TIPS 6 THOUGH 10 TO BATTLE STRESS & ANXIETY
As a therapist and counselor many clients come to me looking for ways to battle stress and anxiety. Stress is a normal part of life but when it takes over and stops you from doing the things you need to do then it’s time to do something about it. In my last blog I shared tips 1 through 5, and below I am sharing tips 6 through 10.
TIP 6: Make stress your friend and not your enemy
Try to change your perspective about how you see stress and anxiety. Anxiety triggers the body’s natural response of fight or flight. This response system makes us more alert and gives us a burst of energy. Think of how an athlete is revved up before a competition, if he were to be totally relaxed he would never win. In controlled amounts stress and anxiety can be a motivator to get us to take action. Use this motivation wisely to push yourself when you need it.
TIP 7: Stress and negativity are contagious
Have you ever been around someone that is constantly complaining or unhappy with everything? Being around others that are negative can be a big stressor. Negative people tend to see the glass half empty, think that they have bad luck in lots of aspects in their lives, and can show jealousy when things are going well for others. Think about all the people in your life right now. Is there anyone that fits in this description? If so consider limiting the time that you spend with them. Don’t let their negativity spread into your life.
TIP 8: Surround yourself with people who are good stress managers
In the tip above you thought about all the negative people in your life. Now think of those who are the opposite. Do you know anyone who is calm under pressure? Think of someone who sees the glass half full, has a positive outlook when things go bad, and are solution focused when things go awry. Now think about what language they use, coping skills they use, and their attitude. Spend time with these people and observe how they handle things and then copy it. You can even spend time talking to them to get pointers.
TIP 9: Use diaphragmatic breathing
Have you ever noticed that when you are feeling really stressed or when your anxiety is high you sigh a lot or feel a shortness of breath? This is because when we are stressed or anxious we tend to breathe in a shallow manner. This will result in your heart rate increasing which will make you feel even more anxiety and panic. Teach your body to relax by using diaphragmatic breathing. Instead of taking breaths from your chest use your stomach. When you inhale your stomach should fill up with air and rise up. When you exhale your stomach should release the air and go down. Now add a count to slow it down. Inhale for 5 seconds, hold the breath for 3 seconds, and then exhale for 5 seconds. Practice this everyday for a few minutes so that when you are faced with an anxiety provoking or stressful situation you will be able to use this deep breathing for relaxation.
TIP 10: Stop sign
When people are anxious it tends to happen because they are thinking about a future event and how it will go wrong. As a therapist and counselor I know that these type of recurrent thoughts are filled with “what if” thinking. Thinking about the worst case scenario over and over again and allowing your thoughts to spiral will always result in anxiety and panic. When you find yourself ruminating about anything visualize a big stop sign. You can even take a moment and draw an actual stop sign. Then ask yourself if worrying about the situation will help you feel better or help you achieve your goals? If your answer is no then you know you need to shift your train of thought in that moment to something else.
As a therapist and counselor who works with those who experience high levels of stress and anxiety I love teaching and sharing tips on how to feel better. Try all the above tips and start implementing them into your life today. Practicing them on a consistent basis will make them easier to do and then you will be on your way to a stress free and well balanced life.
ABOUT ESSENCE OF HEALING COUNSELING:
Roberta Alves is a therapist and counselor at the Essence of Healing Counseling in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. She is a Certified Anxiety Specialist and uses a scientific and evidence based type of therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Research has shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is proven to be extremely effective in treating anxiety. Roberta is truly passionate about the work she does and loves serving her clients in Ft. Lauderdale and the surrounding South Florida areas. If you want to learn the proven techniques to overcome your anxiety, schedule an appointment today.