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Simple Ways to Cope When Stress or Anxiety Hits

Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand—good or bad. Here are a few ways to manage stress and ease feelings of anxiety.

Woman relaxing in the grass, how to relieve stress and anxiety

How do you feel when you read the words stress and anxiety? Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand—good or bad. It can be acute (a fight or flight response) or chronic (increases or lasts for long periods of time). You can’t avoid or eliminate stress, but you can learn how to identify and manage it.

Stress that goes unchecked can lead to physical symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, muscle tension, frequent illness, exhaustion, poor sleep, and depression.

So, if you can’t run away to the Bahamas, what can you do to reduce stress? 

  • Start by acknowledging the issues in your life that cause you stress
  • Think about good habits that may help you relax. Be mindful of how you feel in certain situations
  • Take a few minutes each day to think about something you’re grateful for. 
  • Establish healthy habits—such as regular exercise, healthy eating, and sleeping well—that can help you feel better physically during extended periods of stress

Related: Reasons Why Being Positive Is Good for Your Health

Take time for yourself every day by choosing to do something you enjoy. You are being productive when you take time to give yourself a break.

Deep breathing and meditation can help you take a mental break and create resiliency. The exercises below can be done anywhere to quickly de-stress—no equipment necessary. Smartphone apps such as Simply Being, Calm, or Headspace can help you find peace and relaxation with a touch of a button. 

Deep Breathing

How it’s done: This can be done seated or standing. Place one hand on the chest and the other on the belly. Take a deep breath in through the nose and feel the belly, not your chest, expand. Exhale slowly through the mouth and pull the belly toward the spine.

Take six to ten deep, slow breaths per minute for five to ten minutes. Even two or three minutes can be beneficial.

Related: 3 Simple Ways To Be More Mindful

Progressive Relaxation

How it’s done: This can be done seated or standing. Close the eyes and focus on taking a few deep, slow breaths. Begin flexing and relaxing each muscle group in the body.

Start with the feet and toes, then move up the body toward the knees, thighs, glutes, chest, arms, hands, neck, jaw, and eyes. Continue taking slow breaths. Move slowly and be mindful of how each part of your body feels. 

Yoga

Yoga can also help you bring your body and mind into balance. If you're new to yoga, check out these beginner yoga poses to familiarize yourself with the practice. These simple yoga poses may help you stay calm under pressure. You may find adding regular yoga session to your routine is great for stress management. If yoga isn't your thing, try simple stretches to beat the symptoms of stress. 

How do you like to destress? Tell us on Facebook. We'd love to hear from you. While you're here, check out our other articles on healthy living. For information on our medical and dental plans, visit selecthealth.org/plans.

 

SelectHealth may link to other websites for your convenience. SelectHealth does not expressly or implicitly recommend or endorse the views, opinions, specific services, or products referenced at other websites linked to the SelectHealth site, unless explicitly stated.

The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns

 

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Post Author

Cami Flygare

Cami Flygare is a personal trainer and fitness instructor at SelectHealth. She teaches spinning, strength training, yoga, and TRX classes (to name a few). She enjoys cycling, mountain biking, rock climbing, and skiing with her family.