Worry happens in your mind, stress happens in your body, and anxiety happens in your mind and your body. In small doses, worry, stress and anxiety can be positive forces in our lives. But research shows that most of us are too worried, too stressed and too anxious. So what can we do to live happier, healthier lives?
Even though you can’t completely eliminate stress from your life, you can learn sound ways to manage it and prevent much of the stress you experience. What most people don’t realize is that a lot of the stress we encounter is self-imposed. We contribute to our own stress when we don’t plan ahead, cheat ourselves on sleep, work too many hours, ignore relationship problems or procrastinate, among many other forms of behavior.
My #kiskis (Keep It Simple, Keep it Small) steps to regulate your response to worry, stress and anxiety:
Get enough sleep.
A good night’s sleep is incredibly important for your health. In fact, it’s just as important as eating healthy and exercising. Prepare your mind and body for sleep by developing a relaxing bedtime routine that begins around the same time each evening. For example, take a warm bath, listen to soothing music, read a book, or do other activities that help you wind down. (Your phone or other electronic devices are not invited to this party!) Your routine will signal to your body that bedtime is coming and help you fall asleep more quickly and easily.
Eat regular, nutritious meals.
Research has shown that there are certain foods and substances that seem to contribute to increased levels of anxiety. Fluctuating blood sugar levels, poor hydration, and use of alcohol, caffeine, and smoking can precipitate or mimic symptoms of anxiety. Set yourself up for success by eating whole foods and staying hydrated.
Move your body.
Physical exercise produces an anti-anxiety effect in the brain. Both aerobic and mindful movement , like yoga, help activate and replenish GABA, a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in the body's response to stress.