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Relieve Stress and Anxiety

Anxiety comes in many forms. It has roots in a variety of experiences: from messages we received as children; to medical conditions that affect our mood; to traumatic experiences that have not been healed; to the high stress lifestyles that many people endure. Stress differs for everyone, but it impacts us physically even though it has a psychological basis. Whatever the root of anxiety, there are many things that maintain it and not addressing the stress in our lives is one very strong maintaining factor.

Our fast paced lives and the demands of work and family always call our attention. When we are occupied or distracted we might not know how stressed we are. Suddenly, we get a signal either in the form of something not going our way; an unpleasant experience; or simply being too busy to fit one more item in our to do list, and we react in a bigger way than we expected. Our thoughts are racing, our pulse is quick, and we may start shaking or breathing quickly. This reaction is call the stress response, and it is the body’s way of telling us we are in danger and must prepare to flee, fight or freeze.

The stress response has a vital function in our survival as humans. It helped us adapt and survive in more extreme conditions. However, the problem is that for most of us, the conditions of our lives are quite safe and ordinary. We no longer have to fear the tiger that wants to make us its next meal. The other problem is that we ignore or avoid our stress, and its impact on our bodies, minds and behavior. We work psychological tricks on ourselves to be able to maintain the status quo. One myth that comes from this is that stress is everywhere and we can do nothing about it. So is the possibility of a car accident but we don’t stop driving. Not managing stress makes everything equal and everything stressful. Finding a way to prioritize taking care of ourselves can help minimize the impact of stress in our lives. People who take time to relax and unwind fare better physically and emotionally than those who don’t take time to realign and adjust their busy lifestyles. Feeling guilt about taking care of ourselves will create more tension and unhappiness, and you will probably not continue to try to relax. The following are some tips to help reduce stress:

  • Maintain a regular exercise routine. Cardiovascular exercise has been shown to effectively reduce harmful stress related chemicals in our nervous system
  • Take time to relax Make sure you take a break during your busy work day to either step outside and take a short walk.
  • Practice deep relaxation Give yourself permission to do nothing and listen to relaxation tapes or enroll in restorative yoga—poses held for long comfortable stretches of time that calm and tranquilize the body.