7 ways to reduce anxiety and and stress

Anxiety is normal. We are programmed to run away from danger. Blood pumps to the muscles - heart rate goes up. Oxygen is needed, we breathe more deeply. We respond to the tiger before we have recognised it. But these days it is not tigers. The risks are more social. Risks to our self-image, fear of humiliation. The responses are just the same. The hormones triggering the anxious response hang around in our blood stream, and over the long term this can damage our health.

1. Relax deeply every day. Anxiety is the new normal. Most of us have forgotten how to relax deeply. Include relaxation into your daily schedule. Try yoga. Listen to one of my relaxation cds. A deep hypnotic relaxation will make you realise it is ages since you were really relaxed!!

2. Put your stress to work. Many of us find the sweaty palms, battering heart and dry mouth truly horrible and we will focus on reducing the symptoms at any cost.New research has shown that looking at these symptoms as a positive coping tool, giving you the whoompf you need to do difficult things, reduces anxiety. Athletes do this. They aim for an optimum level of stress to ensure that they have the drive to compete, but are not overwhelmed by it.

3. Get more sleep. Huffington Post survey in US results are:

If you have trouble sleeping, then take action! Your doctor might suggest a visit to a sleep clinic. Hypnotherapists like me regularly help people who have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep. This is a bit of a circle though. Not getting to sleep can be the result of anxious thoughts filling the mind.

4. Don't believe everything you think. Just because you think it, doesn't mean it is true. Uncomfortable and worrying thoughts can come uninvited into your mind. And they come so often, you can end up believing them. If you keep hearing the same information, it does seem to have value. You might think that these thoughts are a sort of protection against risks. But this kind of repetitive worrying thinking is usually just a habit. Write these thoughts down, and then look at them after a wait of 20 minutes or more. If they still seem believable, then what action can you take. If after this wait they seem a bit fanciful, they probably are.

5. Be more assertive. The feelings of resentment that arise when you are being too compliant or unable to express your legitimate point of view tend to make you rant inside your head. Banging on to yourself and going round and round the same old stuff just makes you anxious. Think about it, if you are angry all the time, is there a part of your life where you feel that you are being pushed around.

6. Change what you can and accept what you can't. This way of thinking puts you back in control. It is a knack and you can learn how to do this. If you need help, see someone like me.

Anxiety and stress can be managed without the need for pills.

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