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8 Ways to Reduce Stress & Anxiety

8 Ways to Reduce Stress & Anxiety

Anxiety is your body's natural response to stress. Under conditions of extreme stress when we feel our life is threatened, our body naturally activates the "fight-or-flight" response. 

Your success in managing the biological trigger of stress depends on your ability to understand your own emotions and manage them. 

Here’s our top 8 ways to manage your emotions to reduce stress & anxiety:

1. Breathe
Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. That’s because when you breathe deeply, your body sends a message to your brain to calm your central nervous system and relax. 

Challenge
 Concentrate on feeling and listening to your breath as you inhale and exhale through your nostrils. Breathe deeply and slowly. When you feel your attention wander, gently return your focus to your breathing.


2. Share Your Story
No matter how you feel — good or bad — it's healthy to put your feelings into words and speak out your story. Talking about feelings helps us feel better when we're sad, scared, or anxious. Putting feelings into words helps us use self-control when we feel mad or upset.

Challenge
↣ Find a friend, family member, or qualified professional who can give you space to talk out your feelings in a non-judgmental way, without feeling the need to “fix” it. (hint: DON’T pick a person who will escalate your stress). If talking it out isn’t an option, write your feelings down.

3. Move Your Body 
Exercise releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve mood and decrease anxiety. Science reports that five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects.
Doctors recommend frequent exercise for both its physical and psychological benefits. Evidence suggests that exercise slows down the effects of aging and builds the body’s defenses against disease and emotional stress. 

Challenge
↣ Walk for 20 minutes before noon, or take a brisk 20 minute walk whenever you feel anxious. Alternatively, take a moment to move your body through yoga, stretching, or aerobic dance.


 4. Nutrition
Emerging scientific evidence indicates that a poor diet (processed foods high in saturated fat and sodium, and low in nutritional value) is linked to an increased risk of developing an anxiety disorder. 

Challenge
↣ Here are a few mood changing habits that have the potential to change your life---
  1. Drink More Water
  2. Eat Better
  3. Take Supplements

5. Get More Sleep

Researchers have found that the relationship between sleep problems and anxiety is bidirectional. This means that sleep problems can cause anxiety, and anxiety can disrupt your sleep. 

Research indicates that  some form of sleep disruption is present in nearly all psychiatric disorders. Studies also show that people with chronic insomnia are at high risk of developing an anxiety disorder.

Challenge
↣ Create a sleep schedule that includes---
  1. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. *Including weekends.
  2. Eliminate electronics at bedtime
  3. Focus on what you’re grateful for as you fall asleep at night
  4. Try using essential oils topically and aromatically before sleep.

6. Why is it Perfect? 

Science tells us that simply redirecting worried thoughts to positive imagery of any kind can lead to improvements in the overall experience of anxiety. That said, searching for the good in a bad situation can make all the difference!

When we ask ourselves why the struggles we face may be perfectly suited for our good, we move toward “gratitude” thinking. Gratitude significantly reduces symptoms of anxiety by reducing the stress hormones that manage the autonomic nervous system functions.

Challenge
Ask yourself the following:

“Why is the experience perfectly suited for me?” 
“What can I learn from this experience?” 
“How can this challenge benefit me?” 

Take a moment to create a mental or written list about why and how your struggles can be blessings. 

7. Let Go

Suppressing your emotions, whether it's anger, sadness, grief or frustration can impact your physical body and ultimately feed anxiety  and depression

Letting go—even if it means we feel gray and vulnerable for a moment while we identify hidden feelings—can ultimately lead to a stronger and healthier future. 
As we let go of what weighs us down, we actually open ourselves up to feeling an abundance of joy and peace.

Challenge
↣ Clean up that clutter emotional clutter! 
Visualize gathering the emotions you’re storing and imagine putting your feelings into an object that you create inside your mind. Then see the object move directly into the light of the sun at noon day. Watch your object drift away and transform into something positive, a gift you can visualize that will bring you peace. 


8. Gain Perspective

To gain perspective means you know how to change the meaning of a circumstance. 
Your new perspective changes the meaning of the event,
➤ which changes the feelings you have in response, 
➤ which changes what actions you take.

Life is full of challenges, but as we take a broader perspective we often quickly realize that what worries us may not be as significant as we think. 

Challenge
↣ Look to the past to see how others in history have successfully navigated equal or greater challenges. Perhaps find strength in your own family history by learning about ancestors who passed through significant adversity and still thrived.

Best Wishes,
Rebecca Hintze


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