How to reduce stress and anxiety… there are 5 science-backed things I do that work immediately for me to help manage these emotions. I’ve been pretty open about my anxiety that developed this past year.
Some words I would use to describe myself: peaceful, calm, content and happy.
Some words that describe how I feel lately: overwhelmed, anxious and stressed.
Quite a contrast. Not only are those overwhelmed feelings difficult to manage in the moment, but as someone who has never struggled with anxiety, it eats at my sense of self. I am constantly saying to myself: “this isn’t me,” which only adds to the stress level.
I really feel that stress and anxiety is a 2 part battle:
- finding the “causes” and seeing what can be done to reduce them
- finding ways to manage the emotions when they arise
For me, I struggle a lot with the balancing act… balancing a growing business, being a present mom to young children, wife life, trying to be a good friend/daughter/sister and doing things for myself and my wellbeing in the mix of all of that.
Stress and anxiety are a normal part of life and these emotions vary from manageable feelings that arise on occasion to completely debilitating emotions. I know that the level of anxiety I deal with is in the manageable range and using some of these tips that I am about to share really help me.
1. I CHANGE MY PHYSICAL STATE
That sounds a little bit “out there” and I guess I could better describe this as… get your ass moving. I’m not talking about going to workout- although that does help! When my anxiety peaks the last thing I want to do is arrange childcare, drive to the gym and get in a workout. Also, my stress normally creeps in later into the evening and it’s not the ideal time for a workout.
What I mean by “I change my physical state” is that I introduce some type of movement. Stressed and anxiousness are actually physical states… we hunch over, our breathing gets shallow, etc. When you change your physical state, you can actually change your emotions.
For me, I find picking up and starting a load of laundry to be something that can start to shift my physical state and mood. The first thing I do is I take the sheets off my bed. I gather whatever laundry is lingering around my house and I pop in a load of laundry (more on that in point #3).
My husband loves to go for a walk. My girlfriend will tell me that she just drops to the ground and does a yoga sequence. You could run around with your kids, get the mail, walk up and down your stairs… anything to physically change how you are standing and how you are breathing.
I light a candle or diffuse essential oils to further reduce stressful and anxious emotions. These scents can help you breath deeper and clam you down. I don’t stand there deep breathing and make this some huge thing. I simply light a candle or click my diffuser on and keep on with my movement. The less I think about this as an anti-anxiety step, the more helpful it actually becomes.
There is a lot of research on how particular scents elicit emotions.
Scents for Stress Relief:
- Lavender – relaxes instantly both mind and body
- Clary sage – lifts mood
- Cinnamon – makes you feel refreshed
- Orange – reduces stress
- Lemon – improves mood
- Apple – controls anxiety
- Peppermint – wakes up your mind and enhances focus
- Frankincense – helps battle anxiety and gives a great stress relief
- Sandalwood – relaxes and calms body and mind
- Vanilla – increases happiness levels, uplifts your mood and stimulates feelings of relaxation and joy
3. BEDSHEETS FOR BETTER SLEEP
You’ll read that sleep is one of the most important things for feeling better. BUT, when you’re stressed, it’s also the hardest. There has been one single thing that has been an absolute game changer for me with improved sleep. And, I preach about it all of the time.
MY BEDSHEETS! full review, here
Legitimately, these sheets are the most luxurious-feeling bed sheets. They’re only $20ish from Amazon. They feel like butter. And for whatever reason… I sleep like a rock on them. 1000s of you have also purchased these and shared similar, cult-like feelings about them too!
Now my trick is that I love them freshly washed.
When I’m having a night where I am overwhelmed with everything I have to do and further stressing because I am not doing any of it… I stop myself. I get moving, light a candle, collect laundry and snag these sheets off my bed to wash.
If you want to take my bed sheet trick to the next level, splurge on THIS laundry detergent. It’s pricey but I only use it on linens. I’ve never had a house guest not ask about the detergent because it’s that fragrant and smells like a spa.
I usually just run a quick wash, dry and get these back onto my bed in under an hour.
I mean this so honestly… I get my best night of sleep after doing this. I can’t recommend this enough!
4. SMILE + LAUGH
Force it until you feel it. I used to have more of a positive yet passive approach to anxiety: “oh this stinks but it will pass.” I’ve gotten to a more proactive approach, feeling like “okay this stinks but I can do something about it.”
I have several go-tos to make myself smile and laugh. I’ll list a few that work for me but think about what you can turn to.
- looking at photos and videos of my littles
- watching my favorite comedian… Sebastian Maniscalco (if you’re new to him google his airport check in skit)
- news bloopers on YouTube (my husband and I LOVE these)
Maybe this is a bit of changing your physical state too. If I add in things that make my smile an dlaugh, I just start feeling more like my usual, happy self.
5. WRITE IT ALL OUT
I heard a tip on a podcast that when you feel like sending your husband/partner a text of “blah blah blah *insert angry message here*” you should instead type it into your notes section. Get it all out. Then, delete it. You never send the actual message but getting the thoughts out of your head makes you feel better.
Along the same lines, I like to write out what is causing me to stress out. I don’t do this every time more so just when I feel I need to.
Sometimes I’ll write out my thoughts like I am writing in a journal. Other times I’ll list them out. On occasional, I’ll actually create a to-do list based off what I’m thinking and feeling. There’s something about getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper that helps reduce stress and anxiety.
Basically, I want you to know that if you have stress and anxiety that creep up into your everyday life, you’re not alone. Sometimes it’s too big for you and you should seek professional help. Other times, such as in my case, I cant take seemingly small steps to have big effects on how I am feeling.
This list is more of a mini routine that I do to help reduce stress and anxiety and these 5 things work immediately for me. I wish the same for you!