Ways To Calm Our Anxious Minds: Healthy Habits (Part 4/8)

STAY HYDRATED

Water is life. While dehydration may affect anxiety in a variety of ways, the clearest link is that when the body is dehydrated, it starts to function improperly. Hormones are unable to reach their destined locations because of poor blood flow. Muscles may tense up and at the same time, your brain may experience weakness or changes as a result of water loss. In other words, stay hydrated!

 

DRINK A CUP OF TEA

Even if you do yoga, meditate and perform other stress-reducing activities, calm may allude you. Instead of getting a prescription for Xanax, try a natural supplement to relax. There are several herbs you can take in a nice cup of tea that could give you the sedative effect you need during times of hardship. Examples of such herbs are Chamomile, Valerian, and Kava.  Generally, one teaspoon of dried herbs or three tablespoons of fresh herb to one cup of water is a beneficial amount. Most herbs should steep for 5 to 10 minutes.

 

LISTEN TO YOUR GUT

Know the difference between what your body WANTS & what your body NEEDS. Do I need or want this chocolate? Or, do I need or want this salad?

 

MAINTAIN A HEALTHY DIET

Maintaining a healthy diet has many benefits as well as the simple satisfaction of taking care of yourself. Avoid unhealthy fats and sugars. Introduce more fresh veggies and fruits to your diet. Having a sugary snack from time to time is okay, but make sure that you stick to healthy food in general. Also add food that is rich in anti-oxidants to your diet.

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Ways To Calm Our Anxious Minds: Handy Tools (Part 3/8)

COLORING

Adult colouring books have become very popular lately. If you read our previous article, you know colouring has a ton of potential therapeutic benefits. To many, it is considered a meditative practice. Benefits include increased focus, increased creativity and reconnection with your inner child. If you’d like to try it yourself, then print out some of the mandala templates we have created for you.

 

SET A REMINDER ON YOUR PHONE TO GET READY FOR BED AND READ FICTION TO UNWIND.

We all know that we need sleep, but we get busy sometimes and simply forget about it.  Make sure that you go to sleep on time by setting a reminder on your phone. When you set the time, don’t forget to give yourself enough time to get ready for bed. Do this for short naps too. To help yourself relax, try reading your favorite book.

 

STRESS BALL

Stress balls are fun! They have so many health benefits, including stress relief, nerve stimulation, diversion of attention and mood enhancement. In other words, it’s a great idea to have one with you at work or play with it for a bit whenever you feel overwhelmed.

 

SLEEP MASK

Going to sleep on time and spending seven to nine hours in bed does not ensure that you get enough sleep. Using a sleep mask can help ensure that your brain recognizes 100% darkness so it releases powerful neurochemicals that help you go to sleep. You can also use earplugs if you are having trouble with noise in your surroundings.  White noise, as from a fan or recording, can help, too.

 

MASSAGE BLOCKS

Massage blocks help you release tension by applying pressure to certain points of your body, similar to what massage therapists do to relieve tension. If you’re interested in these, check out Amazon for a good selection and be sure to check the reviews.

 

SCALP HEAD MASSAGER

Feeling a bit itchy? If so, you’re in luck! Not only can the scratching of a scalp relieve you from that nagging itch, it could also be an easy way to make your hair stronger, alleviate headaches, improve your sleep, and above all, reduce stress and anxiety.

 

ACUPRESSURE MAT

Self-acupressure is a pretty common and effective method, although most experts recommend seeing a specialist.  Laying on it for as little as 20 minutes daily  can help you lower your stress levels.  Plus, it increases circulation, energy, reduces back pain, blood pressure, muscle aches and much more.

 

ZEN GARDEN BOX

Zen gardens are created to represent different soothing elements of nature. These meditation gardens were first used centuries ago by Buddhists. However, anyone can use a Zen garden to find their inner peace. Small Zen garden boxes represent the same elements of traditional Zen gardens and they can help you reduce stress and anxiety in powerful, positive ways. Cultivate your Zen garden to develop quiet mindfulness and inner peace.  Like coloring, this meditative practice enhances your ability to find and maintain your own inner strength and peace.

 

ESSENTIAL OILS (AND DIFFUSER)

Our mind and body respond to scent as the brain reacts directly to smell.  Aromatherapy is based on exactly that. Different scents have different effects, and there are volumes of research about which scent does what. Some have the ability to calm and relax, which is exactly why aromatherapy could be very useful for people with anxiety. Use an oil diffuser to spread the aroma of your choosing around your household or simply add a few drops of oil to your bath or onto your skin. Take care using undiluted oils on your skin, however.  Read the instructions carefully as some can cause irritation.

 

ANXIETY APPS FOR YOUR SMARTPHONE

There are quite a few smartphone apps which have been designed to help people deal with their anxiety. This could help you out a ton when you’re on the move, so make sure that you have a few of these apps installed on your phone to access them whenever you feel your anxiety building.

