Ways To Calm Our Anxious Minds: Other Activities & Habits Continued (Part 8/8)

LEND A REGULAR A HELPING HAND

Remember how you felt when you helped someone? It’s one of the best feelings anyone can feel and could especially benefit those who are feeling anxious. Your actions may be very small, but that doesn’t take the satisfaction away.

There are so many ways that you can help people and you don’t have to spend money to do so. For example, volunteer at a retirement home or help out at a soup kitchen. Many civic and other helping groups need volunteers to operate so find one that works for you and volunteer!

 

DO SOMETHING FOR THE GREATER GOOD

Help people or animals in need by donating money or volunteer for a cause you can trust and you identify with.

There are so many people and animals out there who need help. You can go out there and help make a difference, and you will often find yourself making new friends and learning new skills in the meantime.

 

SPLASH COLD WATER ON YOUR FACE

Have you ever splashed cold water on your face and felt instantly refreshed? There’s a good reason for that because cold water helps with heart palpitations by making your system “reboot”. It’s a trick that you can apply a few times a day to keep yourself refreshed and stress-free and whenever you are feeling overwhelmed.  It will also wake you up if you are too sleepy!

 

TRICK YOUR BRAIN FOR HAPPINESS

Your brain listens to you. So talk to yourself even though you may not feel completely convinced on what you are talking about.  Like affirmations, you can trick the brain into believing positive things and what works for you. This ‘fake it until you make it’ tactic takes a while to get used to, but could prove to be very beneficial in the long run.

 

GET SOME ACCOUNTABILITY

Find other people with anxiety and find out what they are doing to cope. Discuss things that you know and have worked for you with them. It’s a good idea to ask others before trying something new out. Talk to each other, try out these tips together and help each other in the process, it’s much easier to do something like this with someone that is walking the same path. It also helps you find out what works best and how to make things work even better.

 

LAUGH IT OFF

Researchers have discovered that laughter is among the simplest ways to lift your mood and overall well-being, even if it’s just a small chuckle here and there.

But, how is it that laughter can actually diminish anxiety over time? The act of laughing is similar to deep breathing in its ability to increase the oxygen in our bodies. Coupled with reducing stress hormones, the increased oxygen in the body helps lead to muscle relaxation. All of this helps reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety.

 

LEARN TO SAY ‘NO’

This is quite common among us folks, we don’t want to let anyone down but we know we can’t handle that ‘one more’ request, ‘one more’ obligation or anything that pulls on our precious self-care time. It’s not fun to turn down others, but you know you have to and you shouldn’t be afraid to do so.

 

GIVE IT TIME

Take it easy, step by step and day by day. Getting your anxiety under control is not a one-step process that happens overnight.

 

HAVE TRUST AND FAITH IN YOURSELF

Seriously… You can do this.

A, x (1)

Ways To Calm Our Anxious Minds: Other Activities & Habits (Part 7/8)

CLEANING

For many, cleaning and organizing is like meditation. Spend a little time every day cleaning your household or working in your garden. Make a point to get it done, because like many other things, starting is often the most difficult part.  Get started and enjoy a feeling of accomplishment.  It will also have a great effect on your anxiety as a decluttered environment will help you achieve a decluttered mind.

 

TRIM FINANCIAL STRESS

Most of us have dealt with financial stress at some point. Debt can easily become overwhelming and become a major contributor to feelings of low self-esteem and hopelessness.  Organize your finances by tracking your expenses. Cut down unnecessary expenses. Create a budget for every week or month. Spend your money wisely and make a workable plan to pay your debt.  Try to save a little of every pay check.

 

TREAT YOURSELF

You’re wonderful and you deserve some special care! Treat yourself every now and then to a massage, mani-pedicure, or haircut.  Take some time off for yourself to write or read poetry, take photographs or simply wander around. Go on picnics, watch movies or visit the beach. You need this type of fun activities to balance your work and daily responsibilities.  Actively seek your peace of mind.

 

PLAN YOUR FUTURE

Have both short-term and long-term plans, so that you don’t put too much pressure on your mind with uncertainty. Know exactly what you are going to do each day, each week and each month. Unexpected events will arise, but you will be able to stick to your plans nevertheless. Knowing your plans and committing to them is so much easier on your mind and can be a great stress reliever.

 

LAY DOWN ON THE GROUND

Let the earth/floor hold you. You don’t have to hold it all on your own.

 

MOVE YOUR ENERGY OUT

Whether you sing, shout or pound(a pillow pretty please!), sometimes it’s just necessary to let go of the stress and energy we’ve built up.

 

DANCE AWAY

Just do it!  Don’t worry what you look like or who is watching.  Dance your worries away! Put on some music and dance by yourself. Or, if you like to dancing with others, plan a night out with your best friends and let the worries go away.

 

CRY IT OUT

“Do not apologize for crying. Without this emotion, we are only robots.”

― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

“You know that a good, long session of weeping can often make you feel better, even if your circumstances have not changed one bit.”

― Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning

 

REFLECT ON THE POSITIVE

Take time to reflect on the positive things in your life. Your achievements and accomplishments, and people you have helped or looked after. You’re not as bad as you sometimes may feel. Be proud of the person you are and know how far you’ve come.

