The mental (and bodily) effects of stress and anxiety can be strong. Here are some tips that can help you stay in control and avoid its power to keep you down.

  1. Take a Time-Out: When the stress or anxiety levels start to rise, take a pause rather than fighting through it. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or try some relaxation techniques by Mayo Clinic.
  2. Limit Alcohol and Caffeine: These two can aggravate anxiety and set off panic attacks. Opt for water instead, or something flavored if you like (but without a ton of sugar).
  3. Exercise Daily: Exercise has a tremendous therapeutic effect that can help you feel good and maintain your health. It doesn’t have to be a rigorous routine to have a positive result.
  4. Slowly Count to 10:  And breathe while you do it…inhale 1…exhale 2…inhale 3…exhale 4. Focus on your breath to take your mind off of whatever caused the initial stress.
  5. Accept That You Cannot Control Everything: Life takes many turns. Learning to celebrate a change will go a long way to help you not let that change ruin your day. But remember, you *can* control your perspective.
  6. Give Back to Your Community: It feels good and connects you with other people that could become a support network. Moreover, it will be a healthy distraction from any negativity.
  7. Talk to Someone: You’re not alone, so there’s no reason to fight your battle by yourself. Seek a professional if you need to, otherwise a family member or friend can still be a good outlet to open your mind and get an outside perspective.
  8. Get Enough Sleep: A single night of poor or minimal sleep can make you more susceptible to stress or anxiety. Get to bed earlier and be sure to ease into a relaxing evening routine (soften the lights, put your phone away, etc.)
  9. Eat Well-Balanced Meals: Food is medicine. Don’t skip any meals and keep healthful snacks nearby. Freshly is a fantastic source of healthy meals that can be delivered to your doorstep each week. Check them out to make healthy eating a lot easier.
  10. Take Deep Breaths: Take “breathing breaks” as often as you need to throughout the day. Practice to make deep, controlled breathing your new response to rising stress or anxiety levels.
  11. Do Your Best: There’s no need to strive for perfection in everything, and people don’t expect it from you either.
  12. Maintain a Positive Attitude: Whenever negative thoughts come your way, purposely shift your focus to something positive. If your inner voice says, “You’ll never get this done” … replace it with “I’m competent and know how to do this. The result is going to be great.” Learn to treat every negative moment with a positive outlook. Your mind is powerful.
  13. Learn What Triggers Your Anxiety: Keep a journal or use the Notes app on your phone to keep a list of what you were doing when you felt your stress or anxiety. Write down the time of day, where you were, what you were doing, and what you were thinking. Over time you’ll see a pattern and will be able to mentally prepare to reframe your mindset when the trigger happens.
  14. Get Help Online: There’s a lot of great material out there, including online support communities. However, be careful to not “diagnose yourself” with everything you read.

Source: Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) | Image Courtesy of  Everyday Health