If you’re suffering from acute stress or anxiety, the best port of call is your GP, who will be able to advise a correct treatment plan tailored to your needs. These methods can help alleviate the symptoms of stress and anxiety, especially if used in conjunction with traditional methods, and are helpful tools to have in your box, next time you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Get your mind off the problem, it’s not going anywhere, but you can. Take the dog for a mini walk. Revisit your funniest emails. Take yourself to a yoga or Pilates class. Meditate. Listen to your favourite song. Google a beach in Tahiti. Make your self a cup of herbal tea.
Caffeine is a stimulant that increases adrenaline in the body, the very hormone you are looking to reduce. Avoid coffee (decaf is OK), colas, guarana, chocolate, and more than 2 cups of tea daily.
Eat small meals often
Maintaining steady blood sugar levels is key to stabilizing mood. Ensure you have a small meal every 2-3 hours that contains protein. For example, a hard-boiled egg and lettuce, some almonds, a can of tuna and brown rice.
The more anxious you become, breathing becomes shallower and higher in the chest. Consciously lengthen your breath, breathing deeper into the belly. Count to three on the in-breath, and four on the out-breath.
Talk to yourself
Affirmations are positive, self-affirming messages to self. In the case of anxiety, calming and positive is required. Try “All will be well”, or “I always cope, just breathe and relax”.
Tell someone who cares
Phone your mum or a friend. Acknowledging you are finding a situation stressful, and being heard and understood by someone who cares for you, even if they can’t physically help, will reduce stress levels.
In the moment you feel totally overwhelmed, gently place both palms side by side on your face, fingers gently resting on your closed eyelids. This can help centre you, give you a momentary break and quieten the mind, until you feel more centred and ready to face the world again.
If anxiety and stress has become a significant part your life, seek help from a psychologist or counselor, stress is their specialty. You don’t have to do this on your own – remember, it’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to seek help.