It’s no secret too much stress is bad for our body and brain. Stress is the root cause of all sorts of physical and mental problems including insomnia, depression, digestive problems, and that horrible feeling of pressure you get on your chest or gut that feels like someone’s standing on you; Anxiety. But how do we mere humans keep our cool in a chaotic, unpredictable and stressful world? Here are 5 anxiety busting strategies that will help:
1) TALK IT OUT
Uncertainty is a big cause of stress and anxiety for a lot of people. As humans, we like to know what’s going on and what’s going to happen, because knowledge gives us choice and control. So most of us have a fear of the unknown. Then again, many of us keep our worries and problems to ourselves instead of sharing our load with other people. As a coach, I know that before they contact me, many of my clients have been suffering in silence for months, sometimes years. But holding onto stress is not good. Stress always finds a way out. It always ends manifesting externally in one way or another; either physically or mentally. So, when you feel stressed out or anxious about something, always talk about it with a professional or someone you trust. Talking about your worries or challenges will help dissipate stress and help you manage the confusing and stressful situations life brings your way in a more effective manner. Without communication small issues can turn into big issues that can ruin your relationships, and your life.
2) TAKE OVER THE REINS
We’re only human, so we make mistakes. But rather than pointing the finger at someone else, it makes sense to take personal responsibility for what happens in your life and look for creative ways to solve your problems. When you refuse to play the role of the victim in your life, you instantly gain control and confidence. I’m aware taking responsibility can be a bit uncomfortable at first, but in the long run you’ll feel a greater sense of freedom and personal pride.
3) GET YOUR “DOPE” ON
Deep inside our brain, our pleasure centers respond to several neurotransmitters, particularly dopamine. According to neuro scientists, when we’re deficient in dopamine, depression and low motivation are much more likely. Get a dopamine boost by engaging in meaningful and pleasurable activities on a regular basis. Love your job, work out regularly and have plenty of fun time! But avoid wearing out your pleasure centers through substance abuse or behaviors that can easily become addictive, such as gambling, video gaming, compulsive eating or shopping.
4) OVERCOME TRAUMA
Resilience – the ability to adapt to adversity and stress – is one of the most important life skills you can develop. To become more resilient, you’ve got to clean out the closet in your head of past or current traumas, so they no longer control your future. If you experience re-ocurring stress or anxiety from traumatic memories, get professional help. It’s possible to finally overcome trauma and live a healthy and happy life.
5) JOIN A COMMUNITY
Humans are social animals. Spending time with like-minded people is a wonderful way to boost your happy hormones, such as oxytocin. Studies have shown those who feel close, connected, loved and supported have a lower incidence of depression, anxiety, heart disease, infections, and cancer. Stress and anxiety can also be contagious, so become aware of the kind of company you keep, and be sure to spend more time with positive people who engage in healthy and happy habits.