Remember the "barrel of monkeys" game you used to play as a child? That's what stress and anxiety are like- a never-ending game that you can't win.
It’s always there, lurking in the background, waiting for an opportunity to make your life hell. And it’s not just during times of crisis either- anxiety can pop up at any time, without warning. There’s no doubt that life can be hectic. Stress, in fact, maybe more of a problem than it was before the epidemic. But you didn’t come here to learn how stress makes you feel or how it drains your day. You came here to make your stress a thing of the past since this is a new year, and you are creating a new you.
You’ve probably heard “change is good” or “the only thing that is constant is change.” This couldn’t be more true, especially now with everything going on in the world. We are continually confronted with new problems and adjustments, whether we want it or not – and this epidemic has been no exception. Many people would claim that this epidemic has brought out the worst in some of us. But it’s not just the virus causing all of this stress- it’s how we are reacting to it.
How we choose to deal with stress and anxiety can make or break us. It’s time to get creative and find new ways to deal with these emotions. So, without further ado, here are some tips on how to stand up to stress and anxiety and take back your life.
Stress Can Make You Tougher
So, let’s look at how stress and anxiety function and what some fantastic techniques to overcome them, manage them, and not be a victim of that unpleased emotion we all encounter time and time again. We’ll share tried-and-true methods from all around the web that can assist you in living a more productive life – free of needless worry and uncertainty.
So how can we make this work for us? We must discover that sweet spot where we are challenged but not overwhelmed. Consider when you started a fitness program, had to remember material for a class in school, or were required to perform some other activity. You were undoubtedly challenged with a certain degree of difficulty and possibly felt stressed while doing it. But as you got better at it over time, the challenge faded, and a state of ease and flow set in that you started to enjoy. Remember how awful it was when you first started dating? It’s possible that you said the wrong things, that the date went horribly, and that you were concerned about how long it would take to make your escape.
But as you dated more and became talented in that area, confidence set in, and boom, the stress was a thing of the past. The same is true for learning a new language or cooking a complicated dish- there will be an adjustment period in which it’s challenging. Still, eventually, if you stick with it, things get easier. You might even enjoy it.
The lesson: Stress makes you more resilient. It’s not all bad news, after all. When we are under pressure, if we handle our stress and anxiety well, we may get stronger and more capable. It is a lengthy process that no one expects you to master in a day. Still, if you work hard to control your stress and anxiety daily, you will improve over time.
Anxiety Wears You Down
Anxiety is an unpleasant distant relative of stress. It comes when you least expect it, exhausts you, and if that isn’t enough, it makes you feel terrible. Unless misery and self-doubt are your things, it’s normal to want it gone as soon as possible. It’s a sly little monster that can show up at any time, especially when you’re feeling vulnerable.
Anxiety has many faces and likes to blend in without announcing its arrival. Physical symptoms, such as a headache, tightness in the chest, or nausea, might be the start. Or anxious thoughts, worries about the future, or self-doubt may all show up. It’s critical to be aware of these indicators to detect anxiety early and handle it before it gets out of control.
You might be asking, “How can I kick this freeloading tenant out of my life?” There is no one-size-fits-all approach to eliminating anxiety. What works for one person may not work for another. However, here are some broad guidelines that can assist you, and keep in mind that the same suggestions apply to stress.
Start by acknowledging the anxiety. Acknowledge that these are normal reactions to difficult situations and that they will fade over time if you manage them correctly. The game has shifted, and the pandemic has changed the landscape forever. Give yourself some time to adjust.
Identify your triggers for anxiety and try to avoid or reduce exposure to them. For example, if watching the news makes you anxious like a particular member of your family, limit your disclosure or find a news source that is less triggering. If socializing leaves you feeling exhausted, take mini-breaks throughout the evening instead take a well-deserved vacation from it entirely. I know that is asking a lot for some of us.
Identify your strengths and use them to your advantage. When we feel capable and strong, it can help reduce anxiety. For example, if you are good at problem-solving, try to focus on the solutions to the problems you face rather than the problems themselves.
