Anxiety and stress affect everyone, and it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to avoid them altogether. However, dealing with stress and anxiety effectively can benefit your health and ease your mind. Your mental and physical health can suffer if you fail to address the issues. Chronic stress and anxiety can lead to depression, eating disorders, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. After identifying the source of the problems, you can use the following methods to lower your stress and anxiety levels.

1. Breathing Exercises

One of the simplest methods to lower stress and anxiety is to practice breathing exercises. You’ve probably heard someone suggesting to an angry or overstressed individual to take a deep breath. Although it sounds like a cliché, it’s actually true. When you’re stressed, your heart rate increases. By slowly breathing in through your nose and exhaling through your mouth, you can moderate your heart rate. After a series of deep breaths, your heart stops pounding in your chest, and your mood improves. For situations of intense anxiety, some therapists recommend practicing diaphragmatic breathing. It involves using your diaphragm, abdominal muscles and stomach to pull more air into your lungs.

2. Aromatherapy

Your environment heavily influences your mood and well-being. By using aromatherapy, you can create a relaxing atmosphere that calms you and lowers your stress. For several thousand years, incense has been used in sacred rituals and ceremonies to cleanse the air and promote positive energy. When you’re shopping for incense, find an aroma that appeals to you, and avoid purchasing sealed packages that prevent you from sampling the scent. An unappealing smell can have the opposite effect and lead to increased anxiety or stress. If incense is too overpowering, you can try using Young Living Essential Oils or scented candles to create a pleasant and relaxed environment.

3. Yoga

Although western cultures have been slow to accept yoga as a possible stress reliever, its popularity has proliferated in the United States in the last twenty years. With a combination of stretching and breathing techniques, yoga promotes harmony through your mind and body. Yoga can not only lower your stress and anxiety but can help manage your weight, lower blood pressure and increase blood flow. If you’re unable to take yoga classes, you can view several free instructional videos online for beginners and experts.

4. Exercise

After an intense workout, you may have noticed how your mood improves. Exercise is an excellent stress reliever that can help your mind drift away from the source of your anxiety and focus on the task at hand. Fitness experts recommend practicing cardiovascular exercises like running or jogging to relieve stress. The repetitive motions increase blood flow to your brain and can keep you from dwelling on negativity. Develop a workout program that you enjoy and experiment with new techniques like interval training after a stressful event to see how it affects your mood.

5. Music

Sometimes, you’ll hear a song that instantly puts a smile on your face. Music is a powerful tool for battling anxiety that’s more accessible than ever. When you feel the pressure becoming overwhelming, you can plug in your headphones and listen to songs from your phone that bring you back to the time when you heard them the first time. Music helps you block out the chaos of the real world and lets you concentrate on positive memories. Several amateur and professional musicians admit that hours of practicing and performing have the dual effect of improving their skills and reducing their stress levels.

6. Keeping a Journal

Getting your problems off of your chest can help you reduce your anxiety and ease your mind. If you’re unable to talk to a friend or loved one, you can use a journal or diary to write down your problems. When you expose the source of your anxiety, you can analyze it and realize that it’s not as severe as you once believed.

Stress and anxiety can seem challenging to overcome, but you can improve your well-being and continue to enjoy life when you take immediate steps to address them.