Are you feeling stressed out? Let’s face it, stress is something everyone has to deal with. What’s important, is how you manage it. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, and under pressure, it can be hard to think straight, but there are practical steps you can take to feel calm again. And what’s even better, you can put many of these lifestyle changes in place BEFORE you start feeling frazzled. Here’s a bitesize guide on how to use anxiety coping mechanisms to beat stress:
1. Sleep the stress away
Getting enough sleep is key in alleviating stress. But a decent night’s rest can feel impossible if you’re stressed out. Why? Because stress triggers your body to produce the hormones cortisol and adrenaline, both of which wake the body up, rather than allow you to wind down. You’re also more likely to wake after a short period of snooze time. If you aren’t sleeping properly, you might then get anxious about that too – Gah! talk about a vicious circle…
An excellent way to release those pesky stress hormones is by exercising. Try and squeeze a 30-minute workout into your day, ideally in the morning or early afternoon. Even a brisk walk at lunchtime will help. Or, if yoga’s more your thang, try a post-work session to unwind and clear your mind. The breathwork and meditative aspects of yoga are both fantastic stress relievers too.
Why sleep hygiene is one of the most important anxiety coping mechanisms:
Sleeping soundly will reduce stress, and good quality sleep is ALL about the sleep hygiene. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time each day – yes, even at weekends! No electronics in the bedroom and avoid watching any kind of screen before bed. Devices emit blue light that can play havoc with your Circadian rhythms, which tell your body when it’s time to sleep and wake up.
Caffeine and nicotine are no no’s after late afternoon, and you should also try and swerve alcoholic drinks in the evening. Alcohol has a sedative-like effect that will help you drop off, but you’re unlikely to have a restful night. This is because booze causes sleep fragmentation as your body processes and breaks down the alcohol.
Still can’t sleep?
Try the Sleep Starter Plus Patch. This all-natural topical patch is packed with melatonin, a hormone that tells your body when it’s time to snooze, and 5-HTP, which kickstarts your sleep process and increases sleep duration. There’s also valerian root, a tried and tested sleep aid with sedative properties, and magnesium, which activates mechanisms in the brain that calm you and reduce anxiety. Plus, unlike sleeping tablets, you won’t get that groggy, hungover feeling the next day – result!
You’ll soon be sleeping like a baby again and feeling refreshed and less stressed.
2. Stress-busting supplements and diet as anxiety coping mechanisms:
You can’t control the outside influences that trigger stress, but when it comes to what you put into your body, you’re the boss. Choosing the right nutrients and supplements will keep your body and mind on top form. Then, when stress strikes, you’ll be in the best space to deal with it.
Research shows that Omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce stress and anxiety. So, your diet should include plenty of good fats such as oily fish and avocados, alongside oils such as coconut, hemp, and extra virgin olive, plus plenty of nuts and seeds.
Loading up on green leafy vegetables and brassicas (like cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli) is also savvy, as they have also been shown to combat anxiety. And don’t forget plenty of brightly coloured vegetables and berries. They have a high antioxidant content to fight off inflammation, which goes hand in hand with stress.
The best stress fighting supplements:
Wondering if there are any anxiety coping mechanisms you can try without dramatically changing your daily routine? Supplements are a MUST. Firstly, think about boosting your B vitamins. There are 8 of them and they can all ease depressive and anxiety symptoms, by enhancing your brain chemistry and balancing out neurotransmitters. B-vitamins are also water-soluble, so it’s important to top up your levels with a B-complex supplement every day. B12 should be top of your list because it plays a key role in the synthesis of ‘happy’ neurotransmitters, like serotonin and dopamine. Guess what, we can help you with that – B12 Plus Patches.
There are also tons of natural stress relievers that can help you feel calmer. Passionflower extract and the herb ashgwanda are renowned for their mood stabilisation properties. You’ll find both these goodies in the Relax and Unwind Patch, plus GABA. What’s GABA you say? It’s a neurotransmitter needed for healthy mood regulation, and low levels are linked to depression and mood swings. Well worth replenishing when everything’s getting on top of you.
3. And breathe… how meditation works as one of the key anxiety coping mechanisms
An anxiety busting method you’ve probably already tried without thinking about it is taking a deep breath. When life feels too much, stepping away from a stressful situation and taking time out to breathe deeply will help you clear your mind and feel calmer.
You can take this further by practising meditation. Meditation is all about paying attention to the breath and refocusing the brain away from everyday life. It’s a great stress reliever because it allows you to take the time to pause and rest your mind. Rather than getting overwhelmed by stress, meditation will help you recognise certain mental patterns and therefore, become less affected by them.
Studies have shown that practising meditation daily for 8 weeks can significantly reduce stress levels. If you stick with it, you’ll actually re-programme your brain and end up with way more capacity to manage stress – pretty cool, no? Want to give it a try? Here’s a beginner’s guide to get you started.
While you meditate or breathe deep, try surrounding yourself with calming scents. Research shows some smells can activate certain receptors in your brain, potentially easing anxiety. Scents like lavender, camomile, and sandalwood are all very soothing, but try out a few and see which calms you down best.
If light touch anxiety coping mechanisms aren’t reducing your stress levels enough, CBT, or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, is something to consider. CBT can help you cope with overwhelming problems by teaching you how to break them down into smaller parts. Being on top of your problems = less stress.
A key part of CBT is writing down or discussing what’s making you stressed and anxious. Verbalising your fears gets them out of your head and can make them feel less daunting. Once you’ve got all your worries in one place, you can start breaking them down into things you can do something about, and things that you can’t. You can then look at steps to solve practical problems and park theoretical worries – they’ll have way less power over you written down.
You can get access to CBT through your GP. Many regions now also have wellbeing services that allow you to self-refer for mental health help. There are also loads of apps on the NHS site that can help you manage worries and negative thoughts. Click here to give them a go.