“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” – William James
Life is more stressful than ever. According to one research, our stress levels have increased by almost 30% in the last three decades.
WHY SO MUCH STRESS?
We all have different sources of stress, yet it seems like the advent of new technologies (i.e. smartphones, social media), ever increasing global competition, and this “success at all cost” oriented culture are just a few root causes. We live in a world where we’re connected with everyone 24/7. Quite literally, we are sending tweets, snaps, texts, emails in every waking moment. This hyper-connectivity brings about a level of communal stress and pressure that’s unprecedented.
Our addiction to social media and work has made us evermore prone to stress and anxiety. We constantly compare our lives and achievements with those of friends and family. After reading through everyones’ updates on their engagements, promotions, vacations, and weddings, it’s easy to wonder…”Why is my life so shitty?”
To keep up with this never-ending race, we try to send the best snapchats, write the perfect caption for Instragram posts, or figure out a way to perfectly express our thoughts in 140 characters. Once you post a picture, you find yourself constantly refreshing your screen, waiting for those “likes” that’ll validate your awesome post and popularity.
WHAT DOES DAILY ANXIETY & STRESS MEAN?
Hyper-connectivity and increased social pressure are making us suffer increased daily anxiety and stress. We are becoming increasingly impatient, always worried about the next thing on our to-do list, and comparing ourselves to our colleagues who seem to be moving up in life and have everything figured out. Being ambitious is great. Having a big life goal is commendable. But when is everything just too much?
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES?
The short term and long term consequences of chronic stress can be severe. In the short term, you’ll notice that you’re more antsy, agitated, and worried. You’ll lose sleep, feel demotivated, and always worried about things you can’t control. This’ll affect your relationships, your health, and overall well-being. Long term, this could lead to poor health, depression, anxiety disorder, and much more.
So what are some ways you can reduce your daily anxiety? How can you make yourself forget about your worries and focus on what matters? Here’s the top recommendations based off research, proven evidence, and testimonials. To make it easier for you to navigate, we have grouped them into 7 different categories.
Tip: Don’t try to follow all of these tips, since that’ll be impossible and you’ll quickly find yourself more frustrated. We recommend trying one or two at a time from different categories and figuring our what works best for you.
- Nutrition & Diet
- Fitness & Exercise
- Personal Routines
- Technology / Work
- Eat Right & Simple – eat simple, routine items
- Take Hemp CBD Oil
- Carry Around A Snack
- Drink Tea (Or any hot beverage)
- Drink More Water
- Eat Superfoods (like hemp seeds)
- Eat Omega 3s
- Cut down on caffeine (especially after lunch)
- Do Some Yoga
- Go On A Run
- Work Out
- Take a walk during your breaks
- Set a goal with your extracurricular activities
- Plan a Hang Out Night
- Find Healthy Distractions
- Learn a Hobby
- Plan a night in (don’t go out!)
- Clean up your area (or your house)
- Get Good Sleep
- Find Quiet Time (Meditate)
- Play (and have fun!)
- Plan Your Day The Night Before
- Try Breathing Slower
- Get Rid of Clutter
- Wake up 15 minutes earlier
- Create a Budget
- Vent! Let your feelings out. Talk to someone
- Have a set morning routine
- Read for 15-20 min in the morning
- Read 20-30 minutes before going to bed
- Write in a journal every morning about your anxiety
- Listen to soothing music when you get in bed
- Establish a regular bowel routine
- Get Off Social Media
- Turn off notifications
- Stop watching television (especially reality TV)
- Only check your email during certain hours of the day
- Get Yourself to smile
- Visualize Something Positive
- Surround Yourself With Optimistic People
- Put Things In Perspective
- Don’t gossip
- Set daily “big” goals (rather than a lot of menial tasks)
- Get a massage
- Get a haircut
- Take a hot bath with epsom salts
Nutrition & Diet
Establishing a set routine for your diet can help reduce anxiety. Eating simple foods can help with your daily routine in that it avoids any upset stomachs, which only makes your daily stress worse. Eating a simple dish of oatmeal or eggs in the morning and packing your lunch could be easy ways to make your day (and body) more stress-free.
