Happier Life: Useful Tips For Anxiety & Stress
Over the past few years, the world has taken a closer and more sympathetic view on mental illnesses. Before now conditions such as bipolar disorder or depression have been almost a taboo subject. The simple reason for why so many people have spoken up about their mental health is due to understanding.
With increased knowledge on how the brain functions, and how it can be affected by conditions both external and internal, the stigma around these illnesses has been challenged. The media have played a significant part in the education of the public, by publicising positive, and negative, stories on mental health it has made the topic more discussable.
However, can some of these articles be self-deprecating by causing further anxiety over things like Instagram being portrayed as the reason behind children’s depression? Not that some aren’t affected in this way – but the media shows extremes on both sides of the scale, and the trouble for the reader is to find the middle ground between all the conflicting stories.
In the US, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, with over 40,000 Americans committing suicide each year. There are many things that can cause a person to feel like this is the only way forward, but with the increased help of charities working to educate and support every citizen that number can start to come down.
Historically suicide has been against the law and was the only crime that could be sentenced as long as it was only attempted, it has also be seen in a religious context through history as a ‘sin’ to take your own life. And so the stigma grew. Now we understand better. We now have the ability to know the reasons behind any mental illness.
The most common conditions are anxiety and depression. Perhaps this is because these two conditions can be caused by outside factors and not just by a chemical miss-balance or a genetic disorder.
The common causes of anxiety include:
- Physical Factors
- Biochemical imbalances
Common symptoms include:
- Increase heart rate
- Shortness of breath or hyperventilating
- Dry mouth
- Tremors or shakes
- Fear of losing control
We all experience stress at some point in our lives, most of us would say that we experience it at some point each week. There are many ways to help handle stress, like exercise, organization, and planning.
Physical things that can cause anxiety can be medical like a thyroid problem, or purely aesthetic. Psychologically anxiety can be triggered by a phobia, loss of control of a situation, or a position where a person feels as if they are being mocked for the thing that they are already anxious about – this is the main cause of social anxiety.
The simplest, if not the easiest, way to get rid of anxiety is to change the way you think. Anxiety and depression, at its most basic, is negativity. Negative thoughts, feelings, and actions that have colored the world in such a way that there doesn’t seem to be anything good left. And these habits become so ingrained that it can be the hardest thing to change.
Anxiety is an emotion and so doesn’t have a ‘cure’, but there are ways to help make it controllable and stop it from taking over your life.
As strange as it sounds regular exercise can help. It releases endorphins into the body, which is a natural ‘happy’ hormone. The effort will be getting up and doing it, but the payoff will be huge. And if the gym isn’t your thing, there are other options with even more benefits. Things like, running in a running club, or playing a sport gets those happy hormones following while socializing.
Isolation is one common symptom that people who are suffering from a mental illness face, so breaking that cycle can open the door to dealing with others. Calmer ways of exercising like yoga are also a great way to combat negative thoughts. Yoga in itself is built around the wellness of mind and body and works to dispel all those negative thoughts.
Stress can be caused by the unpredictable: a surprise bill, a dinner you completely forgot about, or a meeting you’re not prepared for. And often these things have a domino effect that interfers with a happier life, while you’re dealing with one thing you forget about another. The way forward on this is to plan for the future. Financially try and build a cushion in your bank account and budget. Get yourself a diary and fill in all those bills, dinners and meetings. Even set yourself a reminder a couple of days before that you have a presentation coming up. Once you’re in the rhythm of it, it becomes a necessity.
There is no shame in asking for help. At times it can be the bravest thing you ever do. Whether you ask for help from family and friends, from your doctor or therapist, or you ask yourself, it’s the first step towards an anxiety-free life. Sometimes all the help you need for a happier life is to talk about your problems and have someone listen.
Sometimes you just need to help yourself. Self hypnosis can root out those negative habits and help you create a clean slate. And sometimes you do need a medicinal form of help to clear the cobwebs and help balance those hormones or chemicals that are clouding your mind.
As silly as this one sounds, the simplest way of combating negative thoughts is the replace them with positive ones. Start by writing a list every day of five things that made you happy – it can be as little as it’s sunny or my hair looks nice today. Take the whole day and don’t rush it. When you get to a point where five is easy, increase it by one every day. This process will make you look for those positives over the negatives, and, eventually, you won’t need to make a list because those negatives won’t be charge anymore. Live a happier life!