14 proven ways to manage stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety are two completely normal human experiences that can impact any area of our life. They tend to be seen as negative, but sometimes they can be useful – signalling we need to make changes in our life, bringing awareness to a situation that needs addressed, or motivating us to take action on an issue we’ve been ignoring. But when stress and anxiety make it hard to manage the day-to-day, they can start to significantly impact our work and relationships.

Here are a few proven techniques you can try to better manage both. Not all of them may resonate with you. Try experimenting with this list or doing a few in combination:

  1. Add more movement to your day. You don’t need to buy a gym membership, join a class or a sports team (although, all of those are great strategies) – it can be as simple as stretching or taking a 10-minute walk.
  2. Be more mindful. Pay attention to when stress and anxiety seem to show up. Are they triggered by a situation, a person, are they constant? How do they present on your body (e.g., headache, nausea)?
  3. Get out in nature. Some fresh air and sunshine can help clear your mind and offer perspective. Research also shows that trees can help reduce stress – so take a stroll in a local park or forest, if you can.
  4. Watch what you consume. Not just unhealthy foods or drink, but what you watch on TV, what kind of music you listen to, what appears on your social media feeds. All of this can play a role in fuelling or easing your stress and anxiety.
  5. Avoid procrastinating. Check one thing off your to-do list. Clean up the kitchen before you go to bed. Respond to that call or email you don’t want to. Go run that small errand. Clear away the clutter on your desk. These small acts can make a big impact and your tomorrow self will thank you for it.
  6. Write it out. Journalling or writing down what’s going on can help you process, make sense of things, discover connections, or see a bit more clearly. It can also simply be an opportunity for you to put into words how you’re feeling without holding back or fear of judgment.
  7. Do something you love. Make time in your day for activities or hobbies that bring you joy – whether it’s gardening, painting, tinkering in the garage or reading a book.
  8. Focus on the now. We can’t undo the past and we can’t predict the future, so try being more present and in the moment. If you’re brushing your teeth, just brush your teeth. If you’re in a meeting, be in that meeting. Don’t let what might have been or what might be interrupt what is.
  9. Learn to say no. Protect your energy and time. People who care about you may be disappointed when you decline an invitation, decide not to attend a social event or politely bow out of a project, but they’ll understand.
  10. Catch some extra zzzs. While it can vary from person to person, most adults need between seven to nine hours of sleep. Try adding in another half hour or 20 minutes if you can. Go to bed a bit earlier.
  11. Practise gratitude. Research shows gratitude is good for our minds, bodies and our relationships. Keep a gratitude journal or before you go to bed think of a few things you’re grateful for from the day.
  12. Connect with a loved one. Spend time with someone who fills your cup – someone who supports you, encourages you and makes you feel heard, understood and safe.
  13. Watch your self-talk. Are you constantly shaming or putting yourself down? Talk to yourself like you would a friend – with kindness, compassion and empathy.
  14. Just breathe. No matter where you are or what’s going on in your day, taking a few long, deep breaths can make a difference.

Want more strategies? Don’t find any of these techniques are working? Reach out to Jennifer and book an appointment. Together, you can create a plan that’s right for you