Day to day stress and anxiety
For the sake of this short blog I want to keep the definitions of stress and anxiety simple. In no way are we looking to explore exaggerated psychological states.
Stress can be broadly described as the mental, emotional or physical strain resulting from an inability to cope with demands placed on us.
Anxiety is worry that is focused on an uncertain outcome.
Here is a quick guide to help you deal with those underlying tensions that can affect you day to day. Tensions that left unresolved can have farther reaching consequences that undermine our daily lives.
Here are our tips on easy ways to relieve stress and anxiety.
The physical side of stress and anxiety
When you are feeling overwhelmed or pre-occupied your focus goes to one of two places. You will either focus on the thoughts in your head and battle with your internal dialogue. Or you will look at the demands on you and try and find a way to re-arrange these circumstances in your favour.
But whilst there is always a mental and emotional side to stress and anxiety, it is often easy to overlook the physical impact they are having. And ironically, the quickest and easiest way to start combatting stress and anxiety often comes from addressing the physical symptoms.
Some of the physical symptoms of stress include low energy, headaches, tense muscles, chest pain and increased heart rate.
Some of the physical symptoms of anxiety include tiredness, a fast or irregular heartbeat, muscle aches and tension, and shortness of breath.
Neither of these lists is exhaustive of course, but I have picked out these particular symptoms because there are relatively straight-forward ways to help manage them. Three of the key ways is through deep and relaxed breathing, exercise and relaxation massage.
Three goods ways to relieve stress and anxiety
Deep breathing aids physical and mental relaxation in many ways. Some of the physiological advantages include decreases in heart rate, blood pressure, rate of breathing and muscle tension. Deep breathing is also believed to help increase levels of nitric oxide in the body (an essential molecule for a healthy cardio-vascular system).
Deep breathing is obviously central to the practices of yoga and meditation. But deep breathing doesn’t have to be practiced in a formal class setting. Even a few minutes of deep abdominal breathing each day can have massive advantages.
Exercise has an endless number of positive physiological side effects that can help to relieve stress and anxiety. And recent studies show that these affects may go even further than the familiar ‘endorphin effect’. There is now evidence to suggest that substances called endocannabinoids may be having a tremendous relaxation effect post-exercise.
And lastly, massage can help in multiple ways. Most directly, it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure and help to relax your muscle tension. In addition, it helps to release the hormones serotonin and dopamine, and the result is a feeling of calm relaxation that makes chronic stress and anxiety much easier to overcome.