The Link Between Anxiety and Stress: How to Manage Stress and Anxiety

Séverine LEMOINEStress Management

Everyone has experienced high levels of stress or anxiety at some point. In fact, about one-third of the people in America are living with intense stress levels and approximately 40 million people are affected by anxiety every year.

Both have many symptoms in common, such as trouble sleeping, exhaustion, irritability, and tense muscles. Even though feeling stressed or anxious can be normal to a certain extent, it could become difficult to cope with if not handled properly. 

Despite being similar and having a connection, there is a difference between stress and anxiety. How can you tell stress apart from anxiety, and is it possible to learn how to manage them? Below, we’ve provided you with the answers. 

How Are Stress and Anxiety Related?

When you face a threat, or a change occurs in your life, whether good or bad, your body has the normal reaction of feeling stressed. It can reflect in a physical or emotional way. A normal amount of stress can sometimes be a positive thing, as it can motivate you to accomplish a goal or finish a job on time. 

Anxiety, on the other hand, is a psychological reaction to stress. It can cause a sensation of fear, rapid heartbeat, or extreme worrying. Feeling some anxiety is also a natural reactor when it comes to things like an important meeting with your boss or a big school exam. 

As natural as stress and anxiety may be at times, if it begins to interfere with your daily routine, then there may be a problem. If that’s your case, getting professional help is a smart choice. Yet, there are other things you can do that’ll help to control or reduce your levels of stress and anxiety. 

How to Manage Stress and Anxiety

If you’ve been dealing with severe stress and anxiety for a while now, then you know that it won’t go away overnight. Learning how to manage your stress as well as your anxiety can be an ongoing process. Here are a few things that you could start implementing in your day-to-day life. 

Exercise

Exercising regularly makes your brain produce endorphins. Endorphins are vital for anxiety and stress relief, as they act as natural painkillers for the body and help increase pleasure. They also help you to sleep better, which, in turn, will reduce stress and anxiety. 

You don’t have to work out every day for hours on end to reap benefits. Start with baby steps, perhaps going for a walk 15-20 minutes, three times a week. By setting realistic goals, you’ll be able to easily achieve them, which will help you stick out your habit. 

Diet

What you eat may worsen your anxiety and stress levels. For example, caffeine or too much sugar and processed foods tend to increase blood pressure, heart rates, and nervousness. 

Stick to regular, healthy meals. Cut back on processed sugars and include the necessary nutrients in your diet. It may be hard at first to have to drastically cut out unhealthy foods you’re used to but, with patience, you’ll notice an improvement in your mental health. 

Meditation

Meditating is one of the most popular practices to help reduce stress or anxiety. It helps train your mind to focus on the present and push aside any jumbled, overwhelming thoughts that might be distressing you. You also learn the ability of breath control, which helps soothe hyperventilation and anxiety.

Avoid Procrastination 

People don’t procrastinate just because they’re lazy. Stress and anxiety can be the underlying root of your procrastination, which, in turn, causes more stress and anxiety, making you fall into a vicious cycle. 

In this case, try to plan things ahead of time and create daily to-do lists. It’ll help you structure your day and get important things done faster. 

Aromas

When you inhale a scent, your nervous system receives messages sent by your brain, which affects your overall well-being. There are essential oils that help calm your nerves and relax your mental state, such as lavender oil. 

You can use essential oils for baths, tea, or even apply them directly on your wrists. Before trying any, apply a small amount on your skin and wait to see if there’s an allergic reaction.

Effective essential oils for stress and anxiety reduction are:

  • Lavender
  • Valerian 
  • Chamomile
  • Lemon Balm
  • Clary Sage

Write

When bombarded by many emotions at once, our stress and anxiety levels can sky-rocket, making you lose the notion of why you were feeling distressed in the first place. 

Get yourself a journal and start writing out your thoughts. Writing is an effective way to channel your thoughts and understand what you’re feeling and why. It also helps to express yourself better and let out all the negative feelings you might be having. 

Speak to Someone

Bottling up your feelings and keeping them to yourself is harmful to your mental health. It could even worsen your anxiety and eventually lead to having panic attacks. 

By opening up and venting with someone about the way you feel, you’ll feel instant relief. Sometimes, an outsider’s perspective or opinion can provide comfort as well. 

Seek Professional Help

These suggestions on how to manage stress and anxiety can help in the long run to improve your mental health. However, even if you do put these tips into practice, speaking to a certified professional is also a good idea. 

They’ll know how to evaluate you and pinpoint any other possible stress and anxiety triggers you might have overseen. Want to learn more ways on how to improve your mental health? Contact us today or read our other articles!