HOW TO DEAL WITH STRESS AND ANXIETY
Stress and anxiety are increasingly becoming important parts of modern life. Material wealth has not become the panacea to our happiness needs yet. In this article, we look at a few ways in which we can have a healthy relationship with stress.
Modern life is stressful. In study after study, as our basic needs and wants are met at an increasingly higher rate with less effort, we’re finding that people are fighting mental battles. Anxiety and mental health are now much bigger concerns in all countries than they were even five years ago. And that trend is a long-term one, promising to wipe out the happiness that we thought will be ours with increased prosperity.
The problem with stress and anxiety, agree mental health experts, is that we have been socially trained into believing that they’re ‘bad things’. If we’re to look at the language that accompanies discussions of this sort, we hear words such as ‘combat’ and ‘relieve’ and ‘beat’, which set up images in our heads that stress is a bad thing that needs to be conquered.
In reality, stress is just your body telling you that certain things in your environment needs to be changed. Stress is what actually makes us change, and if we listen to what it tells us, we can mould ourselves into something better than what we currently are. The same thing could be said about failure; though we learn more from it than we do from victories, we spend a significant amount of emotional energy trying to run away from it, and to be afraid of it.
Here are three habits we can build to deal with stress and anxiety better.
1. Relax. You can change the way your body is feeling by developing conscious habits of relaxation and breathing. Taking long breaths and retreating into a quiet place will, for instance, trick your mind into relaxing.
2. Practice gratitude. Stress occurs partly because of self-absorption. We can improve our reaction to stress by practicing gratitude as a habit. Keeping a gratitude diary every night – where you write down a list of things that gave you joy on that day – will make you more empathetic and thankful.
3. Focus on intentions. Often, we get stressed when the results that we chase don’t occur. Instead of focusing on results, a focus on intentions will help you maintain a detachment towards things that are outside your control.