When you’re struggling with health issues, relationship troubles, or a heavy workload, it’s easy to feel overloaded, stressed, and anxious. As someone who struggles with anxiety, I understand those feelings all too well. Even the slightest mishap or change in routine can set me off into a panic attack.
Thankfully my anxiety comes and goes so regularly that I’ve learned to adjust in a way that it doesn’t affect me too negatively on a daily basis. However, others who constantly feel under pressure can experience more severe anxiety disorders, depression, and even self-harming thoughts.
Although stress is a regular, natural response to what’s going on in your environment, chronic stress has the power to greatly affect your mood and mental health in the long term.
Here are four effective ways to help tackle stress and anxiety so it doesn’t consume you:
Acknowledge and break the habit.
Stress is a habit which brings about a set of automatic behavioral patterns. For some people like myself, that means biting and picking at your nails (or picking off all of your nail polish after you just painted them) whereas others get nasty, get drunk, or eat a whole sleeve of Oreos.
When you feel that initial sense of overwhelm, it’s important that you act accordingly to make sure that it doesn’t spiral into something more. Whatever your coping mechanism is, you should be able to recognize it — and when you do, you need to break the pattern that typically happens as a result.
Handle your stress response in a healthier way. Listening to music, exercising, sitting by the water, thinking positive thoughts, and journaling are all good ways to cope with stress overload to clear your head (even if only for a little while) before jumping back in to tackle the issue at hand.
Find someone to talk to.
A common mistake is to refuse to talk about your situation… and bottling up your emotions often leads to an eventual explosion over the smallest thing. When life becomes too difficult or emotionally loaded, it’s okay to accept and admit that you need help. Defusing stress doesn’t happen overnight but it’s something that can be done over a period of time through expressing your emotions.
If you don’t want to talk to your friends about your problems because you’re afraid of burdening them, trust a therapist to help you out. ThriveTalk offers digital exchanges with professionals through chats, videos, and phone calls to seek support and stop yourself from spiraling into depression, suicidal intentions, or toxic behaviors. Sometimes a therapy that fits your lifestyle and your unique needs is all it takes to place the control back into your own hands.
Spend time with loved ones.
Another extremely common reaction to anxiety and depression is isolation. Depression naturally encourages you to step back and away from any external stressors. You stop answering texts and fall back from your friends and family until you find yourself alone and isolated with your negative thoughts.
Yes, it’s important to take time for yourself to recoup, but being with friends, family, and loved ones has the ability to cheer you up and calm you down. Who knows? Even a simple phone call with a friend or parent can change your perspective and snap you out of whatever mood you’re in. After all, that’s what your support team is for — finding emotional and intellectual support from them, and being there for them when they need you too.
Take care of yourself.
It’s okay to step back from everything for a bit to heal.
Do things that always bring you joy. Take a bath. Cook your favorite dinner. Pursue your hobbies. Eat right. Drink more water. Meditate. Cuddle your dog. Get a massage. Do whatever it takes to snap you out of that negative mindset and spring you back into the positive, normal you that you were before stress took over.
Anxiety and depression are no joke. Stress is normal but can be evil and overwhelming when you become stuck in its vicious cycle. Just remember that you are never alone and there are people out there who care about you, are there for you, and want the best for you. Don’t be afraid to do what it takes for you to heal, even if that means leaning on them and asking for help when things become a bit too much.
You’ll be okay. Promise.
Thanks for reading! How do you cope with stress? Do you struggle with anxiety or depression? Let me know in the comments below.