Tip: Avoid processed food! Processed food not only ruins your appetite, but it also makes you crave more junk food – ultimately leading to more frequent upset stomachs.
Various peer-reviewed studies and multiple anecdotal evidence show that the cannabinoids found in cannabis can help in treating conditions such as anxiety and depression. Among the different cannabinoids, Cannabidiol (CBD) is quickly becoming the most popular compound, as it is the second most abundant chemical found in the plant. Plus, it has no psychoactive properties, so anyone can take it without having to worry about getting “high”. Learn More
Most of lose our patience much quicker when we get hungry. We get more easily frustrated and even angry when something (or somebody) is holding things up when you’re hungry. Avoid all this by simply carrying a snack in your bag. Pack an energy bar, or even a small chocolate, that could tide your hunger until your next meal.
Tip: Try having a bag of hemp seeds near your desk or work area. They’re a great source of protein, vitamins, and your essential fatty acids. A handful of hemp seeds could keep your hunger at bay for hours! Read Hemp Seed Reviews
One of the easiest ways to calm down your mood and anxiety is by drinking a hot beverage. However, drinking too much caffeine could actually backfire on you, so make sure to mix it up with some green or black tea. Give lavender tea a try, as it is known to help with calmness and anxiety.
If you don’t like tea, you could even just drink hot water.
Tip: Check out the Top 5 Herbal Teas to help kill your anxiety
Dehydration could easily become a source of agitation and anxiety. A lot of times, you won’t even know you’re dehydrated until it’s too late. If you drink coffee or take caffeine pills, caffeine makes things much worse when you’re dehydrated. You’ll get lightheaded, dizzy, and even nauseous by not drinking enough water. Chug a glass a water every morning when you wake up, and you’ll notice a positive difference throughout your day.
Not sure what to eat for snacks? Give superfoods a try. Hemp seeds, flax seeds, and chia seeds are all great options to have at the side of your desk. If you don’t want to munch on chips, just grab a handful of hemp seeds and eat them. You’ll be surprising how quickly filling they are. Plus, they offer you all sorts of vitamins and minerals, which will help with your general health.
Studies have shown that there is a link between anxiety and Omega 3 fats. Low levels of Omega 3s have shown to lead to higher probability of anxiety and depression. Other empirical facts show that we see much lower rates of depression and anxiety in countries where fish consumption is high.
Drinking a lot of caffeine can cause anxiety. Losing a good night sleep due to too much caffeine can cause matters to get a lot worse. Cut off your coffee after lunch and try to get a good night sleep. Life will become much better.
Fitness & Exercise
Physical activity can be the easiest (and quickest) way to alleviate your anxiety. There’s probably no better feeling than the moment after you get done working out or after you come back from a run. Do this regularly and it can be your go-to source to alleviate daily stress.
You don’t necessarily have to pay those expensive rates to do yoga. Just search for top yoga videos online and get your body (and mind) in the zone and see what a difference a yoga session can make.
Doing some stretching in the mornings can make a world of difference. Make a 2-3 minute stretching a part of your morning routine and you’ll notice how much fresher your body feels throughout the rest of the day.
There’s probably nothing better than to plug in some earphones, block out the rest of the world, and go on a run. It really helps you forget about your immediate worries and feel great after you sweat everything out. You also start thinking about anything and everything, which can help you get your mind off things that are stressing you out.
Tip: Start with something easy. How about a 10 min jog around the block?
Lifting heavy things can help put things in perspective. Your work problems seem less disastrous after doing a heavy set of pushing and pulling. Turn off your smartphone and give it all you got for 45 minutes – 1 hour.
Tip: Don’t have a gym membership? No problem! There’s plenty of body workouts you can do at home.
Don’t just go get coffee with your coworker during a break. Go for a walk on your own. The physical action of walking + the silence can help you think things through and come up with new insights that you probably wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
Tip: You could even try listening to some podcasts
Life can get toxic if everything is just about work. Make yourself focus on something other than work. Get yourself involved in some type of extracurricular activity and really get into it. Make some goals that are hard yet attainable. (i.e. sign up for a marathon)
Silence and meditation is great. But you also need to find some time to let things go and have fun. Make sure to plan a night out with your friends a couple times a month.
