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Reduce Your Stress and Anxiety

Updated on August 27, 2020
M Butler Stone profile image

I'm a stressball like you! Here are some ways to mellow out and take control of your overthinking, overworrying mind.

Get Moving

Running is a great way to boost health
Running is a great way to boost health | Source

Exercise is something your body can do to benefit your mind. In addition to the improvements you'll see in your health and physique, exercise pumps good hormones into your brain to help you feel happier and less stressed. Running, weight lifting, climbing, yoga - choose an activity you enjoy, or even better, challenge yourself to try something new. Find a playlist that revs you up to keep yourself motivated, and commit to making exercise a habit. If you dread it at first, set achievable goals for at least 3 weeks. Stick with it and soon you'll be looking forward to your next workout.

Get Writing

Write your way into good habits
Write your way into good habits | Source

Start writing it down. The actual task of handwriting helps you organize your thoughts into a manageable list. You'll feel more in control once you stop your thoughts from swirling around in your brain and give them a permanent home on paper. This also stops you from worrying that you'll forget something.

Got a lot of things to accomplish this week or month? Open a calendar and start assigning days to these tasks. Stop procrastinating scheduling appointments - set some times in stone and write them down. Laying your agenda out on paper helps you see manage your time and reduces the overwhelming feeling of being stretched too thin. Make sure to write down your exercise classes and dinner dates with friends along with your adult to-dos!

When the day or week is over, use the calendar to reflect on what you've accomplished and to help remind you of positive interactions you had. Take a few minutes to write down something you are grateful for each day - spending time in gratitude is a small way you can center your perspective every day and calm your busy thoughts.

Get Centered

Meditation calms the mind
Meditation calms the mind | Source

Along with yoga and taking a moment to count your blessings, some meditation can go a long way. Find some time to focus on the here and now. Clear your mind of distractions, relax your body and calm your breathing. As you practice, you'll find you have a better grasp of self and surroundings, giving you the headspace to think objectively about the things that are stressing you out. Improving your mindfulness can help reduce stress hormones, support your immune system, and give you more control over your emotions and reactions. Take a class to learn mindful meditation with others, or explore techniques on available websites and apps to practice any time.

Get Generous

Give back to your community
Give back to your community | Source

Volunteering is an excellent way to gain some perspective. As you spend time diving deep into your own thoughts, don't forget to look outward. Lending a helping hand is a great way to socialize, keep yourself busy, and learn about the lives of others, all while doing some good in your community. Yes, your brain gets a chemical boost from giving back, but this is one addiction that has benefits all around. Look for local opportunities to provide meals, tutor children, visit nursing homes, or care for shelter animals. Once you've identified what you're thankful for in your schedule, be sure to pass it on.

Get Crafty

Take your hobby outside
Take your hobby outside | Source

Find an outlet. Learning a new skill is a great way to spend your time and broaden your knowledge base. Painting, knitting, baking, photography, gardening, even taking up an instrument are all healthy ways to refocus your stress energy. Hobbies that actively engage your brain help to keep your mind clear of anxious thoughts. As a bonus, many of these activities can be done in groups, so you get the added benefit of social connection and friendship which can also improve your mood.

You'll feel a sense of accomplishment when you master a new skill, and having something to look forward to can keep your mindset on the right track. Brainstorm some hobbies you've seen other people do that you think you might enjoy, or think about something you'd like to make. Then start by investigating online or finding a nearby class. You may soon find yourself with renewed energy and ambition.

Get Connected

Surround yourself with friends
Surround yourself with friends | Source

One of the things that compounds or even stirs anxiety is the feeling of being alone. Whether you're someone who has few friends or many friends, it's important to keep those connections genuine and consistent. Make time in your schedule for dinner with your close friends, or make a pointed effort to get to know an acquaintance better. Spending time with people you care about will keep you engaged and help you feel like part of the bigger community.

Friends are also great sounding boards for those times when you need to vent or come up with a new plan. It's important to surround yourself with equitable and valuable relationships - remember to listen and support your friends as much as they do for you. Make sure you spend time laughing and sharing as these will bond you closer and improve your sense of self.

If you're someone who doesn't have many friends, or may be new to your city, make an effort to join a group. Signing up for a group meet-up is a great way to meet people while spending time on a fun activity that may just become your new hobby! You never know who else might be looking for their next friend.

Keep Your Focus

Often times, stress and anxiety stem from feeling out of control. Use the tips above to keep yourself focused and steady, and don't forget to extend that kindness and connection to others.

Relaxation Quiz

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This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

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