Everyone experiences stress during challenging times. When the stress becomes overwhelming and coping becomes difficult, this can be a sign of anxiety. Anxiety can show up in various parts of your life including academic (eg: taking a test), social (eg: talking to others), family (eg: communicating with your parents), and other everyday situations. Since anxiety can make seemingly normative situations feel overwhelming, it can be difficult to explain your anxiety to others, which can leave you feeling isolated.
Stress and anxiety can be hard on your body and mind. It can cause eating or sleeping difficulties, chest tightness, difficulty concentrating, racing thoughts, and fatigue. Indeed, living with anxiety can be exhausting, and can often lead to avoidance (e.g. procrastination) or harmful coping (e.g. stress eating, alcohol abuse).
Mindfulness based practice is one evidence-based way to cope with overwhelming stress and anxiety. You may have heard the word mindfulness before, but may not know exactly what it means. Mindfulness can be defined as “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment”. It is important to note that most of us will never be mindful 100% of the time, and that this is not the goal. Instead, engaging in a daily mindful practice, whether that is yoga, meditation, deep breathing, nature walks, or stretching can help lead you towards a path of reduced anxiety, better sleep, and heightened energy.
Are you ready to try out some techniques for stress and anxiety reduction? Take a look at some of the resources below.
- Managing Stress by BBC Brainsmart
- How to Make Stress Your Friend by Kelly McGonigal and TED
- Guided Meditation to Calm Anxiety by WiseMindBody