Sixty-eight percent of American adults say that the 2020 U.S. presidential election is a significant source of stress in their life, and that may be due in large part to the uncertainty surrounding the outcome.
In general, humans do not like uncertainty, and yet with the Covid-19 pandemic and election results that will likely take time to process, there is more than ever.
Stress and Anxiety Management Tips
So how do you quell anxiety and avoid rumination during a stressful period of life?
One problem-solving technique involves writing down the problem and coming up with as many possible solutions as you can. Decide on the good and bad points of each one and select the best solution. Write down each step that you need to take as part of the solution: what will be done, how will it be done, when will it be done, who is involved and where will it take place.
Indulge in Physical Activity
Stressful situations increase the level of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol in your body. When you feel stressed and tense, go for a brisk walk in the fresh air. Try to incorporate some physical activity into your daily routine on a regular basis, either before or after work or at lunchtime. Regular physical activity will also improve the quality of your sleep.
Get More Sleep
Rather than relying on medication, your aim should be to maximize your relaxation before going to sleep. Make sure that your bedroom is a tranquil oasis with no reminders of the things that cause you stress.
Try Relaxation Techniques
Focus on a word or phrase that has a positive meaning to you. Words such as “calm” “love” and “peace” work well, or you could think of a self-affirming mantra such as “I deserve calm in my life.” Focus on your chosen word or phrase; if you find your mind has wandered or you become aware of intrusive thoughts entering your mind, simply disregard them and return your focus to the chosen word or phrase.
Keep a Stress Journal
Keeping a stress journal for a few weeks is an effective stress management tool as it will help you become more aware of the situations which cause you to become stressed.
Manage Your Time
Make a list of all the things that you need to do and list them in order of genuine priority. Note what tasks you need to do personally and what can be delegated to others to do. Record which tasks need to be done immediately, in the next week, in the next month, or when time allows.
Learn to Say ‘No’
A common cause of stress is having too much to do and too little time in which to do it. And yet in this situation, many people will still agree to take on additional responsibility. Learning to say “No” to additional or unimportant requests will help to reduce your level of stress, and may also help you develop more self-confidence.
Rest If You Are Ill
If you are feeling unwell, do not feel that you have to carry on regardless. A short spell of rest will enable the body to recover faster.
Breathing exercises — or even just taking a few deep breaths — can help reduce tension and relieve stress, thanks to an extra boost of oxygen. While shallow breathing — a marker of stress — stimulates the sympathetic nervous system.
Eat a Snack
Pick a snack that will fill you up — say, half an avocado, a handful of nuts or a hard-boiled egg — because nothing is more stressful to the brain, Ramsey explains, than feeling like you’ve run out of nourishment. Take your snack away from your computer and go sit someplace peaceful. Focus on your food: its texture, the way it tastes, how it makes you feel. Now you’ve turned your snack into a meditation.
Buy Yourself a Plant
Houseplants aren’t just beautiful air purifiers — they can actually help you calm down. Researchers have found that simply being around plants can induce your relaxation response.
Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, and Nicotine
Avoid, or at least reduce, your consumption of nicotine and any drinks containing caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and so will increase your level of stress rather than reduce it. Alcohol is a depressant when taken in large quantities, but acts as a stimulant in smaller quantities. Therefore using alcohol as a way to alleviate stress is not ultimately helpful.
Step Away From The Screen
Make sure to take frequent breaks during your day of computer use — and try to shut offline at least an hour before bedtime.
Start Smooching More
Kissing relieves stress by helping your brain to release endorphins. In a study of 2,000 couples, researchers found that those who only kissed when they had sex were eight times more likely to report feeling chronically stressed or depressed.
Put On Some Music
While classical music has a particularly soothing effect — it slows heart rate, lowers blood pressure and even decreases levels of stress hormones — any music that you love will flood your brain with feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine.
Chew A Piece Of Gum
Chewing gum doesn’t just make your breath better — it can relieve anxiety, improve alertness and reduce stress during episodes of multitasking
Watch a Viral Video
A good laugh is a fine relaxation technique. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
Turn Off Your Phone
Smartphones, in particular, are linked to increased stress, as more and more people feel pressure to respond to messages at all times.
See Your BFF
Friends aren’t just fun — your very closest ones can actually reduce your production of cortisol.
Seek Treatment with a Certified Stress Management Coach to Learn Healthy Ways of Coping with Stress
Talking can work by either distracting you from your stressful thoughts or releasing some of the built-up tension by discussing it. Stress can cloud your judgment and prevent you from seeing things clearly. Talking things through with a friend, work colleague, or even a trained professional, can help you find solutions to your stress and put your problems into perspective.
At the Spencer Institute, we provide the quality education and support you need, so you can earn your training, coaching, or specialist certification with confidence.