Challenge negative thoughts. When we start to worry about things we can’t control, challenge those thoughts and ask ourselves, “what is the worst that could happen?” Often our fears are worse than reality. Life is too short to be consumed by fear, doubt, and anxiety.
Take care of yourself. This includes eating a nutritious diet. This might be difficult for some people since so many different choices accessible to you every day. Is vegan the answer? Do you prefer carnivorous or vegetarian food, or should you go with a Mediterranean style? This is a bit more of a personal decision, but as long as you get your fill of fresh vegetables, lean protein, water, and fruits from it. Once this box is checked off, well now my friend, welcome to the fast track to a healthy diet.
When was the last time you got a good sweat in? I mean it, when is that last time you enjoyed working out, looking in the mirror taking in your progress, feeling the burn, and saying something to the extent like. “Hell yes, my chiseled body is so fine. Michelangelo Davinci ain’t got nothing on me!”
Humor is a great way to deal with difficult situations, and it can be especially helpful in reducing anxiety. Laughter helps us feel more relaxed and in control of our lives. So go ahead is your find your jam. Is it to crack up to Fail Army on YouTube? Watching an epic stand-up comedy like Equanimity or The Chappel Show or catching Eddie Murphy back in an epic performance like Delirious or Raw? You’ve earned it. You’re allowed to laugh until you have a mild ache in your ribs, and a little pee-pee slips out by accident(you’re only human) because you couldn’t hold back.
Give yourself credit for trying, even if you fail first? This does not mean becoming a Crossfit master or becoming so jacked you look to come off as having a shrunken head like in Beetlejuice. It’s about finding what workout routine fits what you are doing for and the time you can set aside. Once that is done, queue those endorphins which make you feel great, and voila, help reduce anxiety. Find an activity that you enjoy and make time for it regularly.
Ah, and last but not least some good quality shut-eye. Believe it or not, your body produces cortisol, making us feel alert and awake. If you are already feeling anxious, adding stress by not getting enough sleep will worsen the situation. Aim to get between seven and eight hours of sleep every night- more if you struggle with anxiety or stress during the day. Growing up with epilepsy, I know the importance of a good night’s sleep far too(which will be covered in another article). Many people think they can power through on not enough sleep and be fine, but this is not the case, my friend. When we have stressed, our bodies produce cortisol, making us feel alert and awake. If you are already feeling anxious, adding stress by not getting enough sleep will worsen the situation. Aim to get between seven and eight hours of sleep every night- more if you struggle with anxiety or stress during the day.
Sum it all up
So there you have it: some advice on reducing anxiety, and I hope you will be free of it soon. Never forget that stress and anxiety are normal and healthy reactions to what is going on in your life, especially during these times of health awareness. Yes, there are many different options available; the only way to determine which ones work is to take the chance and experiment with various techniques. Finally, if you require immediate assistance to overcome and or manage stress and anxiety, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Crisis Text Line (HELLO to 741741) or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
- It is essential to give yourself credit for trying, even if you don’t succeed at first.
- Start by acknowledging the anxiety
- Identify your triggers
- Identify your strengths
- Challenge negative thoughts
- Take care of yourself
- Schedule an exercise routine
- Laugh it off
- Give yourself credit
- Sleep like a champ
You’re not alone in this. Millions of people are struggling with managing stress daily. But by arming yourself with the correct information and tools, you can overcome these challenges and start living your best life today.
We’re going to change the world! I know it may sound lofty, but this effort toward empowerment, education, and inspiration is something that needs your help. It might even give you a little inspiration on what we can achieve when working together as one team towards these goals.
So please share our article with friends/family members who could benefit from reading it. The first step usually isn’t easy; however, thanks for being part of my journey, and keep in mind that the best is yet to come.
Please share what strategies and tips work for you in the comments below. This has been “Anxiety Is Like A Barrel Of Monkeys, But You Can Become The Monkey Master.” I hope it was helpful.