphill battle. Here are five tips for reducing stress and anxiety to help you along.
First of all, give yourself short but focused technology vacations. Your cellphone and internet-linked computer are huge tools, as long as you aren’t beholden to them. It’s a lot to keep up with, and sometimes it is necessary to unplug. So choose a certain time of the day after which you just aren’t going to be available. Many people will shut things down at dinner time, and leave them off until the next morning. Keep a home phone line for emergencies, but otherwise just do something else. Those emails and text messages will still be there the next morning.
You’ve also got to take regular, short breaks during the course of the day that effectively help you reduce and manage your stress. This doesn’t have to be anything more than stepping away from your desk for a five minute walk, or just closing your eyes and doing some deep breathing exercises for thirty seconds. Our daily lives are incredibly busy, and it’s always just on to the next thing. Force yourself to step away from your worries and unwind for a short burst, and your anxiety won’t be able to build to the same peaks.
Some people feel stress and anxiety due to health concerns, but allow that fear to get in the way of resolving the situation. Everyone gets older, and as you age the chance that something will go wrong increases. But if you avoid looking at it at all, it will just compound the problem. So be responsible about trips to the doctor and the dentist for your regular check-ups. These quick visits once or twice every year will set your mind at ease, or at least give you some actionable steps to take if you do have a possible health issue to address. Just don’t avoid it or you’ll sit up at night wondering.
Although these short burst breaks are valuable, they definitely do not take the place of a vacation. Many people live imbalanced lives, with more of their time spent working than doing anything else. That extended time off is your chance to readjust the balance. Choose what works best for you, and get it on the calendar. Some people prefer long weekends four or five times a year. Others want the two or three week vacation all at once, when they can just disappear and leave their cares behind. Either one is great, just as long as you commit to making it happen.
Finally, set up your home environment so that it is an escape from the stress and anxiety of the day. Keep clutter to a minimum, and take the television or computer out of your bedroom. Have fresh flowers on the table, or fill the air with scented candles that bring relaxation. Leave classical music on in the background, or find something unique at meditationmusic.net. Your home must be more than the place your store your stuff. If going home feels like a vacation you’ll have the end of every day to let go of your anxiety and stress.