There are a lot of things you can’t really change about your stress response, but the good news is that there are some things that are totally in your control.
And when you’re dealing with stress, anxiety, or depression, knowing that some things are in your control can be a life changer.
I understand – anxiety and depression are two issues that I’ve dealt with for most of my adult life. But I’ve also found ways to deal with them.
So let’s look at three easy daily habits that can help ease your anxiety, depression, and stress.
Move your body
No matter how much you might hate exercising, you have to admit that our bodies are meant to move.
We’re not designed for a stationary life, sitting on the sofa or at a desk all day.
When we move, our bodies release hormones and activate systems that keep us physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy.
Movement helps not only alleviate stress and anxiety, it helps your body manage it better.
It can be compared to vitamin C or zinc for avoiding or reducing the symptoms of the common cold.
Movement helps you reduce the symptoms or avoid, stress, depression and anxiety.
What do I mean by movement?
Just that – MOVE your body.
Walk, dance, swim, run, do yoga or stretch.
It doesn’t matter so much what you do. What matters is that you move your body. A common rule of thumb is to take 10,000 steps a day and/or exercise for 30 minutes. It doesn’t have to be outdoors. 30 minutes of dancing in the living room with the children counts.
Moderate exercise is often the easiest to adapt into your current lifestyle. You can walk for 30 minutes, do yoga, jog, swim, bicycle (indoors or outdoors), dance, and box, a combination of all of these – whatever you desire.
Recently, a friend visited for two weeks. During that time, we spent hours at the beach, searching for pretty pieces of beach glass and sea-smoothed pottery shards. What a workout! What a lot of fun we had!
Find something you enjoy and get your amazing body moving like it was designed to.
Quiet your mind and BREATHE
Meditation is the simplest way to quiet your mind. And the wonderful thing about meditation is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. You can walk and meditate. You can sit and meditate. And yes, if you’re wondering, Christian meditation is very much a thing!
You can focus on your breathing.
On the presence of God.
You can visualize a scene that makes you feel relaxed.
The goal is to simply quiet your mind. To learn to clear away unconscious thoughts and focus on what you want.
Once you can learn how to control your thoughts and quiet your mind, you can instantly have a better reaction to stress and anxiety. It changes your mindset.
How long should you quiet your mind?
When creating a new habit, it’s best to start small. Create a habit you absolutely know you can stick to. Start with 5 minutes of meditation. Add it to the beginning or end of your day, whichever is easiest.
Fuel your body
Your body needs a variety of nutrients and vitamins to help it run optimally.
When you fuel your body well, you’re better able to manage stress and you’re simply going to feel better.
Depression and anxiety don’t stand a chance. (Okay, less of a chance?)
When you put harmful things into your body like too much alcohol, caffeine, sugar and nicotine then your body becomes stressed and it cannot manage the things life throws at you.
Take a multi-vitamin, a good one meant for people of your age and gender.
Cut back on alcohol, caffeine and sugar.
Add a serving of fruits or veggies to each meal and snack. This is an easy way to make sure you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs to function well. One surprising thing I found when I spent time with Old Order Mennonites was that every meal and snack included a serving of fruit.
Experts say that it takes three weeks to adopt a new habit.
These three stress, anxiety and depression reducing habits are simple to adopt.
The tough part is committing to them for those first three weeks.
You can do it!
Your body and your future are depending on you.