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10 Simple Stress-Busters: Managing Anxiety in the Comfort of Your Home


Anxiety

Coping skills are essential tools that individuals can employ to manage anxiety and stress, which are common psychological experiences that can significantly impact daily functioning and overall well-being. The following are ten evidence-based coping skills that can be effective for managing anxiety and stress:


Mindfulness Meditation:

Mindfulness meditation involves maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment (Kabat-Zinn, 1994). Research has shown that mindfulness can reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress by promoting relaxation and non-judgmental awareness (Hofmann, Sawyer, Witt, & Oh, 2010).


Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR):

PMR is a technique that involves tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups in the body. This practice can help reduce the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety by promoting relaxation of the musculature and reducing overall tension (Conrad & Roth, 2007).


Deep Breathing Exercises:

Deep breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, is a simple yet effective technique to reduce anxiety and stress. It involves slow, deep breaths, which can help activate the body’s relaxation response (Ma, Yue, Gong, Zhang, Duan, Shi, Wei, & Li, 2017).


Cognitive Restructuring:

Cognitive restructuring is a core component of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and involves identifying and challenging negative thought patterns that contribute to anxiety and stress, and replacing them with more balanced and constructive thoughts (Beck, 2011).


Physical Activity:

Engaging in regular physical activity can be an effective stress reliever. Exercise increases the production of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters, and can also serve as a form of meditation in motion, helping to break the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety (Petruzzello et al., 1991).


Adequate Sleep:

Sleep and stress have a bidirectional relationship; stress can lead to sleep disturbances, and inadequate sleep can exacerbate stress. Maintaining good sleep hygiene is crucial for managing both stress and anxiety (Babson, Trainor, Feldner, & Blumenthal, 2010).


Healthy Eating Habits:

Diet can influence an individual's psychological well-being. Certain foods, such as those high in vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, can help reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety (Kiecolt-Glaser, 2011).


Time Management:

Effective time management can reduce stress by helping individuals prioritize tasks, set realistic goals, and establish boundaries to create a more balanced and manageable schedule (Macan, Shahani, Dipboye, & Phillips, 1990).


Social Support:

Having a strong social support network can act as a buffer against stress. Engaging with friends, family, or support groups can provide emotional comfort and practical help during stressful times (Cohen & Wills, 1985).


Leisure Activities:

Participation in leisure activities can be a valuable stress management tool. Activities such as hobbies, entertainment, and relaxation can provide a distraction from stressors and an outlet for expression (Iwasaki, 2006).


In conclusion, these coping skills can be integrated into one’s lifestyle to manage anxiety and stress effectively. It is important to note that individual preferences and effectiveness of these techniques can vary, and professional guidance from a licensed mental health professional may be beneficial in developing a personalized stress and anxiety management plan.


Do you need support with anxiety? We can help!


References:


Babson, K. A., Trainor, C. D., Feldner, M. T., & Blumenthal, H. (2010). A test of the effects of acute sleep deprivation on general and specific self-reported anxiety and depressive symptoms: An experimental extension. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 41(3), 297-303.


Beck, J. S. (2011). Cognitive behavior therapy: Basics and beyond (2nd ed.). Guilford Press.


Cohen, S., & Wills, T. A. (1985). Stress, social support, and the buffering hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 98(2), 310.


Conrad, A., & Roth, W. T. (2007). Muscle relaxation therapy for anxiety disorders: It works but how? Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 21(3), 243-264.


Hofmann, S. G., Sawyer, A. T., Witt, A. A., & Oh, D. (2010). The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(2), 169.


Iwasaki, Y. (2006). Counteracting stress through leisure coping: A prospective health study. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 11(2), 209-220.


Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. Hyperion.


Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K. (2011). Stress, food, and inflammation: Psychoneuroimmunology and nutrition at the cutting edge. Psychosomatic Medicine, 72(4), 365.


Ma, X., Yue, Z. Q., Gong, Z. Q., Zhang, H., Duan, N. Y., Shi, Y. T., Wei, G. X., & Li, Y. F. (2017). The effect of diaphragmatic breathing on attention, negative affect and stress in healthy adults. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 874.


Macan, T. H., Shahani, C., Dipboye, R. L., & Phillips, A. P. (1990). College students' time management: Correlations with academic performance and stress. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82(4), 760.


Petruzzello, S. J., Landers, D. M., Hatfield, B. D., Kubitz, K. A., & Salazar, W. (1991). A meta-analysis on the anxiety-reducing effects of acute and chronic exercise. Outcomes and mechanisms. Sports Medicine, 11(3), 143-182.


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