Stress Busters

1. Make time for friends

In times of high anxiety and stress there is often a strong desire in many individuals to isolate themselves. While a lot of research still needs to be done in this area, studies tell us the act of socializing can change our brain chemistry to one that is more conducive to a healthier stress response.

2. Look at your lifestyle habits that could be triggering your anxiety

Recent studies link many lifestyle habits with increasing risk of anxiety. This is important because in times of stress, we tend to revert back to old habits to help us cope. For example smoking and excessive alcohol use can actually increase your risk of anxiety. In fact, in study published in British Journal of Psychiatry, January 2013 issue, they found that people who successfully quit smoking experienced a significant drop in their anxiety level. Studies also show that alcohol use can prolong the effects of stress and commonly disrupts sleep therefore contributing to insomnia. So while it may be tempting to turn to these for relaxation, in the long run these may turn out to be more disruptive to your health.

3. Address any sleeping issues you may have

Lack of sleep can make us more susceptible to anxiety. Researchers at the University of California, Berkley sleep laboratory found that individuals who were sleep deprived had much higher levels of anticipatory reactions. Most anxiety sufferers are always expecting or anticipating something “bad” to happen. Now, imagine that anticipation being heightened. Unfortunately with recent events, no imagination is necessary. Lack of sleep also increases inflammation, decreases focus and increases fatigue, all of which can potentially exacerbate anxiety and the stress response.