Stress and anxiety are a normal part of life. Often, the extra energy and focus that come from stress provide the fuel you need to get things done.
But too much stress or anxiety may make it hard to concentrate, interfere with sleep, cause physical symptoms like stomach or headache, or affect relationships.
Stress can be generated by both external and internal causes. External causes can include: being unhappy in your studies, having a heavy workload, the death of a loved one, moving to a new home, a chronic injury or illness, emotional problems, taking care of a sick relative, or a traumatic event (a pandemic, natural disaster, or being a victim of crime). Internal causes can include fear and uncertainty, attitudes and perceptions about the world or a situation, unrealistic expectations, or responding to change.
You can use these guided stress-reduction exercises to help you calm down in a pinch. Practicing these techniques regularly—without self-criticism and with a spirit of curiosity and openness—can help you meet your experiences with more stability and confidence.
Practicing these exercises regularly can help reduce stress. The stronger your “relaxation response,” the easier it is to access it when stress builds. Try setting aside time each day to practice any of these exercises as part of your normal routine.
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Developing the quality of mindfulness aids you in meeting life’s ups and downs with greater calm. Practicing any of these exercises daily can help you develop the ability to tolerate distressing circumstances without getting caught up in them.
Apps to Check Out
Some of these apps may be helpful in your quest for mindfulness and relaxation. Most of the apps below are free, but some may include fees. Please read carefully.
Getting a full night of sleep isn’t always easy- especially if you are sharing sleeping space with others. Having a good night of sleep can help to improve your overall mood, be more productive, and more focused the next day. Practicing good sleep habits, sometimes referred to as “sleep hygiene”, can help you get a good night’s sleep.
Some habits that can improve your sleep health:
- Be consistent.
- Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning- even on the weekends.
- Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.
- Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smartphones, from the bedroom (or at least turn such devices off)
- Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.
- Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.
- Set a bedtime that is early enough for you to get the number of hours of sleep you need.
- Use your bed only for sleeping or intimacy.
- If you’re not able to fall asleep after about twenty minutes, go do something calming or boring until you’re tired.
- Don’t stare at the clock- doing so will likely only reinforce anxiety about sleeping.
- Find sleep rituals that work for you- some people like to do stretching exercises, breathing exercises, drink herbal tea, meditate or reflect, journal, or take a warm shower before going to bed.