 

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Ways To Calm Our Anxious Minds: Lifestyle & Productivity Continued (Part 2/8)

PET AN ANIMAL

Taking care of a pet can help you deal with anxious fear and a sense of aimlessness. Caring for your pet by providing food, love and safety may give you affection and satisfaction that will help you when you are feeling anxious. You want a caring companion, so make sure that you get a pet you can manage and look after without too much trouble or expense. Alternatively, you can borrow a friend’s dog and take him for a walk!

 

REALIZE THAT YOU ARE NOT ON YOUR OWN, FIND A SUPPORT GROUP

Sometimes it really helps to know that you are not alone. There are many people who have similar issues and find comfort and help with each other. Support groups are amazing when it comes to sharing feelings with like-minded people. Find a support group nearby and attend their meetings or if that may seem a bit too much at this point, find and join a private chat group on social media.

 

REALIZE THAT YOU ARE STILL YOUR ‘OLD YOU’

Always remember that you are still your ‘old you.’  Never stop working on yourself.  You are always there, even when you are experiencing anxiety.  You are not just your anxiety!  Remember your struggles and solutions to provide a path back when anxiety strikes. Keep track of what works to help you move through your anxiety.

 

LEND A HELPING HAND, EVEN IF IT’S SOMETHING VERY SMALL

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 dealing with anxiety. 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. Many civic and other helping groups need volunteers to operate so find one that works for you and volunteer!

 

WELCOME ANY FORM OF HELP FROM FRIENDS OR FAMILY

Never turn down family or friends who offer help. Keep them close to you and go to them whenever you feel like you need someone to talk to or need help. It’s much easier to handle anxiety with the help of others rather than trying to do it all by yourself.

 

USE PINTEREST AND CREATE YOUR OWN INSPIRING BOARDS

With Pinterest you are able to create and manage boards (or “pins”) of your favorite quotes, affirmations and articles that can inspire you(or others) during difficult times. Be sure to check out our own Pinterest account as well!

 

LOOSEN YOUR CLOTHING DURING AN ANXIETY ATTACK

Wearing tight clothing and heavy jewellery can weigh you down, especially during anxiety attacks. Avoid wearing such clothing and too many layers in general.

 

TAKE REGULAR BATHS

Taking a nice hot bath has a soothing effect on your mind and body. To further improve the experience try lighting a few candles, read a book or add a few drops of lavender oil to your bath. Adding Epsom salt will also calm and rejuvenate you.

 

LIMIT OR AVOID ALCOHOL

While the occasional glass of alcohol might help you unwind for a bit, limit your consumption carefully. Studies have shown that alcohol use can potentially increase anxiety.

 

KICK YOUR 4-CUPS-A-DAY COFFEE HABIT

Caffeine is a stimulant, so too much coffee can make you jittery.  If you are a caffeine addict find an alternative.  Tea, for example, has much less caffeine.  While caffeine may not be the cause of your panic attacks, it could definitely make things worse.

 

MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT

A healthy body contributes to a healthy mind. Maintaining a healthy weight and practicing good nutrition are vital to helping you control anxiety.  A healthy weight will help you gain the physical and mental strength that you need to fight your anxiety and achieve a general sense of happiness.

 

AVOID FINDING COMFORT IN COMPLACENCY

Watch out for self-satisfied complacency!  Be aware of each situation and avoid believing that you have things covered when you actually don’t. Be eager to learn about specific tasks, situations, and about life in general.

 

DEAL WITH ANNOYING TASKS FIRST

Complete annoying tasks first and get them out of the way. Finishing them quickly will help you feel calmer throughout the rest of the day. Whenever an annoying task takes too long, take a break. Getting it done is important, but don’t push yourself too hard.

 

FRESHEN UP YOUR LIFE

Freshen up your life by changing simple things around you from time to time. This helps your mind to unwind and refresh. Take up a new hobby or learn something new. Redecorating your room home or rearranging your desk are other great ideas, even a small change can give things a new look and a fresh start.

 

EXPLORE NEW PLACES

The world is out there to be explored. Make sure you go and visit places that you haven’t been before from time to time. This can also include a short walk on a street you haven’t been on before or a sweet, short trip.

 

ACCEPT YOUR FLAWS AND LEARN TO LIVE WITH THEM

Everyone has flaws, just like you. Identify your weak points and accept them. Learn to live with those flaws rather than trying to fix them entirely. The combination of your strengths and weaknesses make you the person you are!

 

ACCEPT THAT OVERTHINKING WON’T PROVIDE INSIGHT

Overthinking, or obsessing, seldom provides any new useful insights. In fact, it can create more anxiety.  Accept that truth and keep yourself from doing it, because it seldom helps.

