5 tips to successfully manage stress

Stress is catapulting at an alarming rate – and it’s probably no surprise considering the extreme circumstances in which we’ve all been living our lives now for more than a year and a half.

Dealing with stress and anxiety can be debilitating and can be a barrier to enjoying life. In some chronic cases, it can have a serious impact on physical health.

The prolonged stress and anxiety experienced by adults, especially the high levels of stress directly linked to the pandemic, is seriously affecting our mental and physical health, including changes to weight, sleep, and alcohol use.

What does stress and anxiety feel like?

Stress and anxiety can produce both physical and mental health symptoms. It’s important to note that we all experience stress and anxiety differently, but some common symptoms include:

  • feelings of impending doom
  • panic or nervousness, especially in social settings
  • difficulty concentrating
  • irrational anger
  • restlessness
  • stomach ache
  • muscle tension
  • headache
  • rapid breathing
  • fast heartbeat
  • change in appetite
  • trouble sleeping
  • fatigue

People who have stress and anxiety over long periods of time may experience negative related health outcomes. They are more likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and may even develop depression and panic disorder.

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How can I manage my stress and anxiety symptoms?

It’s normal to experience stress and anxiety from time to time, and there are strategies you can use to make them more manageable.

Lifestyle changes

Certain lifestyle changes can help alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety. These techniques can be used along with medical treatments for anxiety. Techniques to reduce stress and anxiety include:

  • eating a balanced, healthy diet
  • limiting caffeine and alcohol consumption
  • getting enough sleep
  • meditating
  • scheduling time for hobbies
  • keeping a diary of your feelings
  • practicing deep breathing
  • talking to a friend

Moving more

Exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling, clearing your thoughts, and letting you deal with your problems more calmly.

Try and integrate physical exercise into your lifestyle as it can be very effective in relieving stress. Even just going out and getting some fresh air, and taking some light physical exercise, like going for a walk to the shops can really help.

Practice mindfulness or meditation

Mindfulness is a mind-body approach to life that helps us to relate differently to experiences. It involves paying attention to our thoughts and feelings in a way that increases our ability to manage difficult situations and make wise choices.

Try to practice mindfulness regularly – it can be practiced anywhere at any time and utilised if you feel particularly anxious or stressed in a situation. Research has suggested that it can reduce the effects of stress, anxiety, and related problems such as insomnia, poor concentration, and low moods.

CBD oil

There have been many studies which identify the potential impact of CBD on mood, including its built-in anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects. A study published in 2018 in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that cannabis significantly reduced feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress in both women and men.

And, in a 2019 study published in the Permanente Journal, researchers investigated whether CBD would improve sleep and anxiety. They provided CBD treatment to 72 adults and found that anxiety scores decreased in 79% of patients within the first month of use.

One of the most commonly reported side effects of people dealing with stress and anxiety is poor sleep, which causes its own mental and physical health issues.  The same Permanente Journal study also looked at how CBD use could improve sleep – sleep scores improved in 67% of patients within the first month.

It’s believed CBD does this by tackling the root causes of your sleep issues and it goes without saying that the less anxious you are the better night’s sleep you a likely to get.


While some amount of stress and anxiety in life is expected and shouldn’t be cause for concern, it’s important to recognise when the stress in your life is causing negative consequences. If you feel like your stress and anxiety are becoming unmanageable, seek professional help or ask others to help you find the support you need.

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