 

UTILIZE THE POWER OF AFFIRMATIONS

Make your own positive affirmations and repeat them out loud. Often. Tell yourself that you are strong. Tell yourself that you are safe and that you will get through this. Positive affirmations have been proven to work in a few different ways. Knowing something is one thing, but actually hearing it time and time again from within yourself will result in a boost to your confidence. Make sure to join our 30-day affirmation challenge to get started!

 

PUT ON FRESH NIGHTWEAR AND USE CLEAN LINEN

Because, well… Nothing like a fresh set of nightwear and linen, right?

 

READ SELF-HELP BOOKS

Self-help and personal development material is one of those things that’s either embraced with open arms, or pushed away like a bad meal. I prefer the former. And I’m guessing that if you’re reading this article right now, you’re (at least) thinking about embracing books like these. But be wary, not all of them are quality material.

A, x (1)

Ways To Calm Our Anxious Minds: Helpful Exercises Continued (Part 6/8)

AROMATHERAPY

This amazing practice uses natural oils extracted from flowers, stems, roots, leaves and other parts of plants to improve your physical and mental health. When you inhale these essential oils, they tend to stimulate brain function and help you achieve calmness. Inhaling these essences allow the beneficial effects to occur very quickly due to the proximity of the nose to the brain.

 

SPIRITUAL HEALING

While there is no concrete evidence that spiritual growth and a belief in a higher power directly improves your mental health, adapting your mindset to the point where it gets in touch with your beliefs better might still offer you some meaningful ways to alleviate anxiety.

 

GET HOT!

Have you ever spent time in the sun during the summer time and felt so happy? That’s because the heat helps reduce anxiety through releasing stress in your brain and muscles. Find ways to warm up regularly and this will have a great effect on your anxiety problem. Use a sauna, go to the beach, dip in a hot tub or spend some time by the fireplace. The warmth will instantly boost your mood.

 

ACUPUNCTURE

This alternative medicine form is a component of Chinese medicine involving thin needles inserted into the body at certain points known as meridians. This is an ancient healing modality that can be used solely or in conjunction with other treatments. There’s ample research evidence to indicate that Acupuncture can be an effective treatment for anxiety.

 

CRAFT AND CREATE

Create your own mindfulness jar of creative ideas. Exercise and refresh your mind by solving puzzles, knitting, jewelry making, sewing, card making, drawing, painting or any other DIY creative project that you enjoy. Such projects will keep you busy and give you a sense of satisfaction and pride!

 

TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF EVERY DAY

YOU should be the priority, so allocate some time for yourself every day. Get out of your usual schedule for a little while by playing with your kids or your pet. Or take a walk. Find something that gives you joy, even if you can only carve out 30 minutes each day.

 

MINDFULNESS

Utilize mindfulness to practice psychological and behavioural calming skills. Learn to observe, become more aware, work on a non-judgmental stance, and focus on the job at hand. With these exercises, you are able to achieve a balanced state of mind within a relatively short period of time.

A simple exercise that you can practice right now:

Sit straight and comfortably, focus on your breathing, pay attention to the sensations of inhaling and exhaling. Repeat it.  Allow anything that comes to your mind to float away as you focus on your breathing. Measure your breath by footsteps and listen to relaxing music to make this exercise easier.

 

ASK YOURSELF SIMPLE QUESTIONS

Find the causes for your anxiety and panic attacks by asking yourself very simple questions like: Did I have too much coffee or sugar? Have I been too tired or sick recently? Am I eating correctly? Am I really anxious? Try to grasp the root cause of your negative feelings.

 

EXPOSURE THERAPY

This is a technique used to treat different anxiety disorders by exposing you to the feared object  in a safe, protected manner. This method teaches your brain to stop broadcasting the fear signal when the feeling is irrational and there simply isn’t anything serious to worry about.

 

LISTEN TO RELAXING MUSIC

Find some of your favourite soothing tunes and relax your mind. Have it played in the background while you work or when you are practicing some of the exercises in this listing.

 

PLAY IT AWAY

If exercising feels to much like a chore then how about enjoying some guilt-free time with your friends? In ‘Play it Away’, author Charlie Hoehn explains how spending 30 minutes each day on any outdoor activity with your friends may actually be the key when trying to cure anxiety. He even created a Pinterest board with all sorts of activity ideas you can try out.

 

SCRIBBLE YOUR THOUGHTS ON PAPER

Write down your thoughts on paper, you will be able to get a better view on them that way. Process your thoughts and think of ways to move the negative feelings and thoughts from negative to positive.

 

CREATE A ‘HAPPINESS SPREADSHEET’

It’s important to know what makes you happy and what doesn’t. Maintain a spreadsheet to track each activity and rate how happy you were doing them. This can help you discover patterns and isolate negativity.  Then you can identify your triggers and work around them with activities that actually make you happy.

 

PANIC ATTACKS

“Just relax” – “Calm down, it’s not that bad”

Well, thanks…

Sounds familiar?