Tip: Board games are a great way to get your friends together without the stress of having to go out and spend money
Find distractions other than your smartphone (and social media). If you find yourself always getting on Facebook and scrolling through the random newsfeed, it’s time for you to think of something else. Keep a book by you at all times. Or read through a Medium post instead of getting on Instagram. You’ll find that it’s a much better experience than seeing the obnoxious memes and “I’m awesome” posts you see on social media.
Whenever he felt stuck with his work, Albert Einstein took out his violin and played his favorite pieces. This habit actually helped him make breakthroughs in his work as it allowed him to forget about the problem for a bit, and then revisit it another time.
Constantly worrying about a problem is not going to help you solve it any better or faster. Try taking your mind off of it for a while by engaging in a healthy habit.
Tip: Here are some great ideas for a hobby: drawing, reading, playing an instrument, playing mind-stimulating games.
Going out and partying every weekend can get old quickly. Going out on Friday, Saturday nights to forget about your woes during the weekdays can quickly make matters worse. You’ll feel even more tired during the week, so your anxiety level will only increase. Trying to overcome that through alcohol and partying is only a temporary bandaid.
Having a messy surrounding can only aggravate your mental state. Whenever you take a break, try to take a minute to clean up your surrounding. The processing of cleaning and tidying can actually be quite therapeutic. Plus, you’ll feel much better when you come back to your desk or home.
The difference of your mood can be quite drastic depending on how you sleep. Make sure to set a routine on when you go to bed. Try to make your bedroom as sleep-friendly as possible. Close your blinds, get rid of any noise, and invest in a quality mattress.
Tip: Having a hard time falling asleep? Close your eyes and slowly count to 100.
It doesn’t matter if you work at home, in an office, or at a retail store. Try to find at least 10-15 minutes of quiet time during the day. Go into the bathroom stall if that’s the only place where it’s quiet. Just close your eyes and try to think of nothing for as long as possible.
As we grow up, we tend to forget how to “play”. Like to really play like how children run around in the playground. It’s really a shame. This might be quite hard, but try to find a way to really go have fun and let loose.
Tip: Join some intramural soccer / softball leagues!
If you don’t know what you’re doing that day until you wake up, things might easily overwhelm you. Always try to plan out the day the night before to see what the “big” things you need to get done the next day.
Do you feel like it’s harder to breathe when you feel overwhelmed? Try taking regular breaks to go outside and get fresh air. Intaking oxygen can really help clear up your mind. A study has shown that localized CO2 can become concentrated and mildly increase anxiety because the CO2 ratio change can signal to the body that it is suffocating.
Keeping your surroundings clean can go a long way in making you feel motivated while also lowering your anxiety. According to researchers, a messy surrounding can actually prevent the natural decline in cortisol that occurs over the course of the day. Keep your desk clean and you’ll keep your mind clean ????
How many of us gets up from bed to realize we’re barely going to make it to work on time? The morning scramble of brushing your teeth and getting dressed ASAP ensues. In the short span of 20-30 minutes of waking up and getting to work, you have already increased your anxiety and stress level to a whole new level. Think of the opposite scenario if you force yourself to wake up 15 minutes earlier? You can fix yourself a nice breakfast and maybe even do some stretching before starting your day.
Financial stress can be your main source of stress. With recent graduates coming out of school with an average of $37K in debt, it’s no wonder people are stressed. The new generation is literally starting with a disadvantage. One way you can manage the stress that comes from money is by having a monthly budget. Knowing where your money is going can make a world of different in terms of stress.
Tips: Use apps like YNAB and make sure you check in on it at the beginning or end of every month.
Meditation, reading, and going on walks are all great for reflection and to think. But sometimes, when things are bothering you, you just have to talk it out with someone. Don’t hesitate to confide with your close friends or family. Just don’t overdo this one where you start gossiping (that could make things actually more stressful)
Having some “solo” time established in the morning can help you get your day started off right. Establish a routine that works best for you. Wake up, take a walk, eat some breakfast, read the morning news. This is YOUR time – do what will make you happy and get you ready for the day.
