5 Holistic Ways to Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Written by Krista Harper
Stress and anxiety are inevitable in life. We can choose to fight against these necessary evils, or we can learn how to accept and manage them. They don’t have to be a negative interference, and life can be fully enjoyed, daily stressors and all. Even severe levels can be alleviated with these five holistic ways to reduce stress and anxiety.
Write it down.
Recent research has found that expressive writing may help relieve stress and anxiety. This should come as no surprise to those who’ve tried journaling as a way to organize their thoughts and feelings, as well as to look back at them later for potential insight on current circumstances.
One study, conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago, found that those with test anxiety who quickly jotted down their feelings and thoughts before taking a test earned higher grades than students who did not.
Find your “best stress zone”.
Stress and anxiety left unchecked can lead to disease, damaged relationships, and a decline in mental health, among other results of neglecting self-care. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that a healthy level of stress can actually increase productivity and a sense of accomplishment.
Finding your best stress zone involves everything you do to prepare for stressful situations, both expected and unexpected. This zone – where family, work, and life in general are in balance – is where you will find your optimum productivity.
Don’t lose sleep over it.
No matter how stressful something might be in your life, it’s not worth losing sleep over it. The more you stress, the more sleep you lose. The more sleep you lose, the more you stress – simple as that. Everything you experience in life, both good and bad, will be more enjoyable and manageable with consistent, restorative sleep.
Sleep and stress will fight a losing battle against each other until your sleep habits provide you with the sleep you need. Step in and save the day by developing a relaxing wind-down routine before bed, getting plenty of exercise, and avoiding caffeine and device screens at least 2 hours before bed.
Not taking breaks during the day, or eliminating them altogether, can lead to burnout and lost productivity. According to a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) study, “strategic rest breaks” throughout the day did not lower productivity in workers.
Frequent breaks will also alleviate eye strain and musculoskeletal discomfort, especially if a quick walk around the block is involved.
Get to know Mother Nature.
There’s something about spending time in nature that makes you feel connected in a way that you don’t when in the midst of day-to-day life, even when surrounded by many people. Granted, it’s not always possible to find yourself lost in nature but making time to soak up Mother Nature a few times a week will carry into your day-to-day life, calming you in stressful situations.
We evolved in nature, and we are part of nature – as it is a part of us. It reminds us to notice and appreciate silence, as opposed to buzzing overstimulation that puts stress on brains that were originally wired in tranquil environments.