Most of us are anxious and stressed, and it’s only getting worse. To give you some perspective…
In 2018, The American Psychiatric Association surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults about their sources and levels of anxiety, and here’s what they found.
- Approximately 39% reported being more anxious than they were at this time last year
- Another 39% said they were equally anxious
- Only 19% said they were less anxious than last year
Stress and anxiety are different. Stress is typically categorized as a reaction to an external cause, such as a deadline at work, and subsides once the situation has been resolved. Stress should theoretically be a short-term physiological experience. Anxiety on the other hand is a reaction to the stress. Anxiety doesn’t fade into the distance once a threat is mediated.
The goal isn’t to eliminate stress from your life, that’s impossible, and some stress can actually be healthy, but most of us need to manage our day-to-day stress so that it doesn’t become chronic. We can also use some of these same tactics to reduce general day-to-day anxieties.
Here are five ways to reduce day-to-day stress and anxiety.
It’s mostly common knowledge now that meditation can reduce stress. Meditation takes your body out of a fight-or-flight response, or a stress response, and into a rest-and-digest state. In a rest-and-digest state, we are better able to respond and not react to a situation, our digestion works better, our muscles relax, and we are better able to manage day-to-day responsibilities.
With all of the benefits of meditation, the biggest obstacle for many people is how to start a practice. I share some of my top tips to starting a meditation practice here.
Depression, weight gain, and high blood pressure are just a few of the health issues that can be related to insufficient sleep and the connection between poor sleep and stress can be a cyclical one.
Too much stress can cause you to have a bad sleep, leading to mental and physical health issues which can, in turn, cause stress in daily life, leading to poor sleep at night.
When it comes to supplements to help ease stress and anxiety, I turn to Ayurvedic medicine and herbs that have been used therapeutically for thousands of years. Some of my go-to herbs include Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, and Holy Basil. I will take these herbs on their own, or as part of a daily supplement. I recently started using Terra Origin's Inner Balance, which is now available at Target (both in stores and online). Inner Balance includes include Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, and Holy Basil, as well as other stress reducing herbs such as Astragalus, Kelp, and L-Theanine.
A few health benefits of these herbs include:
Ashwagandha is an incredibly healthy medicinal herb. Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, boost brain function, and help fight symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Rhodiola can be used to reduce stress, combat fatigue, increase mental performance and improve physical and mental resilience.
Is an adaptogen with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It’s used to help tackle stress, anxiety, and inflammation.
Exercise reduces your stress-level; however, there is an important cavate. Moderate to high-intensity exercise may increase cortisol (your body’s stress hormone). Generally, that increase is seen as acute—meaning it won’t have long-term effects. Yet, if you are doing high intensity exercise multiple times a week, especially if during a stressful time, your cortisol levels will stay elevated.
Consistently elevated cortisol levels can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain, osteoporosis, and even impaired fertility.
It’s important to balance high intensity exercise with low-intensity movement such as yoga, Barre and walking. You may need to avoid high intensity exercise if under chronic stress until your hormones rebalance.
Managing my daily to-do list maybe one the best strategies I’ve used to combat daily stress. Here’s how I like to manage my to-do list. I keep a master weekly list of what I need to accomplish for the week, both professionally and personally. Each night I look at my master to-do list, and on a Post-it Note, I create a list of my most important tasks for the next day. I do my best to limit my daily to-do list to accomplishing one important task of the day, which I tackle in the morning, and then maybe 3-4 medium things to do, and 1-2 small tasks. For me personally, I know that’s really all I can manage in a day. I include any workout I’m doing that day as a “to-do” item, and include that in my tasks so it stays a priority right along with my work projects.
Thank You Terra Origin for sponsoring this post and thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible. As always, opinions are my own.
Using this system has really transformed how I work, and prevents me (on most days) from feeling too overwhelmed.