Anxiety, Stress, Insomnia: Self-help Instruction

Anxiety, Stress, Insomnia: Self-help Instruction

Anxiety, stress and insomnia are the “big three” problems of the average megalopolis resident. If they have been bothering you for more than 1-2 months and prevent you from doing everyday things (work, study, home life), this is a reason to see a doctor. In this article we will consider situations within the norm. All of us worry for different reasons every day, it’s an integral part of our lives. Let’s find out why and how to minimize the negative effects of unpleasant emotions.



Anxiety is a biological response of the body to possible danger. Its presence is a necessary condition for the survival of our species. Anxiety can manifest itself in psychological (anxiety, irritability, fear, difficulty concentrating) and physiological reactions, which the body needs to run/fight in response to danger:

  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Feeling of lack of air, caused by hyperventilation of the lungs to oxygenate the blood.
  • An increase in blood pressure to bring blood to the muscles.

It’s clear that in real life these symptoms only disturb us, because reasons for anxiety in the modern world don’t involve running or fighting, as our ancestors once did. Modern man’s anxiety is usually based on specific events: dismissal from work, quarrels in the family, illness of loved ones, unpleasant news, etc.

How to Eliminate the Symptoms of Anxiety

To keep a resource for problem solving and remove our primal biological reactions, we need to listen to our bodies:

  • Breathe: Focus on your breath. Take a deep breath in through your nose, counting to 4, hold your breath for 3 seconds. At the count of 8, slowly exhale. Repeat the exercise several times.
  • Switch your brain: do any simple work with your hands: cleaning, needlework, painting, etc., focus on what you are doing.
  • Engage your sense of smell: Aromas are directly transmitted from the senses to the parts of the brain responsible for emotion. According to research, citrus, chocolate, vanilla, jasmine and mint are responsible for feelings of happiness; lavender and sandalwood are responsible for feelings of calm.
  • Activate the sense of touch: In the evening at home, switch your brain to receive signals from your senses, the largest of which is your skin. Take a bath with relaxing products, gentle foam, fragrant gel, soft massage scrub, you can use a special brush or a smart device for self-massage. It’s important to focus on the pleasant sensations, on the signals coming from your skin, otherwise nothing will work, except a useful skin care, of course.
  • Rationalization. Often our anxiety is unconscious, which prevents us from getting rid of it. Try to bring the problem to the level of consciousness, this will help move it from the emotional sphere to the rational sphere and begin to act. A simple pencil and a piece of paper will help. Formulate and write down the problem, what worries/scares you, think through a plan of possible solutions and write it down point by point, mark separately what can hinder you and what can help. In this way, your problem will become a problem to solve, and your anxiety will become an impulse to action.

These simple tips, of course, won’t help you get rid of difficulties completely, but will help remove the unpleasant biological symptoms of anxiety, so that you calmly and rationally cope with daily tasks.


Stress is a state of increased body stress in response to various environmental factors that can be both favorable (winning at a baccarat online, a declaration of love, a first date), neutral (an exam, a job interview) and negative (a layoff, loss of property, a sudden illness). A state of stress helps the body to pull itself together and act. However, if the tension lasts too long and the negative external factors exceed the resources of our body, distress begins, which leads to somatic diseases: from a headache to serious malaise.

Preventing and Combating Stress

Maintain your body’s resources at all times. Physical activity, adequate sleep, proper nutrition, replenishment of vitamins and minerals are the basis for combating stress.

If a stressful situation has arisen, remember, you can’t stay in it for too long. Psychologists distinguish three body reactions:

  • “Hit” – our ancestors did this literally, but in modern life, any active action to solve the conflict/problem/task will do.
  • “Run” – evasion, getting out of a stressful situation.

These two ways are productive, they will not allow stress to turn into distress.

“Double response” – the person doesn’t take active action and at the same time accumulates in himself the experiences.

This reaction is extremely dangerous for the human psyche and physical health. It’s true that our body usually activates adaptation mechanisms, one of which is “changing the attitude to the cause of stress”. This allows you to get out of negative experiences and protect your health.

Stressful situations are different and complex, but we will specifically give a simple example to illustrate ways to get out of stress.

Stressful situation: a colleague has dumped a new job on you that you don’t agree with.

“Hit” – open conflict – strong protest, refusing to do the job, clarifying your relationship with your colleague, talking to management.

“Run” – avoiding conflict – silently putting off doing work indefinitely, delegating to colleagues.

“Double Retaliate” – doing the work while remaining in disagreement with what’s going on. This is a direct path to distress!

Adaptation mechanism “change of attitude” – “I got a new job, even if it isn’t part of my function, but it will give me new experience and skills that will come in handy.”

The bodily manifestations of stress – muscle tension – can be relieved by the breathing practice we mentioned above, massage, aromatherapy, and listening to pleasant music.


Insomnia is a frequent companion of stress, but it may also have other causes.

Causes of Insomnia

  • Poor sleep hygiene: drinking a lot of coffee, not sleeping enough on weekdays and “hibernating on weekends,” an uncomfortable mattress, nightly “vigil” on the computer, etc.
  • Somatic diseases. Nocturnal angina, joint pain, problems with the bladder, etc. don’t give a good rest at night. Here it’s important to note that the cause of insomnia can be non-obvious deficiencies: iron, vitamin D, group B and magnesium. These trace elements are involved in the synthesis of brain neurotransmitters that regulate various processes, including sleep cycles.
  • Mental problems: anxiety disorder, depression, etc.

The first block of problems is relieved by simple rules of sleep hygiene:

  • Give up gadgets 1-2 hours before bedtime. It’s not only about watching movies, social networks and other information that disturbs the mind, but also about the blue light, which is destructive to our skin cells and nervous system.
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time – over time you will get into the habit of regulating your circadian rhythms.
  • Take a warm bath with relaxing remedies half an hour before bedtime.
  • Listen to quiet music.
  • Read, but not from your phone or computer.

The second and third blocks of problems require seeing a doctor. Vitamin and micronutrient deficiencies can be restored by taking a course of nutrients.

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