What is Stress & Anxiety?
Most people experience stress and anxiety at some point in their lives. It’s very easy for either to become overwhelming and disrupt our day-to-day activities.
Stress and anxiety are often used interchangeably, and there is an overlap between them. Stress is related to the same ‘fight, flight, or freeze’ response as anxiety, and the physical sensations of both can be similar also.
However, the causes of stress and anxiety are usually rather different. Stress is typically an external pressure put upon us that we are finding hard to cope with. Whereas anxiety is an excessive reaction to a given situation and causes feelings of dread and existential fear.
A little stress now and then is not a bad thing and can often be dealt with through lifestyle changes. You may begin to feel better as soon as that project is finished, or you get a break from ‘the daily grind’. However, if stress is left untreated, it can begin to snowball into chronic stress, which leaves you more susceptible to developing an anxiety disorder or depression or worsening many serious health problems.
Ways to Calm Stress & Anxiety Naturally
Whilst there are a few benefits to caffeine, for anyone who suffers from either anxiety or stress, the benefits do not outweigh the disadvantages. High doses of caffeine are known to induce anxiety symptoms such as a racing heart, shaking, and dizziness.
We recommend slowly reducing your caffeine intake. If you’re an avid coffee drinker, start by drinking one less cup of coffee every 3 days. Enjoy a warm cup of decaf coffee instead of caffeinated. As a result, you won’t experience any withdrawal symptoms, which can also be anxiety-inducing.
There are countless amounts of deep-breathing exercises for you to try when in those moments of intense panic (panic/anxiety attack) or when extremely stressed and overwhelmed. One we have found to work particularly well in such situations is the 4-7-8 exercise. Start by closing your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds and then exhale completely through your mouth for eight seconds. Repeat this process until you begin to feel calm again.
When dealing with stress and anxiety, it may feel as if your mind can never shut off. Constantly bogged down and overthinking every move you make. It’s essential when you’re experiencing these feelings, to let your mind hit the pause button and be at one with yourself for a few moments each day. If you are a complete beginner there are great guided meditations available on Spotify, YouTube and Apple Music! Try and take at least 5 minutes each morning to follow either self-directed or guided meditations. Once over you will feel an
Engage in Regular Exercise
Moving your body decreases muscle tension, lowering the body’s contribution to feeling many symptoms of stress and anxiety. Engaging in 30 minutes or more of exercise a day three or four times a week can significantly benefit you. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout class or gym session. As little as going for a brisk walk every few days is a great way to stay active and fight off any anxiety.
Get a Good Sleeping Schedule
Your sleeping schedule is one of the most important aspects of your life you can master. When were tired we often experience higher anxiety and are more prone to becoming easily stressed out. Each night you should be aiming for between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, that way you can wake up refreshed and have more energy for the day.
Treatments That Can Help Stress & Anxiety
Acupuncture stimulates the body’s natural feel-good hormones and reduces the level of stress hormones. Unlike with counseling, people treated with acupuncture often see results after one session. The results improve with continued treatment. We recommend a course of 6 to truly gain the benefits.
Reiki is a meditative practice that promotes relaxation, reduces stress and anxiety, and promotes a positive mental state through gentle touch. We recommend one session a week to get you started however once you begin to feel better you can switch to one every fortnight/month.
Reflexology can help you feel less stressed, more relaxed, and more energised. It is great if you have a hectic schedule as it allows you 50 minutes of dedicated ‘you’ time you may not find anywhere else.
Massage is renowned for helping relax both the body and the mind. Studies show that regular use of massage reduces the severity of chronic stress and anxiety and works particularly well when used alongside professional help.