How to Manage Stress and Anxiety
Any good therapist will teach you to let go of what you can not control, they should also teach you that anxiety doesn’t go away you just get better at dealing with it.
Stress and anxiety management are some of the most needed tools in our modern world, as more and more people become consumed with worry. I spent the better part of my 20’s learning how to cope, and firmly believe meditation and other stress relieving mechanisms should be taught to children since childhood.
If you are a stressed or anxious person the first thing you should learn are your triggers, what is causing you anxiety? Is it a test, eating in the lunchroom, talking to a certain person, wearing or not wearing a certain piece of clothing? Anxiety comes in all forms, and effects even some of the most well adjusted people. It can be set off by new events or old memories, or it can be something that always lies in the pit of your stomach waxing and waning.
No one but you can find the root cause of your stress and anxiety, but if you are able to be honest with yourself (and maybe a therapist) you can go a long way to managing your base level of anxiety.
I live with a highly managed form of anxiety, that I have been dealing with since about 6 years old. I didn’t fully understand it until my mid-twenties but, in some form or another I’ve been managing it most of my life. I did a poor job at it most of my life, but for that reason I am more motivated to share my coping mechanisms with you. I think every chance we have at becoming better humans we should try, share and learn.
Accept what you can not control
Once you start exercising release, this will go a long way to lowering stress and anxiety. Keep things in perspective and try to stay positive. There are always valid things to worry about, so cut out the clutter by letting go of the small stuff and the uncontrollable things too.
Even just 5 minutes of controlled breathing will lower your heart rate and blood pressure, imagine what 30 minutes can do. There are lots of apps and youtube videos that can guide you in meditation. Remember there is no wrong way to meditate, find the routine and style that works best for you.
Clean and brighten your Space
I do this mostly with flowers. If I am feeling overwhelmed I spend time cleaning a space and placing flowers in it so every time I pass them I can smile and remember I am able to have happiness around me. However, there is something therapeutic about deep cleaning your house all saturday long too. I think a lot of anxiety can be washed away in the soapy water and manual labor.
Sure, veganism is one way to go about it, but eating the proper amounts of fruits, grains, and veggies a day is really important because while fatty greasy foods have a short term pleasure bonus, they don’t fuel us in the long run. Healthy and balanced meals will keep your body energy high making it easier for you to manage your stess. Keep moderation in mind when reading my next recommendation.
Stress Bake and Share With Your Friends
This is how I first learned to manage my stress, before I ever realized I was forming a coping mechanism. After a particularly long or hard week, I would spend my Fridays in the kitchen baking various delicious desserts and then invite all my friends over to try them. I think that stress baking is a beautiful way to release problems and become mindful of one and only one thing, the cake. The added bonus of community a cake brings also helps manage stress because you become more connected to the people around you and your friendships strengthen. One reason anxiety rises is a feeling of isolation and loneliness, cake is my remedy to that specific blue. Just don’t over do it, while amazing, cake still isn’t a healthy food. I try not to eat cake more than 1 time per week.
This was my first coping mechanism, I have filled more than 40 journals in the course of my life, sometimes with stories, sometimes recounting my day. It doesn’t really matter what you decide to write about, but the action of your hand moving over the paper is what’s important. It’s like a reset for your brain, away from the screens that occupy our lives. A daily routine of 15-30 minutes of writing can help recenter you and reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and worry.
My grandma is the one who taught me how to make this cake, it was the very first baked good I ever measured and stirred. We made it so often growing up there were years I knew it by heart. The original recipe is made with white flour, buttermilk, and eggs. A host of ingredients I have long left behind. It took me a few tries, but I finally got something close to grandma’s original cake. This is a slightly healthier whole wheat version that doesn’t fail to take everyone back to their own grandma.
I’ve been told this cake tastes like everything from tiramisu to apple pie to an obscure Mexican dish.
The secret to tasking like all of those is of course simple, it’s the cinnamon.
Nearly every culture in the world has a dish with cinnamon, therefore this cake is bound to take you back to somewhere else.
I think that’s the beauty of all grandmas, they bring us the flavors of the past.
This cake is not suppose to be a brownie, it isn’t missing chocolate.
It is supposed to be a soft and gentle taste.
Like a lullaby or so many lazy afternoons spent at grandma’s house.
The original cake gets it’s name from the amount of time it spends in the oven, 18 minutes.
Since I made this one the first time though. The Chef and I have been calling it Grandma Cake.
I’ll leave you with either name, and you can decide.
Almost Grandma’s Cake
Whole Wheat 18 Minute Cake
20 g cocoa powder
235 ml water
200 g oil
20 g ground flax seed
165 g Organic Whole Wheat Flour
(hand ground and sifted to remove the bran)
90 g oat flour
½ t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
250 g sugar of choice
1 t apple cider vinegar
120 ml milk of choice
1 t vanilla
Bring water, cocoa powder, and oil to a soft boil.
Turn off heat and add the ground flax seeds.
Allow to cool 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, grease or line a 13 x 18 inch baking sheet.
Preheat the oven to 350*F
Mix together the dry ingredients and the sugar.
When the boiled mixture is cool add to the dry ingredients.
Add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix well.
Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for 18 minutes or until fully cooked in the middle of the pan.
70 g coconut oil (melted)
40 g cocoa powder
200 g almond butter (room temperature)
1 t vanilla
1 t maple syrup.
While the cake is baking mix together all the frosting ingredients.
When the cake is still warm spread the frosting over the top.
Enjoy your cake at room temperature, as soon as the frosting sets a bit.