Dealing with stress and anxiety can leave one stuck in a feeling of helplessness which tends only to build on the original feelings of pain. As with most things in life, the best way to eliminate a negative is to replace it with a positive. Reducing your stress and anxiety, like any other skill, takes practice, dedication, faith and a daily reminder of all you have to be grateful for. The good news is that it is certainly achievable. To begin, let’s start with these (5) simple practices.
Focus on This Moment
- A great deal of our stress and anxiety is subconscious and is rooted in past memories and future concerns.
- All there really is in life is the present so that is where your attention should focus.
- The past is done and literally cannot hurt you anymore . . . unless you allow it to.
- The future hasn’t happened yet so it also cannot hurt you . . . unless you allow it to.
- Learn from the past, prepare for the future but live in the moment . . . and be grateful!
Engage in a Creative Pursuit
- Learn to write, paint or play the guitar.
- Every new skill you learn opens your mind up to new possibilities. This stimulation produces positive endorphins that build on each other.
- Learning something new also opens up possibilities to engage with people you might otherwise never have met.
Be Physically Active
- The mind and the body work in concert. Both need positive stimulation to function properly and contribute to the other.
- Whether it be a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood or a workout at the gym, get your heart pumping . . . your soul will thank you. Take this time to focus on all that is good in your life and be grateful..
- Everyone feels better when they are active. It’s making the time that tends to be difficult. Commit to taking a specific time every day to doing something physical and you will not only feel better, you’ll live longer.
- There is no better short term release from stress and anxiety than physical exertion.
Give Yourself to Others
- When you contribute outside of yourself you are literally making the world a better place.
- It can be as easy as simply listening to someone else with earnest intent or volunteering at a local charity garden every other Saturday.
- There is no greater joy than making a positive impact on the life of another . . . especially since you both benefit.
- Don’t just talk about helping others, take action today! It is one more thing you can add to your grateful list.
Gratitude, Gratitude, Gratitude
- Be grateful for what you have, not envious of what someone has.
- Make a list of (5) things you are grateful for and repeat them each time you start feeling sorry for yourself.
- If you focus on positive things that are present in your life every day then you are surrounding yourself with joy and a gratitude.
Finally, be consistent. Every positive action builds on itself. Stress and anxiety are not going to go away immediately but when replaced by appreciation and being grateful eventually these negative emotions will be reduced. Don’t be afraid to explore new things and expand your horizons. Click here for some reading materials that can help. Do it slowly at first but have faith that your happiness ultimately depends on you. So go be Happy!
Some other reading you might find helpful includes: