Stress is described as a causative agent that causes aggression to an organism. In reality, what stress feels like is sometimes wanting to quit your job, yell at your boss, drop your kids off at school and never pick them up, and so on.
Granted, extremely stressful situations might cause one to actually go through with doing said outrageous things, but whenever the aggressor that caused us stress is removed, we find ourselves regretting our actions.
Anxiety on the other hand is described as being mentally uneasy, nervous, apprehensive, agitated, or even feeling a mixture of all of the above.
Anxiety is not as easy to pinpoint as stress and most times we don’t even realize our feelings of anxiety.
It can present itself as suddenly wanting to leave social gatherings you were formerly comfortable in, unwillingness to engage in activities you formerly enjoyed, and sometimes feeling as though you are choking.
It is important to note that everybody experiences stress and anxiety in different ways, so one should pay close attention to their mental and physical well-being to be able to notice when things are off.
How to tell if you are stressed and anxious
- Depression: A constant feeling of depression may be attributed to stress and anxiety. If you constantly feel unhappy or dispirited even when doing things you love then those could be signs of stress especially if there is an aggressor affecting your daily life, or anxiety if the thoughts of those things make you uneasy.
- Exhaustion: Being stressed or being anxious is more likely to make one feel exhausted. You basically feel tired even after resting and you go about your daily activities sluggishly. The constant exhaustion could also put a damper on other aspects of your life and you lose the interest to do things you would normally love doing.
- Feeling too much or too little: Stress and anxiety can throw your emotions out of whack. You begin to get angry over things that wouldn’t normally anger you, or feel nonchalant about things you would usually be passionate about. Unbalanced emotions can be regarded as a marker for raised stress and anxiety levels.
Things that can cause stress and anxiety
- Bereavement: The loss of a loved one can cause you to be stressed or feel anxious. This is especially true if you were in any way dependent on the deceased person. The lack of such a presence can cause anger, depression, and even pain, all of which are known to increase feelings of stress and anxiety.
- Stagnation: Being stuck at the same place for an extended period of time, especially if you are supposed to be moving on to other things can heighten one’s stress and anxiety levels. Even a lack of things to do can also cause one to be stressed and anxious. So if you are stuck on a project and you start lashing out at other people, you might want to consider other activities to help reduce your stress and anxiety levels.
- Lack: Lacking a particular thing can cause one to feel stressed and anxious. Especially lacking things like money and other basic things which are needed for our everyday lives. The helplessness that comes with lacking something even further serves to intensify our feelings of stress and anxiety.
- Being overworked: Being overworked is another very potent stressor that causes stress and anxiety. Being overworked causes fatigue of both body and mind and that raises our stress and anxiety levels.
Things to do to deal with stress and anxiety
1) Medications and natural drugs
The use of prescription drugs should be a last resort in trying to alleviate stress and anxiety. It is advisable to try the above options to help you deal with stress and anxiety before thinking about using drugs as the use of medication has disadvantages and is rife with side effects.
It is advisable to see a doctor and get the go-ahead before thinking about using medicine to alleviate your stress and anxiety and to also know which drugs to use.
An example of natural drugs that are useful in dealing with stress and anxiety is the delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol, delta-8-THC for short.
Delta 8 products are made of a psychoactive cannabinoid with neuroprotective properties and a host of other functions. It is different from regular THC in that it has much fewer euphoric side effects.
Given the above side effects, lifestyle changes and other therapies are recommended in helping you manage stress and anxiety.
2) Change your mindset
The very first step of getting rid of stress and anxiety is changing your mindset. Most times, the things that cause us stress aren’t temporal, for example having a new baby or getting a new job.
The only way to stop such situations from making you anxious or stressed is to accept that the aggressor isn’t going anywhere and think about ways to deal with it.
Instead of thinking things like how demanding your job is think instead of how it pushes you to become a better person. Constantly think positive thoughts about stressful situations and always try to focus on things that are going right instead of the ones that are going wrong.
Studies show that optimists are generally happier than pessimists for obvious reasons.
3) Lifestyle and dietary changes
Another way of dealing with stress and anxiety is to make lifestyle modifications. Being healthy generally reduces our risks of being stressed or anxious.
Going for runs or engaging in other forms of exercise causes your brain to realize endorphins which basically elevate your mood. Coupled with the fact that being physically fit makes it less likely for you to fall sick, there are simply no disadvantages of exercising.
Eating healthy is another lifestyle modification that is bound to reduce your stress and anxiety levels. Avoid high sugar foods as well as caffeinated drinks.
Cutting down your alcohol intake and stopping tobacco use is another lifestyle modification to consider. Both alcohol and tobacco might worsen your feelings of stress and anxiety.
4) Social interaction, hobbies, and activities
For some people, being around other people when they are stressed or anxious helps them feel better, for others, the reverse is the case.
Depending on the kind of person you are, a night out with friends or going to see a movie might help with your stress and anxiety.
Or a quiet night in, a warm bath and a good book might do the trick for you.
Engaging in other activities and having hobbies could also help you deal with stress. A monotonous life can be suffocating for some people, so it is advisable to look for interests outside your career or family life.
You could learn to paint, try writing, learn to play an instrument and so much more. There are a lot of things to explore in your spare time.
5) Taking breaks and guilty pleasures
Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to take a break from your life for much-needed personal time. You could travel to a new place, change your scenery or just spend a couple of lazy days in bed.
Taking breaks gives us time to sit down and listen to ourselves, to process and collect our thoughts and even prevent us from breaking down.
It is also good to engage in your guilty pleasures once in a while. Guilty pleasures are effective stress and anxiety killers. Something like binge-watching a new chick flick could elevate your mood and reduce your stress and anxiety levels.
6) Take time to enjoy the little things
Most times the hustle and bustle of our daily lives make us too busy to stop and enjoy the little things.
It’s good to stop and take in the things happening in our environment instead of constantly moving from one thing to another.
You can start to admire nature, wake up on time to watch the sunrise, go for a walk on the beach and even play in the rain once in a while.
You can also give meditation a try, studies show that it is very effective in dealing with stress and anxiety.
Such things we consider mundane are really effective stress and anxiety killers and most times they help to boost our moods.
Advantages of effective stress and anxiety management
- Increased productivity: Managing stress and anxiety effectively increases our productivity and helps us to do things to the best of our abilities.
- Improved mood: Effective stress and anxiety management improves our mood and makes us happier.
- A positive outlook on life: Low levels of stress and anxiety generally make us see the brighter aspects of our lives.
It is impossible to control the things that are happening to us, but it is possible to control how we react to those things.
We can not go through life without a few stumbling blocks, but we can either chose to cry about them or make stepping stones out of those stumbling blocks.
Better stress and anxiety management help to improve the overall quality of our lives.