“Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life.” – Marilu Henner
Stress and anxiety are a common experience. Even the most successful and high functioning person comes face to face with worry, fear, and uncertainty.
But like any emotion it can be productive or counterproductive depending on how we deal with it.
Stress and anxiety are totally normal and necessary for our success, but if we aren’t able to manage and temper these emotions they can get in the way of us living a healthy and meaningful life.
So how can you reduce your stress and anxiety?
Here are six essential tips to help you do so.
1. Face your fears
When we have worries and are afraid of a situation we often avoid them. However, when we avoid a situation out of fear it tends to maintain our anxiety.
When we face our fears we learn that our anxiety reduces and what we feared wasn’t as a bad as we thought. It also allows us to deal with our problems instead of avoiding them. Refer to number three for more about this idea.
2. Accept imperfection
Many people live with stress and anxiety because they have such high level expectations. Setting high standards is important but we want to make sure we aren’t setting ourselves up for disappointment.
No one is perfect and we will make mistakes. So when you make a mistake don’t be so hard on yourself. Learn from your mistakes and recognize your strengths and weaknesses.
3. Become a problem solver
When we are feeling stressed out or anxious it can block our creativity and natural resourcefulness to solve problems. Remember that many problems can be solved or some sort of resolution can be found.
So next time you are worried or concerned about something consider what you can do to find a solution. It isn’t always possible but often we can take action and make a change.
4. Make time for relaxation
Everyone needs time for rest and relaxation, but in a busy world where we have more and more responsibility it is easy to neglect this need. You may have to prioritize relaxation in your life.
Learn relaxation strategies, go lay in a hammock, or take 10 minutes to be still and silent. No matter what it is, find healthy ways to give yourself a break from tension.
5. Focus on the positive
When we are experiencing distress it is natural to get lost in self-criticism and negative thinking. We get tunnel vision on our problems and start to look at the glass as half empty. That’s why it’s important to remember there is always something we can appreciate if we are willing to shift our focus.
Practice reframing your negative thinking. Ask yourself, “How can I use this experience?” “What do I appreciate about life?” What is going well despite this challenge?”
6. Stay calm
We all have a threshold of stress we can handle before we feel overwhelmed. It is crucial to keep our stress levels below this threshold in order to cope and think clearly. Whatever your external problems currently are, remember they won’t last forever.
Remind yourself that you’re okay and you can get through it. Don’t give up. Keeping yourself grounded and gaining perspective of the bigger picture can be a helpful way to bounce back when life gets difficult.