Feelings of anxiety/anger/stress and simple techniques

2:59 pm

Hello! 

Quick note: this post is not about generalised anxiety disorder as a clinical issue, but is about feelings of anxiety (and anger and stress) and simple ways to try and manage this.

Alright, so feelings of anxiety/anger/stress are natural responses that we all go through, but not all of us can get out of those feelings easily. Some people have anxiety so bad that they can experience a panic attack.

Such feelings are a result of what we go through in our mind. But, when our mind experiences something, our body likes to work in parallel, producing a physical response. You'll notice your heart beat faster, feel hot and sweaty, get a burst of energy, feel tense, breathe heavier.. and so on. That is because your body is releasing adrenaline and cortisol in preparation for the evolutionary fight or flight response

What's that? Back in the day our ancestors would have to try harder to survive and may come across many different life threatening situations, for example, a wild bear. So what do they do? They get stressed/anxious about the situation and their body would respond to allow them to: fight the bear OR run away from the bear (flight). Of course, in the modern age we don't have many adaptive functions for this response as we typically don't fight or run away from our problems. For example, if you are stressed about an exam.. you can't fight it or run away from it (strictly speaking - I mean you could run out the exam hall if you really wanted to..)


http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/8347
Due to this, our stress response can seem like it lingers on and make us feel worse - because we aren't making use of our physical response the way evolution intended it to be done. This is why we might do stupid things in the heat of the moment. For example, making the rash decision to start an argument with someone, hurt someone's feelings, quit a job, throw things at a wall.. etc.
So, what can we do about this physical reaction our body is producing without being harmful for anyone? We can try to de-stress and calm down. Not only do we need to calm down in our mind, but our body too (which will automatically calm down your mind). They both work in sync, if you calm one the other will respond similarly.

Three de-stressing techniques:

1) Breathing activity (helps clear your head and relax you):
Inhale from your nose for five seconds, and exhale from your mouth for ten seconds. Do this about three times and you’ll notice a great relief. You can also do this while picturing a relaxing scene in your mind (e.g. a quiet beach). You can especially do this when you feel extremely angry to help prevent you from making any hasty decisions. Doing this in other situations like before going into an exam, doing a presentation or going to a social event (if you face social anxiety) can help calm the nerves too.

2) Chocolate:
Have you ever heard the saying “chocolate makes you happy”? Well it’s true! Eating chocolate releases endorphins (a happy hormone) which elevate the mood. Therefore, eating some chocolate can also de-stress you. It’s one of the reasons people comfort eat! BUT, don’t use that as an excuse to binge out on chocolate! As with everything else, chocolate needs to be consumed within moderation (unfortunately).

3) Exercise:
There are other ways to release endorphins too, with one of them being exercise. Have you ever noticed how energetic and optimistic you feel after a work out? That is of course when you haven’t worked out to your maximum potential and feel drained! You’ll be surprised at the mental wellbeing benefits that exercise has, with de-stressing being one of them. You don't need to have a full training session at the gym; going for a quick jog or having a rave to music in your room is great. Just get your heart racing and feel yourself cheer up!

Long-term stress can suppress our immune system, so try to de-stress as often as you can. Remember that these feelings are in our heads.. meaning we are in control of them. If we learn to pick up on when we think we're going to reach our limit, we will be able to learn to counteract this and prevent ourselves from going through the nasty experience. Hope this helps any of you to relax those nerves!

Stay chilled like an ice-cube (yes, yes, I actually just said that),
Ayesha xxx

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6 comments

  1. Lovely post! The destressing tips are incredible. They work for me, aspecially the chocolate ofcourse ;)

    www.writingmonique.com

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  2. This is a lovely post and I love that you address anxiety issues. I used to suffer from panic attacks at the worst of times, however exercise and mindful breathing definitely helped a huge amount. I eat a massive amount of chocolate too, so I'd love to think that was doing some good! ;)

    http://aglassofice.blogspot.co.uk/
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    x

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  3. I'm definitely going to remember this breathing exercise!

    Tara xo

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  4. This post really helped me! Thank you for sharing you tips!

    Susanna

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