Table of Contents
- Why Do We Need To Relieve Stress And Anxiety?
- 33 Effective Ways To Relieve Stress And Anxiety
- 1) Concentrate on positive thoughts
- 2) Fight your negative thoughts
- 3) Write your problems down on paper
- 4) Keep a diary
- 5) Understand that stress is inevitable
- 6) Avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety
- 7) Make a plan (to-do lists)
- 8) Don’t delay
- 9) Learn to say “no”
- 10) Trust the people around you
- 11) Listen to music whenever possible
- 12) Clean up space around you
- 13) Let’s travel during weekends
- 14) Get yourself ready
- 15) Don’t forget aromatherapy
- 16) Practice yoga daily
- 17) Laugh more
- 18) Take a bath
- 19) Take time for your hobby
- 20) Enhance outdoor activities
- 21) Participate in new activities
- 22) Walk with your pet
- 23) Plant a garden
- 24) Drink green tea
- 25) Enjoy a massage
- 26) Learn to meditate
- 27) Breathe deeply
- 28) Eat healthy foods
- 29) Exercise regularly
- 30) Get enough sleep
- 31) Strengthen the love
- 32) Try to be a singer
- 33) Maintain healthy relationships
Why Do We Need To Relieve Stress And Anxiety?
You know the equation I believe in?
Me + Happy = All Happy.
If I am happy, everyone around me smiles.
If I am stressed and anxious, the negative energy permeates the circle and sucks out the happiness.
Stress is a part of life.
Stress is good; it pushes us to do more and keeps us on our toes.
But too much stress can be bad for health. Little stress but over an extended period is bad for health, also.
Physically, when I am stressed, I tend to lose weight, get skin rashes, have a weak immune system, and suffer from body aches and tension headaches.
I am most fearful that these illnesses, in the long run, can develop into something serious like the heart attack or cancer.
Emotionally, when I am stressed, I am not focused, I am moody and withdrawn. People would rather hide away from my bad mood, and it affects relationships and even work performance.
Different factors cause stress. Usually, these are temporary circumstances. While I may not be able to control the things, I can control my reactions to it.
Here are my best stress management tips, practice them every day you will get a happier life.
33 Effective Ways To Relieve Stress And Anxiety
First, always go toward the good, learn to avoid negative thoughts.
1) Concentrate on positive thoughts
It is a matter of perspective. I used to get stressed over the long line in the bank. Until one day, I realized the line would not move any quicker if I got angry.
I learned to use the time productively by bringing my to-do list, or a book I am trying to finish.
See what benefits you can get from the situation. Think of what you can be thankful for despite the circumstances.
2) Fight your negative thoughts
When I hear the news, before I can even allow myself to be affected, I check if there is any truth to it.
Sometimes, we tend to stress over trivial matters that turn out to be untrue. Isn’t that such a waste of emotions?
I believe in positive thinking, so when faced with a stressful task, I become my own cheerleader: “You can do it, Abigail. You are a great chef, and that turkey will be the best ever.”
And because positive thoughts are compelling, the turkey will indeed be beautiful.
3) Write your problems down on paper
I am so old-school. If I need to make a decision, I have columns for pros and cons.
If I am choosing a brand or model of equipment, I have a point-by-point analysis of its features.
With everything in black and white, I am more objective in making the decision. At the very least, it would be the most informed decision.
It would not be based on how I feel for that moment, or how somebody else influences me.
4) Keep a diary
When I write in my diary, I can be the most honest. I don’t have to edit myself or hide anything.
There I can write about how sad I am, or how disappointed with the dish I cooked. It is also a list of things and people I am grateful for.
Emotions, when kept hidden, can cause stress. If you are not comfortable talking to someone else about it, then write about it.
5) Understand that stress is inevitable
Stress is at the same level with tax and death – they are inevitable.
Our bodies have been created to react appropriately. When some disease is trying to ravage my body, my immune system kicks up, and my antibodies put up a good fight.
In the same way that my psychological state has a ‘fight or flight’ instinct.
