02 Jul Pursuit of Identity & Purpose FAQ #6: Stress & Anxiety
Today we’re gonna talk about anxiety and stress.
Charlie, how do I handle anxiety? How do I reduce my stress?
I hear that question almost every single day.
First let me kick off with a little bit of legal and I want you to be very clear that I am not a licensed psychiatrist or a licensed therapist, therefore, I cannot diagnose any stress or anxiety disorders. If you have been diagnosed with a stress or anxiety disorder you are to follow the directions of your therapist or doctor, not me.
These are just simple techniques for people who want to manage their stress and anxiety better not necessarily having any life-threatening issues with our anxiety and stress.
So, first and foremost, I’m gonna come out with the big three, and the big three are diet, exercise, and rest.
Maybe, you just rolled your eyes, “oh man I’ve heard that so many times before Charlie”, but the truth is you’ve heard them before because they actually work, exercise is one of the most important stress relievers and anxiety reducers in my life, I can tell you that personally.
If I don’t get my exercise, and it’s a particular type of intense exercise for me, if I don’t get my exercise on a regular basis I definitely feel my anxiety and stress levels rise, and my irritability rise, and my patience reduce significantly so it’s very important to me to get my exercise in on a daily basis. Maybe that’s not the right amount of exercise for you, but I strongly recommend and all the data and studies out there have shown that regular exercise significantly reduces your stress and anxiety.
Diet is another component to normalizing being able to manage your stress and anxiety and that means a healthy diet.
Unhealthy foods high in saturated fats and acids impact and influence the ability of your nervous system to function properly. Which means they get amped up, they get at a high rpm, you can feel that stress, you can feel literally all that nervous energy and your body has less ability to be able to dissipate that energy.
So, you stay at a really high-stress level all the time so obviously a healthy diet is a healthy diet, there’s no shortage of information out there, I’m not a dietitian as well so I would recommend looking for a healthy diet reduce the amount of caffeine and alcohol you’re consuming look at the times of day that you’re eating and make sure that you’re eating from the rainbow and you’re getting a bunch of different, diverse foods from the nutritional pyramid and have a nice balanced diet.
And lastly for the big three is rest.
Most of us do not get enough rest nor do we get very high-quality rest so it’s very important that as inviting as it is to binge Netflix until one or two o’clock in the morning, you really need to take responsibility for your rest cycle turn off the television, turn the electronics, put down the book, go to bed at a decent hour.
Most of us cannot control what time we have to wake up so the only thing that we can do responsibly is set our bedtime and that means setting a reasonable bedtime to ensure that you get between seven and nine hours of sleep, I know it sounds ridiculous, but make moves in that direction right now, the more sleep you get the better.
So, those are the big three, but again each of us is an individual there’s a large spectrum of our threshold for dealing with anxiety and stress, some of us like myself with a military background and in the industry that I worked in for years and years, I have a very high tolerance for stress and anxiety. It was a very fast-paced work environment so I learned techniques to cope with it and I learned to deal with it, again I have always used diet, exercise, and I’ve always ensured to get the proper amount of rest but nonetheless I’m prewired to handle a lot of stress and anxiety.
If you’re on the other end of the spectrum where you’re very, very sensitive to anxiety and stress I want to congratulate you and I want to thank you because it is you and people like you who have protected our species over the years. That sensitivity to stress is literally an evolutionary favorable trait. For us to have members of the tribe and members of the crew to have high sensitivity to anxiety and high stress, they’re the early warners, they let us know that something’s not quite right.
So, don’t feel bad about being very sensitive to stresses around us, it’s actually helped protect our species, so with that maybe you need to take additional precautions or additional steps to reduce your stress and anxiety, like carefully choosing your career, and those are going to be pretty obvious as well, sight, sounds, and smells.
If you’re feeling very anxious and very stressed, one of the first things you can do is try to find an environment that is less stressful and less anxious to you. If you’re in a professional environment maybe you don’t have the opportunity to do that, we’ll talk about what you can do if you can’t control your environment.
But, first and foremost control what you can, so find a nice place that looks nice, the ability to look out a window, nature, of course, I’m always gonna plug connecting with nature, but also sounds and smells. Turn on something mellow something that you really enjoy, light a candle, have an air freshener, a place where those external stimuli can actually help your body deal with stress.
But the real big hitter when you’re feeling anxious especially if you felt an adrenaline rush because of that stress, the best thing you can do to turn off those adrenal glands is to breathe deeply, breathe deeply through your nose hold it for just a second and then exhale completely out through your mouth, I guarantee if you take three to five deep breathes like that you’re gonna feel much better.
A really great backup also is to just laugh, find a comedy channel, go to YouTube, watch some cat videos like I do, laugh out loud with yourself, you’ll feel much better then go back and readdress the problem.
A couple more things that you can do, this is gonna overflow into another one of our topics coming up later next week, but you have to learn to say no. Okay that’s about setting boundaries, but if you learn to say no you’ll then be able to recognize what your anxiety and stress limits are and what your thresholds are and by saying no you’ll be able to cap those off and protect yourself from overloading.
Then finally, a little plug for going down to your local shelter and adopting a pet, pets always come in on the top five stress and anxiety reducers in our society, so go out there adopt a cat, adopt a dog, maybe somethings that’s mellow not a real high-energy animal especially if your focus is to reduce your anxiety and stress. I recommend you find a nice lap cat or a nice couch potato of a senior dog and enjoy some quiet time with them.
Okay, those are the big ones on anxiety and stress. I hope that helps you out a little bit at least as always I encourage you to subscribe to this blog and my YouTube channel The Pursuit of Identity & Purpose to get videos of these topics and future updates, alright thank you very much.