Stress and tension have become rampant. I was taken aback when a little child in kindergarten said to me that she was under tension because she had her exams the following day! Tension and stress have become very common, and we are victims of such conditions for any and every thing, thanks to these fast-paced times. Every activity has a quick way to complete, and the results are ours to savour, likewise, speedily. While this may pander to our fancies, we are also getting affected adversely by the hectic pace of life and consider ourselves defeated if we fail to match up to it.
How to Manage Stress and Anxiety
We have discussed here some important points describing effective ways to better manage the stress and anxiety:
- Stress and anxiety take a toll on your all round health
Stress and anxiety have a very deleterious effect on our body, mind and emotions. There is an optimal level of stress, a level of stress which is needed for us to perform our activities, and perform them well. At levels above it, stress or anxiety affects us adversely. Being subjected to such stress, over prolonged periods of time, starts impacting our health. That is why many diseases are psycho-somatic in nature. In other words, the physiological condition of individuals is seen to be related to their psychological as also mental and emotional states. So, know the fact and be wise enough to remain away from stress and anxiety.
Stress is nothing but it’s a mental phenomenon which our mind creates. How is undue stress, called variously as tension, anxiety and panic, caused? It could be caused by the unpreparedness, on our part, to face a situation, known or unknown. It may also be caused by our past experiences. Once we have experienced a situation that caused us to feel anxious or stressful, the repetition of a similar situation creates the same response in us. Over time it may become a habit to experience tension and anxiety. Occurrences, situations and events may create stress in us knowingly or even unknowingly in the long-run. Stress is a mental phenomenon. There are as many reasons to experience stress as there are activities to be done and events and situations to go through in our lives. It is individual-specific. And it varies over time.
Let us see how we can keep ourselves away from stress and relieve ourselves of the stress that we are already a victim of. As stress is a mental phenomenon, we need to see how the mind can be relieved of its stresses.
- Find out the causes for your stress
Once you know what causes you stress, you can handle it better. So, be a little conscious to discover the reasons for your stress. It could be a particular event or person who stresses you out. List out the reasons and causes of your stress. Be innovative to find solutions. Because once you know what causes you stress, you can be innovative to find solutions. They may be small steps you need to take. And you could find them easily.
- Letting go
It’s because we are obsessed about something that we feel stressed. So, let go. You may not always be right. And besides, everyone has the right to have their own ideas about anything. So don’t argue with a person who has certain fixed and prejudiced ideas. They are seeing a situation from another perspective. So, take it easy. Let go, for that’s the easiest route out of an argument and the ensuing stress. Don’t get stressed. Likewise there may be different ways to achieve an objective, all nearly efficient ways. So, accept a way that may be different or novel as compared to what you feel is the way.
- It’s here and now
Nothing lasts forever. What’s here today may not be there tomorrow. So, don’t stress yourself. Instead of getting stressed about something see the opportunity that today’s situation presents to you. You will realize the benefits in the future of even the seemingly difficult situations of today. Your stress will have its effect though the situation itself will change in due course. Even a short-term situation may unnecessarily leave you with stress that will have a long-term effect on your physical, mental and emotional health.
- Be optimistic
Often we are stressed because we fear the worst. The worst may never happen. After all anything is possible. Why not be optimistic and imagine the best may happen? Stress and anxiety are mental phenomena. It is the outcome of mental worry. Life, as they say, is a self-fulfilling prophecy. So, imagine the best and the best could be yours to have.
- Look beyond yourself, look outside of yourself
When you stay focused on your own life and on your own issues and troubles at all times, you obviously feel stressed. Look beyond yourself. Look at the world around you. See others – other humans and other life forms. When you are obsessed with yourself and allow your troubles to magnify in your vision you feel you are the worst off. But that isn’t true. Isn’t it? See the troubles of others. Instead of bemoaning your situation you will become more compassionate, more generous with your time and engage in activities seeking to lighten others’ lives. You will feel lighter yourself too! After all, what you send out in the form of thoughts and actions comes back to you.
- Keep away anger
Anger is your worst enemy. It can erupt easily. It can come raging. But it is difficult to cool the flames of rage. And remorse after an attack of anger is useless. No point crying over spilt milk. Anger is the cause of many long term and sudden health conditions. Anger with oneself or the other may be counter-productive as it only spoils relationships and increases stress. It serves no purpose. So, determine to stay away from anger. Keep your cool. See the situation more dispassionately and arrive at a solution. No situation is incorrigible. Be accepting of the differences that, in fact, characterize life and the situations that life offers.
- Try to forgive and forget
That’s a great way to do away with stress. It isn’t easy to forgive and forget, but try it. You will feel less angry and vengeful, emotions that only serve to augment stress.
- Be friendly and cordial
Instead of anger and resentment, be friendly and cordial. These are easier said than done. But try it. It will work wonders in doing away with stress and anxiety. When there are difficult persons in the family or at the office or in the neighbourhood who cause stress unnecessarily what can you do? Such stress can only be handled by working on our emotions and mental state than by complaining or cursing the outside world and persons. Smile. It costs you nothing. And it is a matter of experience that a smile can disarm your opponent or rival.
- Laugh off your worries and troubles
It’s highly effective to make light of your situation, and of your troubles and tribulations. See the humour in a situation that assails you. Laugh it off. And what you have to experience or undergo will seem less painful.
- Learn to relax
There are many ways to relax. Decide to take it easy. It’s you who needs to take a conscious decision to do so. Solutions don’t come from getting worked up. Quite to the contrary. Without a relaxed mind you can’t find solutions. So, discover ways to relax.
- Switch off the mobile/smart phone for a while. No need to be obsessed by looking into it at all times.
- Develop a hobby. Hobbies are great stress busters. Whether it is stamp collecting, photography, painting, music, trekking or cooking.
- Engage in a game or sport or go walking. Sports and walking and other physical exercises and activities promote health and keep the health-promoting hormones flowing. So, do opt for it in any form.
- Learn to unwind. Go on a holiday with your family. You will see the small things that your family members do that keeps your life going which you otherwise hardly take note of. Appreciate your family members. A holiday is a good way to spend quality time with your spouse. You learn to relax along with your family.
- Take a mental vacation
Constant rush of thoughts creates chaos in your mind. Your mind is, of course, made to think. But, not to churn out thoughts as a mad rush and at all times. Give your mind a break. Do it willfully in your waking hours. Engage in some quiet periods of peace and calm when your mind can relax deeply. Relaxation and meditation techniques may be of use if you learn with a guide.
Ultimately it is the over-thinking mind that is a victim of stress and anxiety. Isn’t it? If you deal with a situation rather than brood over the difficulties and feel stressed out, you are closer to handling it successfully. Brooding is a drain on our mind.
Similarly, indulging in self-pity creates a lot of negativity. Try to keep it at bay. You aren’t so badly off. You have a lot to cheer. Take note of that and build on that. You can create a more positive world for yourself.
There are many little things to keep away or handle stress. They may seem difficult, at times, to put into practice at the nick of time, but with a little effort you can. And then the benefits are huge. So, do invest in having a light and cheerful mind!