Reading can really help take your mind off things or help you get motivated. If you engage in self-help books or biographies in the morning, it could be a great way for you to prepare for your big to-dos later in the day.
Tips: Use apps like GoodReads to discover books that you’ll love
Can’t go to bed? Too many things worrying you? Read! If you have a lot bothering you, pick up a novel that could absorb your mind. If you just need something to help you get to bed, you could also engage in some more tactical books that could help tire your brain.
Why not write down your worries? It’s good to reflect and maybe even to share your feelings with your closed ones. But sometimes, there’s nothing better than just writing it all down.
Tip: Use apps like Evernote to write down your thoughts from anywhere
Want to get all that noise and worries out of your head? Try plugging in some headphones and block it all out with some soothing music. Pick some soothing music that will put you in a calm mood (avoid rap music!)
This might sound silly, but it makes sense that establishing a regular bowel routine would help your anxiety. If you have an upset stomach, or are constipated, or are never sure when your next bowel movement might come, you’re gonna be conscious of it and it’s going to stress you out. You probably don’t need any more stress with everything that’s already going on in life.
Eat simple, routine food and establish a set time when you use the bathroom!
Technology / Work
Check around you. How many of your friends and family members are always on their phones? Aimlessly scrolling through one app after another. Constantly going through your newsfeed can only add to your stress as you see superficial posts of your friends bragging about their accomplishments and their perfect lives.
Tip: Just delete social media apps from your phone. It’s that easy!
You want to focus and enjoy whatever you’re doing at the moment. Don’t let your phone disturb you. Turn off notifications from social media or emails. Is there anything worse than ruining your family dinner by getting an crappy email from your boss?
Reality TV was born to glorify and dramatize the superficial lives of other people. Don’t feed into it.
Emails can be a big source of distraction (and anxiety). Don’t let it keep bothering you throughout the day. Disable its notification and only check it during certain times of the day. You’ll find life and work to be much more peaceful.
A new study by University of Kansas psychologists that will soon be published in the journal Psychological Science indicates that smiling can actually reduce stress and help us feel better. Try to smile more often. Are you finding it hard to smile? Turn on some sitcoms or a stand up comedy show in the evenings to relax and laugh.
Just by visualizing a positive outcome will increase the likelihood of its happening. Visualize the success of your afternoon presentation or your next sales meeting. Notice how it makes a difference.
Negative people will automatically affect your attitude and make you see the world in a negative lens. They’ll drain your energy and actually discouraging you from taking action a lot of times. They’ll say “it won’t work” or “you’re wasting your time”. If anybody says that, just avoid them.
Is your boss stressing you out? Did you miss a deadline? Whatever is causing your anxiety, try to put things in perspective. There’s a lot worse that could happen. At least you weren’t born in Syria or North Korea. Seriously.
Gossiping is the equivalent of having a negative attitude. It’s all fine to vent out your frustration once in a while. But don’t let that lead to gossiping. Gossiping with coworkers or friends can only lead to more headaches in the future. Let your friends know you don’t want to gossip. Change the topic of the conversation and they’ll get the idea.
You don’t have to try to conquer the world every day by completing tens of different tasks. Set a few BIG goals that you can realistically accomplish. Setting too many goals for the day can cause extra stress when you can’t get to all of them. There’s no worse feeling than having to push things off to tomorrow.
At times, your body might just be mentally and physically exhausted, making it hard for you to be motivated or optimistic. Find ways to rejuvenate your mind and body.
This could turn into an expensive habit, but gift yourself a massage every once in a while. Feel and embrace the total relaxation of your muscles!
Having confidence in yourself is a great way to reduce daily stress. When you look good, you feel good. Go get yourself a haircut, style your hair, and feel good about yourself!
Had a crappy day at work? Come home and prepare yourself a hot bath! There’s nothing better than just forgetting everything and laying in the bath.
Or… find a way to take a bath in nature like this guy!