Anxiety is Everywhere - But it Doesn’t Have to be
I always tell my patients that anxiety disorders as well as depressive disorders are on a spectrum. Everyone has anxiety to some extent. From experiencing anxiety about an upcoming work obligation to getting nervous about a first date... anxiety symptoms have touched everybody in some fashion. This article will provide you with 5 tips that you can do everyday in order to help restore balance into your busy and oftentimes stressful life. These tips will help you to keep that anxiety on the lower end of the spectrum. The more consistent you are with engaging in each one of these tips everyday, the less anxious and stressed you will feel.
Tip 1: Deep breathing - When we are anxious, our breathing turns shallow and the pace often quickens. This, in turn, can make our heart beat faster and our blood pressure to rise. Our muscles feel more tense, most often in our shoulders, neck, and/or jaw. Focus on taking 10 consecutive deep inhales and exhales. Inhale for a count of 3, hold for a count of 1, and exhale for a count of 3. Repeat this several times per day.
Tip 2: Meditation - Engaging in short meditations ranging from 5 minutes to 20 minutes, twice per day, can help to slow down our thoughts and release Do not worry if you struggle to get through a meditation or your mind constantly wanders.. the more consistent you are with meditating, the easier it will become for you. Just keep practicing! There are many meditations offered on Youtube to choose from, I recommend sticking with “guided meditations” for the first few months.
Tip 3: Hobbies - With our busy lives and stressors, it gets difficult to find the motivation to engage in hobbies on a daily basis. I often hear that people “just don’t have the energy” to doing something fun for themselves after a long day of work. Someone will get home from work, make dinner, and turn on the TV to unwind. Rinse and repeat the next day. However, engaging in hobbies and switching up those routines will do wonders for refreshing both your mind and body. Try to engage in 1-2 hobbies for around one hour each day.
Tip 4: Daily affirmations - The human mind often focuses on negatives in our life. Have you ever found yourself worrying about something small, and asked yourself, ‘Why am I even worrying about this?’ This is a negative feedback loop that most people with anxiety will become more and more aware of as they progress through therapy. Daily affirmations can help to change around these negative thought patterns. Try to come up with 3-5 positive traits about yourself, recent accomplishments, and personal strengths. If you can do this twice per day, you will be well on your way to changing your thought patterns on a consistent basis.
Tip 5: Singing - The vagus nerve is located in our throat area. This nerve has a dramatic effect on our heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. Singing and humming both help to can activate this nerve… which can help you to feel more relaxed. If you are feeling stressed or anxious in a public situation, I always recommend humming in order to help lower your heart rate and help you to feel less tense. Try to engage in singing and humming for around 5 minutes at least twice per day. For more information on activating the vagus nerve, I highly recommend reading this short article.
I believe engaging in each one of these tips on a daily basis will help you to lower your anxiety and stress levels. I know that most people struggle to be consistent and stick to their routines, this is where having a therapist can really help. Counselors can help to hold you accountable and can be a place where you can work on expressing your emotions, which is another way to help decrease anxiety and stress. In a short period of time, this will help you to develop and stick with new routines that can be life changing. I invite you to reach out to Counseling on Call to find a first-rate therapist that can help lead you in this process!