Long-term stress can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to manage your stress and anxiety and improve your overall well-being. Here are five tips for managing stress and anxiety.
Why Is Stress Management Important?
When not managed well, stress can cause headaches, an upset stomach, muscle tension, changes in sleep habits, and a weakened immune system. Long-term stress can increase your risk of developing conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity. Stress can also affect your mental health by causing you to feel depressed, irritable, angry, worried, or unable to focus. Managing and preventing long-term stress can reduce your risk of developing physical health conditions and improve your mood.[i]
5 Tips to Manage Your Stress and Anxiety
Taking care of your mental and physical health and finding healthy coping strategies can help you manage your stress and anxiety.
1. Identify What’s Triggering Your Stress and Anxiety
When you feel stress or anxiety, try to identify the cause. For example, is it something related to school, work, or a relationship? See if you recognize a pattern. Once you better understand what’s triggering your stress and anxiety, you can create a plan for how you will deal with those triggers going forward. In some situations, you may be able to avoid whatever’s triggering you. In others, you may need to learn healthy coping strategies.
2. Take Care of Your Physical Health
Your physical health impacts your mental health, so it’s important to take care of your body. Exercise can relieve stress as well as improve your physical fitness. Stress can deplete certain vitamins, like Vitamin A, C, E, and B complex, so it’s important to eat nutritious, balanced meals to support your physical and mental health.
3. Make Time for Rest and Relaxation
Try activities that encourage a calm mind and that reduce stress, such as guided meditation or deep breathing. Be sure to also get plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep can negatively impact mood, memory, and judgement, as well as contribute to health issues like high blood pressure and obesity. Getting enough sleep (7-9 hours per night is recommended for adults) can help you be happier and healthier.[ii]
4. Keep a Positive Attitude
Positive thinking may lead to reduced rates of depression, improved psychological well-being, better coping skills during stressful times, and more.[iii] One way to practice positive thinking is to pay attention to your self-talk. When you notice yourself thinking negatively, try to challenge it with positive thoughts. It can also be helpful to focus on doing your best rather than trying to be perfect. No one is perfect, so give yourself grace when you feel you failed to do something perfectly.
5. Talk to Someone
Staying connected to others - whether friends, family, or local organizations - can help you feel supported and build a sense of community. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress and anxiety, it can also be helpful to talk to a mental health professional. They’ll listen to how you’re feeling and can offer suggestions for how to manage your stress and anxiety.
Learn More About Mental Health
When it comes to mental health, there’s a lot to know. Visit our Resources Page for blog posts about important mental health topics.