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Every life has stress. The key is to manage it before it takes over. A healthful diet and regular exercise routine are integral to stress management. Most people also do better with a regular routine of eating, sleeping, and exercise. Other techniques for managing stress include learning to say “no,” both at work and in your personal relationships. If you have relationships that cause you far more stress than happiness, maybe it’s time to re-think them. Determine your personal boundaries and stick with them without shame or guilt. If you’re looking for tips on how to relieve stress, here are three simple ways to deal with anxiety symptoms and stress symptoms.
How to Relieve Stress: Top Three Tips
1. Eat healthy food
There’s no escaping it. A healthy body promotes a healthy mind. There is plenty of evidence that exercising regularly and eating well will help relieve anxiety. You may feel like hiding in your home, watching TV, and munching on chips, but over the long term this will make you feel worse. Start with baby steps.
- Replace those chips with apple slices or carrots.
- Take a relaxing walk in a quiet park. Find what exercise you like and stick to it. If you can find a buddy to do it with you, that’s ideal.
- Switch packaged foods for fruits and veggies.
- Don’t deny yourself your favorite treats, but save them for special occasions. In particular, you might find it beneficial to avoid sugar, as this can lead to rebound low blood sugar levels, which can produce anxiety symptoms.
- It’s also a good idea to limit caffeine intake, since it is a stimulant and can trigger anxiety. Caffeine can be found in coffee, tea, cola, chocolate, and many weight loss or energy supplements.
- Drugs and alcohol can also trigger anxiety, so seek professional help if you find yourself unable to limit these or give them up altogether.
2. Write it down
Here’s another bit of advice for anyone wondering how to relieve stress: Write it down. Some people find relief with journaling. Pick up a blank diary and see if writing down your thoughts and feelings helps you feel less burdened.
Sometimes, seeing what you’re thinking and doing written down on paper helps you identify where you might make some changes. This is just for you. There is no need to show it to anyone. That way you can be completely honest about what you write. Don’t hold back.
The point of the exercise is to get everything out on the page so you no longer have to hold onto it in your head. It’s not about being right or wrong or good or bad; it’s just about release.
While journaling is a solitary activity, it’s important that you not let yourself be isolated all the time….
3. Keep your social schedule active
Even if your anxiety is triggered when you are around other people (defined as social anxiety disorder), it’s very important for mental health to have social connections. You don’t need to surround yourself with admirers. Just having one or two people that you feel comfortable with and can talk to about your problems with can be very helpful. Reach out to family, friends, a member of the clergy, or a professional therapist if you’re feeling isolated.
- If you’re not ready to talk face-to-face, look for online anxiety support groups, but make it a long-term goal to develop real-life connections as well.
- If you’re not used to unburdening yourself to others, it’s time you learned to communicate about feelings. Ironically, the first step to good communication is to take the time to really listen to other people.
- Pay attention to both what they are saying and how they are behaving. Acknowledge what you hear and observe. This sets the stage for good rapport. When it’s your turn, explain how you have been feeling and what you think the triggers are.
- Be careful not to lay blame on the other person. This is about you and only you. Ask for help and advice.
- Be clear about your needs without being confrontational.
- If you continue to struggle with communication, a professional therapist can help you.
Originally published in February 2016 and updated.