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10 Ways to Ease Anxiety And Reduce Stress

Aug 17, 2007
Anxiety attacks aren't always composed of sudden, debilitating bouts of depression, melancholia, and worry like some people would have us think. As a matter of fact, anxiety and stress is at it's most troubling when it creeps up on us slowly, in the course of our daily lives. Instead of being a hammer blow of fear and stress, the most telling forms of anxiety are more like sand caught between the gears of a machine, that wear away at it gradually until it stalls or falls apart.

To that end, dealing with anxiety is best done BEFORE the breakdown. For people who are already in the heavier stages of anxiety, it's best to seek professional counseling. However, for most of us, it's not too late to do something personally to relieve our stressors before they get more serious. Here are ten tips to take that can help you in that direction.

1) Concentrate on the Solution, Not the Problem - Most people's anxieties come from thinking so much about what's going wrong that they lose track of what they can do to set it right. Focusing on trying to find a positive solution to a problem is not only more productive, it also helps you to keep your mind off the potential "bad things" that can happen and stress you out.

2) Focus on Logic - anxiety or stress is a product mainly of our emotions. Whenever any stressful situation crops up, our first natural responses are with emotion, wether it be elation, laughter, worry, or pain. When troubles arise, deal with the problem logically instead of emotionally. This allows your solutions to be both more effective and unaffected by personal biases, as well as avoiding anxiety.

3) Find a Hobby - this is a simple thing to implement. Hobbies may, to some people, seem to be a waste of time and resources. However, hobbies, wether in the form of music, exercise, reading a book, or whatever, allow us to relax and take our minds off the "daily grind" that can contribute so much to our anxieties. Nothing is too "silly" to be a hobby, as long as you actually like doing it.

4) Improve Your Sense of Humor - it's actually a truism that laughter is one of the best medicines in the world. Taking things TOO seriously causes a lot of anxiety. Fussing over any and everything is a surefire way to getting wrinkles before you're old (which add their own worries and anxiety). Learn to laugh at the world, the things around you, and even (perhaps most importantly) yourself and your worries. If you can find something funny in even the dumbest things that happen to you, your anxieties will collectively pack up and leave for an extended vacation.

5) Baby Steps - when handling situations, remember to take things one step at a time. Trying to plan everything far in advance makes you lose track of the present, and you wind up worrying over things that haven't even happened yet. There's nothing wrong with having contingencies for almost every possibility, but it's best to focus on the here and now. Looking too far ahead down a road tends to make you miss the banana peel at your foot...

6) Murphy's Law Has a Point - okay, so maybe the saying "what can go wrong will go wrong" isn't something designed to make you relax. However, this can be modified in a certain fashion. Things DO happen from time to time that we would rather didn't. You have two choices: agonize over them (and give yourself anxiety, heartburn, and hemmoroids) or just do something about it. Work on and plan for the things you know you can do something about, and just shrug off and deal with the things you can't.

7) Half Full or Half Empty? It's BOTH! - most people say "think positive" to deal with anxiety. This isn't always possible. Blind optimism that things WILL work out will cause tons of anxiety when they eventually DON'T. On the other hand, cynicism and a certainty that things will go boom in your face isn't a healthy way to think either. Hope for the best but don't expect it, and plan for the worst without letting worries over it bog you down.

8) Hamsters are Your Friends - okay, I'm half-joking. Actually, it's true that people who keep pets, especially warm, fuzzy, loveable ones, tend to get their stress knocked out by the antics of their little buddies. If you're not an animal lover though, feel free to reject this option.

9) Avoid Music and Movies that Kick Your Butt - there are certain times life has a soundtrack. When we've just been ditched, it's almost a dead certainty that the radio will play something sappy and viciously appropriate. However, we don't have to go out of our way to amplify this cosmic phenomenon. If your anxieties are caused by worries over street violence and the safety of your children, for example, don't watch a movie about gang wars, or you'll wind up locking your kids away in the basement till they're 20-something. They won't like that unless you include an ample supply of beer, potato chips, video games, and porn. Not a good idea.

10) Avoid Paranoid People - birds of a feather, and all that... you know the saying. Well, if you have anxieties about certain things, don't hang around with people stuck in the same rut who spend all their time whining about it. Find people who have gone through the things that bother you but have come through it with their skins intact. You'll learn useful things, AND you will know that no matter how bad things get there's always an end in sight.

We hope these stress reduction tips will provide some useful tools and tips to reduce anxiety to a manageable level.
About the Author
Tell your story! Pick up tips and tricks to help with stress reduction and enhance your life free of undue worries. Join our growing community. The author, Bill Urell MA.CAAP-II, is an addictions therapist at a leading drug rehab. He teaches healthy life styles and life skills. Visit us at: http://www.AddictionRecoveryBasics.com
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