We know how busy life can get, and we all know the feeling that there are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Your heart starts beating faster, your breathing gets more shallow, and your nerves feel frayed. Chronic high stress and running yourself ragged can take a real toll on your happiness, your immune system, your relationships, and your overall well-being. But how do you get your anxiety to just go down, when you have a million places to go and things to do during your day?
Anxiety is something that you can reduce with just a few actionable items. When your anxiety is at an all time high, our doctors have some wonderful advice on how to feel a little bit happier, more calm, and more collected.
Hit the yoga mat
Yoga actually is all it’s hyped up to be when it comes to anxiety relief. Not only does it help center your breathing, but it also helps you increase your focus and concentration. Before your practice, set an intention on what you want to accomplish and where you want to focus your energy. Dr. Rishton offers this piece of advice on how yoga can help you cultivate your positive energy:
“Find a teacher that makes sense to you. The next step is about moving towards meditating in your practice. If you can learn to tolerate uncomfortable feelings on your mat, you can translate that into other areas of your life.”
Write down a few positive affirmations
Bringing your attention to a positive thought or message can help relieve negative rumination that goes along with feeling anxious. If this feels challenging to do, write down one positive affirmation and stick it somewhere you can see it: such as your mirror, your computer, or your desk. When you feel the stress rising, focus on the affirmation for a few seconds, and try to internalize it with your thoughts.
Do your favorite type of exercise, even for just a few minutes
Yes, exercising can help you let off some steam- whether you’re running, kickboxing, doing pilates, swimming, or biking; and it has also been clinically shown to increase your “feel good” natural pain and stress fighters: endorphins. Even something as simple as walking helps, so take 10 minutes, and head outside for a quick walk to get some air and to clear your head. If you feel like your heart rate is very accelerated by your anxiety, and you don’t want to raise it more by doing intense cardio exercise, Dr. Merkin has some advice:
“Endorphins are released, which gives one an empowered feeling and sets the tone for the rest of the day. The key is [to do] moderate [exercise], and in this way, the heart is elevated and you are sweating but you can breathe and talk.”
Grab a cup of tea… with a friend
Take a break to drink something calming and warming, such as chamomile or valerian root tea, which has a relaxing effect on the body. Try taking a break to talk about what you’re worried about with your friend. Maintaining positive, meaningful social relationships is key to helping you feel supported during stressful times.
Try a meditation smartphone app
A barrier to meditation for many is the feeling that they just don’t have the time to focus for that long of a period of time, but many smartphone apps offer quick, guided meditations for only 10 minutes. Meditation improves brain function, reduces anxiety, and boosts mood and immunity. You can learn more about the science of it here. Dr. Patenaude reminds us:
“Normally in our daily life we are driven by our habits, emotions, thoughts and environment. In meditation we seek to generate an in born contentment, happiness and confidence that isn’t conditioned by external factors, but is self arising and free from doubt.”
Remember that your anxiety doesn’t control you — instead, you can control it. If you want to know more things you can do and the best treatment option for you to help relieve your anxiety and stress, you can always consult with one of our doctors at any time!
Author: Maggie Harriman