I always tell myself: remember, you still have an option how you react to the stressor.
6) Avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety
While stress is inevitable, there is the stress that is unnecessary and thus avoidable.
I have learned to identify my stress triggers. Like when I lack sleep, I tend to be grouchy. Also when I’m hungry, and when I am tired.
To avoid unnecessary stress, I avoid these triggers.
- If I have a big catering job the next day, I make sure to sleep early the night before.
- If I know for sure that I will be up late on this night, I make sure not to schedule anything in the morning the next day.
The second is to organize your life better and trust the people around you.
7) Make a plan (to-do lists)
Before leaving my office, I complete my to-do list for the next day and sometimes, even for the week, depending on how busy I am.
Also, I always keep a notebook in my handbag and on my bedside. I make it easy to take down notes when needed.
I used to stress myself to remember things, but I end up forgetting.
So I write it down, and when I get to the office the next day, I just have to review my notes for my spur of the moment brilliant ideas.
8) Don’t delay
When it’s on my to-do list, I really try to do it. As much as I can, I avoid procrastination.
- If every day I have 10 items on my to-do list, and on this day, I miss out on two items, then the next day it means I have 12 items to accomplish.
- If out of the 12 I am only able to do 9, then on the day after, I have 3 items on top of my usual 10.
Isn’t that too tiring?
Just thinking about it is already tiring 🙁
9) Learn to say “no”
Sometimes I wish I was Wonder Woman. Or that I had 26 hours in a day 🙂
I cannot do everything, and there is just not enough time to do everything.
In my desire to earn more, I push myself and my staff to do as many catering jobs as possible, but in the long run, it stresses both our bodies and our spirits.
I had learned to sit back and assess what is most important – income or our good health.
10) Trust the people around you
When you are a control freak like me, you will not trust anyone even the most menial job. This was one of my more significant issues at the start of our catering business.
I wanted to cut the vegetables, fillet the fish and even sweep the floor. I felt if others did it, it would not be as perfect.
Instead of having a sore body at the end of the day, I trained myself to trust.
- I trusted my instincts in hiring people who I thought would do their jobs well.
- I trusted them and gave them opportunities to prove to me that I was right about them.
The third is always to refresh your living environment actively.
11) Listen to music whenever possible
Music is always my go-to!
- When I am tired, I listen to soothing music.
- When I need to remain awake to do some tasks, I have my up music.
Sometimes it is the words that affect me, but most times it is the rhythm and the instruments.
Music seems to transport me to another place, another time.
It is a form of escapism that relieves my stress and makes me forget the present. Albeit a temporary relief, it is nonetheless healthy for the soul.
12) Clean up space around you
The eyes take in what it sees, and inadvertently, if we see clutter, our minds feel cluttered.
It is good practice to clean up my desk before going home. So when I arrive the next day, my to-do list is ready and my workspace is conducive to working.
Don’t pile up on incoming documents. Address them immediately. I allot a specific time each day to go over my inbox, a different time to make cheques and arrange payments.
13) Let’s travel during weekends
There should be the balance between work and rest.
For our staff, we don’t allow overtime during their supposed day-off to make sure no one is too exhausted.
My husband and I like to get away from it all literally. We want to take overnight trips or weekend trips to somewhere new, whether by plane or bus or taking our car.
We enjoy each other’s company, take time to meet new people or see old friends, and of course, we always check out the local food.
We don’t spend a lot to take these trips, but it is relaxing and rejuvenating for us.
14) Get yourself ready
I have a specific routine during mornings. I wake up at 6 o’clock, do an hour of exercise.
Then while resting, I have breakfast. Then I take a shower and get dressed for work.
At 8.30, I leave the house.
Routines in the morning are used to avoid feeling harassed.
I do this because I am not much of a morning person, and I feel like a zombie before 8 o’clock, so my brain function is limited to following my routine.
15) Don’t forget aromatherapy
Next to the smell of food cooking, I love the aromas of orange and lavender. I use these variants in my air freshener, essential oils, and scented candles.