While most of the time they mean well, anxiety attacks are not as easy as the outside world might think. With that being said, always remind yourself that you’ve had them before and that you’ve made it through every single time.  Calm yourself during panic attacks with slow, measured breathing and by reminding yourself that this too shall pass.

 

WRITE A LIST OF THINGS THAT MAKE YOU PROUD AND HAPPY

Compile a list or collect a box of things that make you feel happy and proud. It may be photos of your friends and loved ones or your pet. It may be memorable items or gifts. Did you go to a concert or movie that you enjoyed?  Add the ticket stub to your collection. Look at your list or pick up items in your collection when you feel anxiety building. Realize that you have a lot to live and fight for in this world.

 

LEARN TO BE MORE ASSERTIVE

Never be afraid to stand up for yourself in a calm, collected manner. Believe in yourself, your qualities, and that you are a good person. Don’t be afraid to have faith in yourself.  Stand up for yourself when the time comes.

A, x (1)

Ways To Calm Our Anxious Minds: Helpful Exercises (Part 5/8)

BREATHING EXERCISES

You must have thought that breathing is just a simple thing. You do it all the time without even noticing. However, there’s a good chance that you aren’t doing it properly. If you breathe properly, there’s a great chance of reducing anxiety. Use the 4-7-8 breathing exercise a few times a day to ensure that you provide oxygen to your body the right way. This will calm you down and keep you grounded.

Start by exhaling completely. Close your mouth and inhale through your nose to a mental count of four. Now hold your breath to a count of seven. Finally exhale through your mouth making a whoosh sounds to a count of eight. Repeat this exercise a few more times.

 

PROGRESSIVE MUSCLE RELAXATION

This involves relaxing your muscles in a two-step process. Identify each muscle group, starting with your toes and moving up.  First tense the muscle or muscle group. Then release and relax them. Notice how you feel as you release the tension. You can do this with your fists, neck, shoulder and pretty much any other muscle you are able to control. But progressively moving up the body, one muscle group at a time, will be most effective.

 

CHANGE YOUR POSTURE

Have you ever heard of power poses? These are body movements that increase your confidence and tend to be more powerful than traditional confidence-boosting exercises.  Identify yours and make sure you practice holding that pose throughout the day. Also identify low power poses and remove them from your personal body language. Power poses basically trick your mind and tell it that you’re amazing! This feeds your subconscious mind, and increases your ability to be positive and anxiety-free.

 

PRACTICE YOGA DAILY

Practicing Yoga is a great way to relax and centre your mind to become calm and collected.  Plus it has many, many benefits to your physical body, too. Learn a few simple Yoga poses, or asanas, and spend a few minutes every day practicing them. If you are happy with the results, you could perhaps take a class and develop your skills even further!

 

PRACTICE NEURO-LINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING

Neuro-Linguistic Programming was researched and studied to understand what made certain therapists more effective than others. It is an alternative medicine practice used for psychotherapy, medicine and personal development. Get to know the basics of NLP and how incorporating it into your day-to-day life may greatly reduce your stress and anxiety.

 

TIME YOUR PANIC ATTACKS

Panic attacks have certain patterns. Time how long it takes to build up, the duration of the panic attack, how long it takes to calm down and at what point you are finally able to resume your normal activity. It may not be easy doing this, but timing your panic attacks will enable you to have better control over it the next time it happens. You will also be able to tell those around you before an attack occurs, how long it is liable to last, and how they can help you.

 

CREATE YOUR OWN PERSONAL SUCCESS MANTRA

We all have different goals and challenges in life; therefore it’s highly important that we create our own life motto to keep us on track. This mantra will focus your mind and stop you from being anxious and overwhelmed when life throws you yet another curve ball. Identify your challenges, weaknesses and goals so you can craft your own personal mantra.

 

EMOTIONAL FREEDOM TECHNIQUE (TAPPING)

This method focuses on reducing anxiety by correcting the bioelectrical short-circuiting that occurs during an anxiety episode. Using specific ‘finger tapping’ methods, practitioners learn to moderate moods and stabilize anxiety. Research has found that EFT increases positive emotions, such as hope and enjoyment, while reducing negative feelings.

 

MEDITATE

Meditation has been known to mankind for centuries and has been practiced throughout the world. When you start meditating, it’s important not to resist your thoughts. Let them move through your mind.  Visualize them then ‘surf’ through your emotions in a calm and collected manner. Imagine those emotions floating away as you remain calm and cantered. You can read more on how to successfully utilize meditative mindfulness techniques right here.

 

HYPNOTHERAPY

This is a form of psychotherapy aimed at creating a change in your subconscious to form better responses, thoughts, behaviour, feelings and attitudes. It’s a great treatment for anxiety disorders as it treats the root causes by changing your deep perception of specific obstacles that are manifesting in your life as anxiety.

 

TAKE A ‘FOREST BATH’ TO UNWIND AND REFRESH

Forest baths have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels in multiple studies. Traditionally, we have a deep relationship with nature, but over the last few centuries we all have become increasingly disconnected from it. A walk through a forest will make you feel refreshed and provide a soothing effect so If you have one nearby, that’s great. If you don’t, go to your city park and spend some time in the midst of trees and other animals. Instant refreshment awaits you!

A, x (1)