We’ve all felt anxious at some time or another. Usually you expect anxiety to pass once whatever is putting you on edge has gone, however for a lot of people anxiety is a constant presence. Everyday things can feel overwhelming and you may feel as though you don’t have time to take some time to care for yourself. Here are a few techniques I have tried which can reduce your levels of anxiety quickly.
This tactic is one of the most commonly used to reduce stress and anxiety. It can be done in any situation and is a very subtle approach. Follow the steps below and use the gif to help you count your way through your breaths:
It’s important to do this exercise carefully and start with holding your breath for just a couple of seconds. It can make you feel a little dizzy if you’re not used to it, so make sure you stop if something doesn’t feel right!
There are a number of techniques which come under the heading of ‘grounding’. All of them serve to take your mind away from the things that are causing you distress and help you focus on your physical body. The most commonly used is the 5-4-3-2-1 method, focusing on the five senses.
You start by naming five things you can see, then four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and, finally, one thing you can taste. You can do this in any order you choose depending on your surroundings! Try to take in as much detail as you can to focus your mind entirely on the task.
I personally find this one works well for me if I do some breathing in between each of the senses.
Have a drink
Not only is this good for your physical health, it also gives another chance to practice grounding. Make sure to really savour the drink and acknowledge how it tastes and feels on your tongue. Some of the best options to go for are herbal teas which have calming properties.
Do something for yourself
When you feel anxious it can get very difficult to step back and take time to care for yourself. Set yourself reminders at regular intervals in the day to stop what you are doing and do something for yourself. For example, you could watch a funny video for 10 minutes, or read a chapter of a book, or simply pick up a pencil and some paper and do a little doodle!
If you feel you can, take more time and perhaps treat yourself to a long shower or a film. Doing little things for yourself can reduce the overall feeling of anxiety, or simply distract you for a time to give yourself a break.
There is plenty of research which shows that exercise releases endorphins, reducing the negative feelings you are experiencing. Going out for a walk, doing a workout, or simply standing up and walking around the room can make you feel more at ease. No need to go out and do a marathon, unless you really want to!
Everyone is different, so don’t worry if these techniques are not for you. Keep trying different tactics and speak to others to find out what they recommend!
Writting and pictorial design by – Alice Baker
Top photo by – Marcos Paulo Prado, Unspash
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