Studies show that stress can sabotage even the best efforts to be happy and healthy. We have compiled a cheat sheet of simple, proven steps to alleviate anxiety and put us all on the path toward greater well-being.
ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE
Research reveals that optimistic people are happier overall than pessimists. To curb “glass-half-empty” thinking, experts recommend making a daily list of at least five things/people/situations for which we are grateful. The more we remind ourselves of the good things in life, the easier it is to weather tumultuous times.
FOCUS ON THE PRESENT
“Stress is rarely in the here and now,” says Marc Zollicoffer, director of Aveda Spa Education. “It’s usually caused by living in the past or worrying about the future.” Directing our energies to the activities and goals at hand rather than dwelling on things that have already happened or those that may or may not, can go far in altering our attitudes.
SMILE AND LAUGH
Our brains are interconnected with our emotions and facial expressions. When we are stressed, we often hold a lot of tension in our faces. Seeing a funny movie, joking around with a friend or just learning to find the humor in any given situation helps take some of the sting out of our strain by relaxing facial muscles.
We can take loads of pressure off of ourselves by aiming for progress rather than perfection, which isn’t humanly possible. But doing the very best we can—and letting ourselves be proud of achieving that is.