Keeping Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are like cookies and ice cream: They often go together, they’re distinct yet similar, and having too much of them can be bad for your health. If you experience stress and anxiety, you don’t have to live in their grip. From tips and tricks to meditation and medicine, you have options for relief.
Stress vs. Anxiety: What’s the Difference?
Stress and anxiety are normal parts of life, and they affect everyone in some way for different lengths of time.
“Stress is any physical or psychological demand,” says Michelle Gardner, Behavioral Health Unit Director at Southern New Hampshire Health. “It can be the result of something positive or exciting in your life, or it can be a result of something negative or challenging.
“Anxiety is a feeling of fear or worry that may or may not be related to a stressful situation,” Gardner says. If that feeling is worse over time, it could signal an anxiety disorder, which can affect a person’s day-to-day life. Anxiety disorders affect nearly one in five adults in the U.S.
How to Manage Stress and Anxiety
Try these methods to keep stress and anxiety under control.
Practice self-care. “Self-care is very important when it comes to managing stress and anxiety,” says Gardner. “We need to make sure that we take care of ourselves so that we can function at our best when we need it the most.”
This can include:
Practicing positive self-talk
Working out or attending a yoga class
Taking breaks at work
Relaxing with a good book, song, movie, or TV show
Create and practice a stress-relief plan. “The more people practice their self-care plan, the easier it is when the time comes when they need to implement it,” says Gardner. “Sometimes, managing stress and anxiety requires just changing the situation, even if it’s for a moment.”
Practice habits like these so you can put them into action easily during stressful times:
Going for a walk
Counting to 10
Asking for help
Seek treatment for anxiety disorders. “If you feel like you can’t manage anxiety on your own, go to your primary care provider,” Gardner says. “Ask about being referred to a mental health specialist or a support group. Sometimes, people need medications to help.”