Aromatherapy is using the plant extracts and essential oils to give off smells that improve my mood.
To promote calmness, I use lavender, rose, roman chamomile, ylang-ylang, and orange.
- I light candles around the dining area.
- I also have scented tea lights in the bathroom.
- In our bedroom, I use the diffuser with the oils.
Take more actions, get more benefits…
16) Practice yoga daily
Yoga is a series of exercises which combine stretching, breathing, and meditation. It helps in toning muscles, promotes flexibility and is soothing to the mind.
Most people do it in the morning in preparation for a day of hard work.
I find it more relaxing, though, to do it in the evening. It’s like getting rid of the day’s toxins and negative vibes.
17) Laugh more
I like to watch crime-related movies and TV series. Sometimes the suspense stresses me so before I finally sleep, I watch one episode of my favorite funny videos. I doze off smiling and laughing.
There is a medical reason why laughter is the best medicine:
- When you laugh, it brings in more oxygen into your body.
- Laughing also relaxes the muscles and relieves stress response.
- Overall, it is good for the immune system, and of course, it puts you in a great mood.
Laughter, like smiling, is also contagious. Laugh one, laugh all so start spreading the laughter.
18) Take a bath
- When I need to think and be active, I take a cold shower to get the system up and going.
- When I want to relax and prepare for bed, I enjoy a warm bubble bath, sometimes with wine. It is like my down time.
For best results to my bath time, I use aromatherapy.
I have lavender candles, lavender soap, lavender shampoo, lavender bath wash.
I get so relaxed I sometimes fall asleep inside the tub.
19) Take time for your hobby
When I do something I love, it does not work. It is pure enjoyment.
That is how I feel when I am gardening. I do not need to think when doing it. My hands by reflex remember how to re-pot plants, mix chemicals for fertilizer, prune and water.
As a chef, I like to cook, but I don’t consider it my hobby, because I want a hobby that is entirely unrelated to what I do every day.
Again, it is a form of escapism as I imagine myself surrounded by my flowering roses.
20) Enhance outdoor activities
What is it about the outdoor that relieves stress?
Fresh air, sunshine, the smell of leaves, cool breeze, sound of rippling water or the splash of the waves – nature at its finest.
A trip outdoors will give you a good tan, muscular legs, and a clear mind.
You can go on a hike, or a picnic, or even fishing.
I personally like fishing with my husband, and it is a great time to bond and relax while waiting for the fish to come around.
21) Participate in new activities
I used to consider cooking as my hobby, but consciously, I made the shift to gardening.
At the start, I did not know anything about it. I read up, went to a plant nursery to look around, ask questions.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to plant, so I bought a few assorted stuff – some tomato seeds, roses in a pot, an orchid and even a few cactus plants.
As I learned how to take care of each one, I soon found my favorite – roses.
I don’t think it is too late to learn anything. It does not have to be a formal class, like in school.
- It can be learning from other people by joining a club with common interests – like a painting.
- It can even be learning a new language online.
22) Walk with your pet
I used to say, love me, love my pet. I am a dog person, and there is indeed a good reason why they are called man’s best friend.
Researchers prove that pets are great in improving one’s mood.
Their loyalty and companionship are good for the soul.
I take him out for a walk or a run or even have some physical play with a ball or Frisbee. It is the great exercise for him and me as well.
23) Plant a garden
In our home, the scent of my roses provides me the beauty and companionship.
I’d like to plant a big tree in our backyard soon so I can enjoy the shade and the colors change during seasons.
To be surrounded by beautiful colors, assorted scents and a cool breeze are the benefits of having a garden.
Seeing the blooming flowers I planted gives me an added satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.
24) Drink green tea
Green tea uses leaves that have not been fermented, so it is rich in anti-oxidants, that fight off diseases especially cancer.
This drink is also useful for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as improves memory. On top of it, it has anti-aging properties.
Green tea is also soothing and relaxing. Types of green tea include sencha, matcha, and tencha.
