Today we’re going to talk about stress and anxiety.
How do I handle anxiety? How do I reduce my stress?
I hear that question almost every single day.
First, I want you to be clear that I am not a licensed psychiatrist or 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.
These are simple techniques for people who want to manage their stress and anxiety better. not necessarily having any life-threatening issues with their anxiety and stress.
So, first and foremost, I will come out with the big three: 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 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 exercise, and it’s a particular type of intense exercise, I feel my anxiety and stress levels rise, my irritability rises, and my patience reduces significantly. Hence, I must exercise daily. Maybe that’s not the right amount of exercise for you. I strongly recommend it, and all the data and studies have shown that regular exercise significantly reduces 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. This means they get excited, and you can feel that stress and all that nervous energy at a high rpm. As such, your body has less ability to dissipate that energy.
So, you stay at a high-stress level all the time. A healthy diet is a healthy diet; there’s no shortage of information out there; I’m not a dietitian, so I would recommend looking for a healthy diet to reduce the amount of caffeine and alcohol you’re consuming. Look at the times of day you’re eating, and make sure you’re eating from the rainbow. 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. Hence, it’s vital that as inviting as it is to binge Netflix until one or two o’clock in the morning, you need to take responsibility for your rest cycle. Turn off the television, turn off the electronics, put down the book, and go to bed at a decent hour.
Most of us cannot control what time we have to wake up, so the only thing we can do responsibly is set our bedtime. That means setting a reasonable bedtime to ensure that we 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. Our threshold for dealing with anxiety and stress is a large spectrum. Some of us, like myself, with a military background and in the industry I worked in for years and years, 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. I learned to deal with it; again, I have always used diet and exercise and ensured to get the proper amount of rest. Still, 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 sensitive to anxiety and stress, thank you because you and people like you have protected our species over the years. That sensitivity to stress is an evolutionary favorable trait. Members of the tribe and crew members have high sensitivity to anxiety and high stress; they’re the early warners and let us know that something’s not quite right.
So, please don’t feel bad about being sensitive to stresses around us; it’s helped protect our species. With that, maybe you need to take additional precautions or steps to reduce your stress and anxiety. Examples include carefully choosing your career. Those will also be pretty obvious, as well as sights, sounds, and smells.
If you’re feeling very anxious and stressed, one of the first things you can do is find a less stressful environment. 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.
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 going to plug connecting with nature, but also sounds and smells. Turn on something you enjoy, light a candle, have an air freshener, a place where those external stimuli can help your body deal with stress.
But the real big hitter when you’re feeling anxious, especially if you feel 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 and 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 going to feel much better.
An excellent backup is to laugh, find a comedy channel, go to YouTube, watch some cat videos as I do, and laugh out loud; you’ll feel much better than going back and readdressing the problem.
A couple more things you can do will overflow into another one of our topics coming up later next week. First, you have to learn to say no. Okay, that’s about setting boundaries, but if you learn to say no, you’ll be able to recognize your anxiety and stress limits and your thresholds. You can cap those off and protect yourself from overloading by saying no.
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 something that’s mellow not a real high-energy animal especially if your focus is to reduce your anxiety and stress. Maybe 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.