7 Stress Relief Activities – Americans Coping with Stress and Anxiety
Seven among ten adults state that they feel stressed out in day to day life, and this stress and anxiety has affected their relationships, work, physical and/or mental health. According to the American Psychological Organization, stress and anxiety are a major concern in the United States.
The stressors might shift a little each year, but they also remain the same. America is one of the most stressed out nations in the world, I am not just saying that there is data to prove this. Yes, the American dream is real, but the fulfillment of that dream does not come easily. What is more concerning is that each year the surveys conducted reveal that the levels of stress and anxiety keep growing.
In the 2019 survey, the increase in mass shootings was the biggest stressor that American adults faced, there is no surprise as to what the biggest stressor is in 2020. You guessed it, it is this year’s Pandemic and the amount of stress, anxiety, uncertainty, and fear that comes with it.
However, the good news is that while there is stress and anxiety, and there is lots of it. There are also several coping mechanisms. There are ways to deal with anxiety, and there are things you can do when you feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Simple things that you can do.
How are Americans Coping with Stress and Anxiety?
Stress and anxiety are on a rise, but so is education about stress and anxiety. People are more aware, and the awareness amongst people keeps growing each year as well. There is peace in knowing that you are not the only one going through this. There is peace in knowing that there are ways to fight feeling stressed out. There is peace in knowing that there are simply coping mechanisms to deal with stress and anxiety.
According to the American Psychological Association, aka APA, the survey about stress reveals these seven as the most common coping mechanisms practiced by Americans for stress and anxiety.
1. Music for Stress Relief
Surprise! Music to the rescue! It should come as no surprise that the most common out of all stress relief activities, as revealed by the survey is music. Stressed out Americans take to music to fight stress and anxiety. Music is the most fun and simple way you can fight stress and anxiety. You can get lost in the music, it might even be hypnotizing for some, depending on what kind of music for stress relief you pick. Playing music is just as effective as listening to it.
While some people would recommend peaceful, calming, soothing music for stress relief, something soft, melodious, and just sweet to take your mind of things. Some people benefit from hard core rock and roll music for stress relief. I would say listen to whatever works for you. Everybody is different, and it is reasonable to believe that our tastes in music, and what kind of music makes us feel better, also varies from person to person.
Metal music is not exactly the most calming, I would not say it brings you peace of mind, but it might be just what the doctor ordered for your current state of mind. Sometimes, nostalgia works as a great stress relief activity. Just thinking about the good old days, and music takes you back to a different, simpler time like nothing else.
2. Exercise for Stress Relief
The second most common activity for stress relief sighted by Americans is stress relief exercise. Exercise does not mean specifically rigorous weightlifting and cardio. Simply get moving. I would recommend combine 1 and 2 for the best results. Listen to music for stress relief, and combine that with dancing, get up and start moving, no you do not need to be Michael Jackson or Britney Spears for that. Just jump if nothing else. It works, I promise.
Take a walk, step out into nature, as opposed to the treadmill. If it helps thousands of Americans coping with stress and anxiety. They are onto something and it will help you and your loved ones as well.
Swimming is an instant stress relief activity. Something about the work out, combined with the water, the blue of the water, the open sky, indoor pools work just as well too. The bottom line is, standing is always better than sitting, and walking is always better than standing, particularly when it comes to stress relief activities.
3. Praying for Stress Relief
This one might come as a shock to some but praying as one of the stress relief activities was the third most used coping mechanism for stress and anxiety. Sometimes, the situation is out of your control. You cannot fix it, or perhaps you have tried everything you could and now it is out of your control. In this case, praying is the best thing you can do.
You have studied hard and smart for that test, got to the classroom in time, finished your test in time, and now it has been submitted to the examiner to be corrected. You cannot change the answers, you cannot fix that grammatical error, it is out of your control; just pray for the best.
It is pointless to worry about it, I know it is easier said than done, but no harm in trying right. Once you pray, you let it out in the universe, it also acts like a journal, instead of penning down your stress and anxiety in your diary, you are talking to God, it is like therapy, AND it is free. What else can we ask for, right?
The other day I was talking to my friend who is an Agnostic, and he mentioned he prays when he wants something. Does that mean he is a believer? Probably not, but the fact is praying is an effective way to relieve stress. However, it might not be a popular opinion, but it is always nice to believe in things.
4. Yoga for Stress Relief
The fourth most common stress relief activity stated by Americans who participated in the APA survey, was yoga for stress relief. There are hundreds if not thousands of videos that you can find on the internet about stress relief yoga. Just google it or enter yoga for stress relief on YouTube. You are sure to find a ton of different options to choose from.
5. Meditation for Stress Relief
Meditation for stress relief might sound intimidating to many, I have also tried stress relief meditation, I saw an expert who guided me, and I did what he said and tried meditation for stress relief for a couple of months. It did not work because I was not doing it right. I was overthinking it, my thoughts in my head kept getting louder and louder, I was thinking more about when my alarm will go off, and I can carry on with my other activities. That is not how you meditate, and it definitely not how you cope with stress.
However, with a little more time, and effort I realized how simple it really is. All I needed to do was to concentrate on my breathing. Focus on slowing down your breath as you take the air in and let it out. That is all there is to it. Do it for five minutes. Feel your body release stress. It is one of the best stress relief activities in my opinion. Just do not rush it and keep it simple. After all, something that is all about keeping the chaos out, should not have to be complicated.
6. Talking to Someone for Stress Relief
Many Americans understand that emotional support can be crucial to dealing with the stress and anxiety in their lives. Reasons to feel stressed out are many, but so are people in your life. Talk to a friend you rely on, a family member you trust. Your neighbor who has your back, talk to your hair stylist, they are fabulous listeners. The point is Americans seek emotional support as one of the stress relief activities because it truly helps.
If you do not feel comfortable talking to someone you know personally, seek out a counselor. Psychologists, therapists can help you manage stress, it is what they studied for, it is their job, and they are good at it. More and more Americans rely on psychologists for stress relief support, as the percentage increases each year.
Seeing a therapist, or a profession to help relief stress, is becoming more and more acceptable with time. Not just in the United States but worldwide, with increase in awareness about depression, people are now more open to seeking professional help.
7. Smoking for Stress Relief?
There are many stress relief activities that are unhealthy. According to the same survey by APA, many Americans, 14% to be precise, stated smoking as one of their chosen stress relief activities. While this might give some temporary relief, it is not recommended. There are healthy, cheaper, non-cancer-causing alternatives that can and should be used for stress management. Smoking and drinking will do more damage than good in the long run.
The theme here is to focus on something else, get busy, get distracted, get up and dance, go for a walk, put on some music for stress relief and just enjoy the moment. Practicing yoga or mediation are great stress relief activities, talk it out and at the end of the day, just pray. Pray for peace of mind, pray for a better tomorrow, pray for a calm you.
Wishing you a healthy, mind, body, and soul!