Matcha is the one used for traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.
25) Enjoy a massage
Swedish massage is the more common type that focuses on improving blood flow and removing tension from the body. Use lavender oil to get more relaxed.
As the massage removes impurities from your body, stress is also removed. I feel so relaxed after a good massage.
When I am too busy to get a full massage, I just enjoy a quick foot massage.
The masseuse uses the limited time to work on stress points, and when he is done, my whole body is relaxed.
26) Learn to meditate
I learned meditation in yoga. I apply the principles all the time. When I am stuck in traffic, I control my emotions through positive thinking.
The way we think is manifested in the sensations in our body. Our stress and worry manifest in the tightness in the jaw, shoulders and lower back.
I free my mind, empty my brain from conscious worry.
A mind that is the full and tired result of biased thinking, confused information, and wrong decisions.
After some meditation time, I realized I could appreciate facts more, see things from the different perspective and make better choices.
Meditation is actually one of the most effective ways to manage stress.
27) Breathe deeply
Breathing draws in oxygen, and this is beneficial as it increases oxygen in the body.
When I am sitting down, I schedule an alarm to remind me to stand up, walk around for a bit and do the breathing exercises:
28) Eat healthy foods
The healthier gourmet answer to stress is to eat fruits, vegetables, and grains that will create stress-fighting hormones.
They are healthy, all-natural and I do not gain weight.
I avoid nicotine or beverages with alcohol or caffeine.
Stress is increased with the intake of caffeine and nicotine.
Instead, I drink loads of water. It is readily available and all-natural that hydrates my body and flushes out toxins.
Besides that, we can also enhance nutrition and taste for our green smoothies easily when added to any of these superfoods.
To preserve the nutrition and freshness of food, I always use my vacuum sealer to seal them before storing in the refrigerator and freeze. This machine is the guardian of our food.
29) Exercise regularly
Endorphins are the happy hormones. Our body naturally produces these hormones when we exercise. Also, the heart is exercised during physical exertion.
After a good workout in the gym, I have this sense of accomplishment and euphoria that makes me smile.
I feel like the toxins, and negative energy in my body escaped through my sweat glands.
I recommend a visit to the doctor before you take on an exercise regime. It would be good to have a baseline of your weight, blood levels and such.
He would also be able to advise on what activities you are to avoid giving your health history.
30) Get enough sleep
Do you know that during sleep, our bodies are renewed, new cells grow, and we are recharged.
We were rigged to stay up late to do last minute work or cram for meetings. Sleep deprivation creates more stress, leaves me cranky and causes hormonal imbalance.
An excellent 8-hour sleep at night is recommended. During the day, when my eyes or mind feel tired, I take a power nap of 15 – 30 minutes.
31) Strengthen the love
When you are in love, the body releases happy-go-lucky neurotransmitters that can be more potent than drugs. Thus, love is good for the body and the soul.
Enjoy a healthy relationship with your special someone. I love physical touches like a hug or a cuddle that release oxytocin, a hormone that creates happiness and removes stress.
If you don’t have a special someone, don’t stress over it. Enjoy your relationship with family and friends.
32) Try to be a singer
Music is soothing when you listen to it.
If you try to sing, the tension and stress are released when you belt out those high notes or rock the song with dance moves.
I feel liberated when I sing. It is akin to shouting, but with better lyrics and is more appealing to the ears.
However, since not all people agree that my music is relaxing, I stick to singing in the shower. The acoustics is good, and I feel like my voice is fit for a concert hall.
33) Maintain healthy relationships
My favorite therapist is my husband. I can be whatever and whoever to him, and while he is biased, he does offer logical explanations and solutions.
We each need a person in our life:
- A person who will love us unconditionally and hold our hand even when we are monsters.
- One who will listen and not judge hastily.
- One who will even tell us off when needed.
Also, you should build and maintain many good relationships with the kind people around you.
Infuse some badly-needed positivity into your life to remove stress and anxiety.
Take to heart these suggestions and slowly, you, too, can build a happy circle.