Let's be honest. Stress & Anxiety suck!
It is not something that is chosen or you can decide not to feel. It is an emotion, but it is so much more than that, as it is the brain reacting to the perception of fear.
When the human race were living in the caves back in the day, anxiety was helpful. Spotting a bear and the anxiety reaction would kick in to either fight or run (the fight or flight response).
In modern life, the bear is now "the boss". The bills that need to be paid. The coronavirus. The fear of losing jobs. All of the above at the same time. It can get intense and become a vicious circle.
The thought could be, "I am scared to lose my job due to coronavirus", which makes you feel anxious, affecting your behaviour at work and therefore, risking your job.
This cycle goes around and around, so you have to find a way to break into the cycle. If you don’t, it will lead to both physical and mental health problems.
Anxiety is not something that should be accepted. Yes, being anxious is an extremely useful emotion at certain times, pushing you to be your best at a job interview or keep yourself healthy etc. However, if you feel fear when there is no immediate threat, that starts the cycle of living in anxiety.
"How can I manage anxiety, how should I manage fear"? You need to take control back and not let anxiety take over. Luckily, a few simple and positive changes in your life can do this!
Here are a few favourites, which are all really relaxing and free:
There are so many amazing practises to calm our minds, but none are quite as powerful as meditation. Science is learning more every day about anxiety and the brain, and a great way to look at your mind is like a computer programme. Our body runs without us having to do anything, keeping our organs running. Our mind also runs independently, and if we do not stop and pay attention, it will run away from us. We need regular updates and health checks, just like we do with our computer. That is where meditation comes in!
It is worth noting, meditation takes practise. We surround ourselves with noise all day, so when we sit down and try to clear our mind, we realise just how crazy our mind is. It can feel impossible to relax, so the best way to incorporate this into your day to day life is with a guided meditation.
Everyone is different, so meditation will be different for everyone. Some people like to take a full 30 minutes to themselves to relax their whole body. If you don’t have much patience, do a short meditation in the morning and fall asleep to a longer one at night. It is important to start slowly, some days will be easier than others, but to commit to it. You will feel the difference!
Music is a really personal choice. Our minds and thoughts, and even our anxiety, are all different, so different styles will relax different people.
And lastly, don’t be disheartened if you feel that your thoughts are negative when you first start practising meditation! This is completely normal for everyone. Remember, it takes practise.
Many of the techniques that are given to people suffering with anxiety can be found through taking a simple walk outside. Distraction, get away from what you are doing for a period of time. Mindfulness, the technique of being present in the activity that you are doing. Awareness of the environment around you, what can you see, touch, smell? These are all grounding techniques, which are designed to bring you back to the present and out of your thoughts and fears and are the most successful at breaking the anxiety cycle.
By getting outside and taking a walk, we change our environment, can become focused on what we see around us, feel the sun, wind, rain and most importantly, release endorphins, which make you happy!
First thing in the morning, choose one thing to be grateful for that day. As you go about your day, every time you remember, say to yourself “I am grateful for that chosen thing”.
At the end of the day, before you go to sleep, mentally list 3 things that you are grateful for that day that are different from the thing that you chose for the day. This can also be incorporated into your day-to-day activities - every time you wash your hands, be grateful for the water, soap, and also your hands. Take a deep breath and be grateful for your lungs and when you go for a walk, give thanks for your feet. Gratitude takes practise but before you know it, you will be grateful for all the things in your life, and feel a lot less anxious, as your mind will be so full of positivity.
This is the best way to decrease anxiety, learn to adapt these techniques seamlessly to increase the happiness in your day-to-day lives! After all there will always be a reason to be anxious, so choose to incorporate these into your daily routine and fight anxiety with positivity!
Focus On Breathing:
Just focusing on your breath or changing the way you breathe can make a big difference to your overall stress level. Breathing techniques can calm your body and your brain in just a few minutes.
The best news is, no one around you will even know you're doing them. So whether you're in a stressful meeting or you're sitting in a crowded theater, breathing exercises could be key to reducing your stress.
While there are many different breathing exercises, like karate breathing, a few simple ones include:
-Breathe in through your nose and watch your belly fill with air. Count slowly to three as you inhale. Hold for one second and then slowly breathe out through your nose as you count to three again.
-Breathe in through your nose and imagine that you're inhaling peaceful, calm air. Imagine that air spreading throughout your body. As you exhale, imagine that you're breathing out stress and tension.
Watch Funny Videos & What You Eat!
It may sound simple, however, sometimes to simple things in life are the best, try smiling and watching some funny videos on YouTube or TikTok.
But DON'T BINGE, too much sugar is a contributor to overall anxiety. Added sugars cause your blood sugar to go on a roller coaster ride of spikes and crashes and with it, your energy also goes up and down. When blood sugar crashes, your mood sours and anxiety levels can spike.
Grab A Hug From A Loved One:
Physical touch can do a lot to relieve your stress. Hugging a loved one can be especially beneficial. When you hug someone, oxytocin (also known as the "cuddle hormone") is released. Oxytocin is associated with higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress.
Oxytocin also causes a reduction in blood pressure. It reduces the stress hormone norepinephrine and can produce a sense of relaxation. So don't be afraid to ask a loved one for a hug if you need it. It's good for both of you and it can be one of the simplest forms of stress relief available.
Aromatherapy has real benefits for stress relief—it can help you to feel energized, more relaxed, or more present in the moment.
Emerging research suggests certain scents can alter brain wave activity and decrease stress hormones in the body. So whether you enjoy candles, diffusers, or body products, consider incorporating some aromatherapy into your day.
Getting in touch with your creative side may have been easy for you during childhood, but if you’ve lost touch with your penchant for artwork, it’s not too late to pick it up again.
If you aren't into drawing or painting, consider coloring in a coloring book. Adult coloring books have risen in popularity and for good reason—coloring can be a great stress reliever.
If things aren't going great at the moment, try and stay chilled and stay positive! Everything will be ok, maybe not today, tomorrow or the next day, but everything will be ok in the end!
Follow www.powerofanxiety.com for more anxiety tips at