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5 Ways to Decrease Anxiety & Manage Stress

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Four years ago as I began this article, stress threatened to consume my life. My younger brother died the year before after refusing to continue treatment for his kidney disease. My dear friend, Carlene, was murdered by a drug-fueled family member, and my husband had just undergone major surgery. Another close friend of almost 40 years died from cancer. And then my younger daughter, Elisa, died in a freak accident right in front of us.

Because I tend to internalize pain, both physical and emotional, it took awhile to recognize that stress was overwhelming me. A solution seemed out of reach, given all that had transpired in such a short time in my life.

Today, I acknowledge that my stress level continues to grow and must be addressed! Perhaps some of the ways I found to beat stress may help you find relief when you need it.

Everyone gets stressed at some point. It’s life! It might be work-related, marital problems, staying up all night with a sick child. Whatever the cause, consider one or more of the following ideas to help you get your life back to normal.

Consider What Relaxes You

What works for one person, another might consider torture. Writing relaxes me. Playing with my dog relaxes me or holding a grandchild. Others may choose to sew or crochet or swim. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do as long as it takes your mind off your troubles or concerns.

Walk Away Your Troubles

Most areas offer safe places to walk or hike. Walking is one activity that costs nothing and contributes to good physical and emotional health.

When we lived in Middle Tennessee, I frequently walked the trail around Radnor Lake, a beautiful, wooded park, encompassing an equally lovely lake. If something like that doesn’t de-stress you, I can’t imagine what would. Take along a friend whose company you enjoy.

Yoga, the Great De-stressor

You will find yoga classes offered in many forms. Where I live, yoga on the beach offers gorgeous views of the ocean with aquamarine waters. Some churches offer yoga classes, as would a YMCA. I know people who have participated in goat yoga classes. That would be a unique – if messy – way to relieve stress.

Volunteering Can Relax You

Where I live, volunteer activities consume many seniors. For me, it was helping with animals. Working in animal rescue with our foundation, Seniors for Pets, allowed me to give back to others and get “out of my own head.” Anyone working in animal welfare knows that stress often accompanies us as we fight to save animals. But there is nothing more wonderful than playing with or just hugging a puppy or purring kitten. That’s guaranteed to boost your spirits and relax you. Consider volunteering your services at your local shelter or humane society.

As much as I love working with animals, I cannot work in hospice care. Especially, after losing my daughter. That would prove more stressful to me, and I wouldn’t be helpful to someone else. But I know and have known several people who do that kind of volunteer work and can handle it.

Wherever you live, there will be a need for your volunteer efforts. Try to find a niche that helps you relax while giving to others. Whether that means stuffing envelopes, serving meals to the homeless or helping in school classrooms, someone out there needs you.

De-Stress While Watching the Sunset

I’ll wager there aren’t many sunsets more breathtaking than the ones I see! Sitting on or near a sandy beach as I watch the sun going down turns me into a marshmallow. All my troubles seems to fade away in the face of God’s beauty.. Wherever you live, you can find the perfect location to enjoy that late afternoon activity, even if it isn’t a seaside location. The main point is to get outside your head and focus on someone or something else and hopefully, you will feel the stress roll away.

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