5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety

Try these simple stress-relieving techniques.

Posted Mar 08, 2019

Everyone experiences stress and anxiety from time to time. Most often, stress occurs when you encounter a frustrating situation or are faced with a dilemma. Social pressures, heavy workloads and financial instabilities also cause stress which can reduce productivity, cause health problems or lead to chronic symptoms of anxiety or depression.

I sat down with Ayesha Khan, a certified yoga therapist who has spent multiple years coaching people in the healing tradition of classical yoga and meditation. Here’s what she had to say:

Stress attacks your hope, willpower and makes you feel vulnerable. You get annoyed easily and react to petty issues. You may suffer mood swings and your behavior becomes unpredictable. It might seem difficult or impossible to escape from stress, but eventually, you can fight back. Try these simple stress relieving techniques.

1. Exercise

Exercise has unlimited benefits for human body and fighting stress is one of them. Research has shown that people who exercise daily are less likely to experience anxiety. Exercise causes the following effects:

Reduced stress hormones: Regular exercise lowers your stress hormones and releases the emdorphines which amplify your mood.

Improved Sleep: Exercise improves the quality of sleep. If you get enough sleep, automatically you will start to feel better.

Increased Self Confidence: You will feel more self-assured and think postively after a good workout.

You can go for a morning walk, jog, climb and do yoga. Meditations, such as circular breathing, are also beneficial in combating stress. If you are physically active, your mind will stay healthy and assertive too. Exercise is good for your mental wellbeing and boosts your immune system.

2. Lower Your Caffeine Intake

You might think that coffee keeps you going in the morning, but a significant increase in stress levels has been linked to the excessive use of caffeine. Coffee stimulates adrenaline in your body which might give you a boost temporarily but later you will feel increased fatigue and possible disturbances in your sleep cycle. On average, less than 3 cups per day is the moderate consumption level of caffeine. However, for people sensitive to caffeine, cutting coffee entirely is the best solution.

3. Proper Diet  

Stress produces a negative impact on blood flow and blood pressure. A healthy diet is necessary to overcome chronic stress. Instead of eating starchy or sugary foods, substitute fruits and green leafy vegetables. Fruits have vitamin E, and vegetables have carotenoids which improve the flow of blood to the brain. Fish has a particular substance called omega-3 fatty acid which is responsible for lowering stress hormones. Nutritious foods like blueberries and fibrous fruits have positive effects on brain functioning.

4. Chewing Gum

Another interesting way of reducing stress is having a piece of chewing gum. The brain of a person who chews gum generates specific types of waves. These waves resemble those produced by the brain of a happy person. In addition to this, chewing gum improves blood flow which naturally reduces anxiety.

5. Spend Time With Loved Ones

There is no substitute for the quality time that you spend with loved ones. Social support helps you get through stressful times. You feel very weak and vulnerable in stressful conditions, healthy friendships help at such times, and lift your spirits.

When you spend time with your close friends and family members, you feel important and heard. You may express your opinions and feelings more freely. When you speak from your heart, you feel lighter. As a result, you will not overthink on an issue or engage in self-harming thoughts.

(See "3 Ways Group Therapy Cures Social Anxiety")