 

JOURNAL YOUR DAY-TO-DAY EXPERIENCES

Keep a journal that tracks your day-to-day experiences with anxiety. By putting your thoughts on paper, you both express your feelings and may also help identify certain triggers that are causing the anxiety. Make it a point to update your journal every night for the best results.

 

GET IN THE SAUNA FROM TIME TO TIME

Either you’re a total fan or not, but there is no denying that the feeling of warmth relaxes people. Besides that, studies have shown that occasionally spending time in the sauna lowers stress, keeps the heart healthy and might even extend your life.

 

KEEP A GRATITUDE JOURNAL

Keep a Gratitude Journal to remind yourself about the amazing things that you have in your life. Jot down three to five things that you are thankful about in your journal every day. Doing so will help focus your attention on the positives in your life and provide a sense of all the good in your life.

 

LIMIT (SOCIAL) MEDIA EXPOSURE

In a world where the only thing news sites are non-stop talking about are crime, corruption, economic breakdown, and the end of the world,  you realize that exposing yourself to this on a daily basis is the same as planting seeds of fear and anxiousness. Try and limit the time that you spend watching the news or browsing on social media, and focus your time and energy on things that will help you get forward and appreciate who you really are without you having to worry about the future.

 

AVOID THE CYBERCHONDRIA TRAP

Doctors think looking up health information online can be problematic because the computer doesn’t have the same diagnostic skills as a healthcare professional. Physicians determine whether an issue is serious by considering personal factors like a patient’s family history and age. (Wrinkles at age five isn’t normal— sorry, Benjamin Button.) On the other hand, when someone searches for “headaches” online, they may find several sources suggesting they are suffering from something much worse…

 

THE WORLD IS NOT MAD AT YOU BECAUSE OF YOUR ANXIETY.

The people in your life that matter are well aware that you haven’t chosen to suffer from anxiety. So stop feeling guilty and thinking that everyone is mad at you for it. Keep your loved ones close to you and always believe in their love to you. No one is mad at you about your anxiety and they are all rooting for you to get through it!

 

VISUALIZE POSITIVE THINGS AND HANG ON TO THOSE THOUGHTS

Take a few moments throughout the day to visualize something positive that makes you happy. It could be a beautiful place at the park, or something you saw in a book.  Hang on to those thoughts throughout the day and revisit every detail when you start to feel anxious.

 

TALK TO A THERAPIST

Talking to friends and family does help, but you can benefit a lot more by seeing a counsellor or therapist. They are trained to know what you are going through and how to help you find the best ways to move through it successfully. Read our guide on getting professional treatment to get familiar with the basics.

 

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Ways To Calm Our Anxious Minds: Lifestyle & Productivity (Part 1/8)

GET ENOUGH SLEEP

Our body and mind need sleep in order to rest and refresh. Sleep deprivation is one of the primary causes of anxiety. An average person requires eight hours of sleep every day. When your brain is sleep deprived, it may not be able to respond to emotional events appropriately. Go to bed early and make sure that you get seven to nine hours of sleep every night to maintain a healthy mind.

 

TAKE A POWER NAP.

Wondering how to deal with frequent stress and anxiety in a healthy and quick way? I’ve compiled a list of some of my favourite tips, tricks and techniques for you to try!

 

AWAKEN 10 MINUTES EARLIER AND SET THE STAGE FOR A SUCCESSFUL DAY

Life gets a lot easier when you plan out your day. Get a head start by waking up 10 minutes earlier.  Then, create a rough plan in your mind about how you plan to spend your day.  Sometimes it is helpful to jot down a list and take it with you.  Check off each event as you finish it and then you’ll have a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day.

 

STOP OVER-ANALYSING

Over-analysing things can quickly lead to mounting stress. Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Let it go!  If you find yourself worrying over things you have no control over, distract yourself.  Go outside. Check out the sky.  Are the stars out?  Is the wind blowing?  Will it be warmer as the day progresses? Play your favourite song.  Look at pictures or photos that make you smile.  List all the little things you can be grateful for and focus on those.

 

FEELINGS ARE JUST FEELINGS, NOT FACTS

Everything you feel isn’t necessarily correct or factual. Negative feelings bubble up sometimes with little warning.  Remember fear is often F(alse) E(vidence) A(ppearing) R(eal). Remind yourself to go one step at a time.  Be confident and replace the negative feelings by focusing on something you enjoy.  Practice by noticing things around you that give you a sense of wonder and beauty.  A painting in the hall…the cat sleeping in the sun…your dog’s cheerful greeting.  Anything that creates positive feelings for you will work.  Then when the negative stuff seeps up, counter it with a positive memory.

 

CLEAR YOUR MIND.

Like your closet, your mind can fill up with unnecessary and unwanted stuff, so it’s important to get things straight and organized. Practice mindfulness by focusing your attention on the present. Slow down, breathe to a slow count of 5, make a to-do list, keep a journal, take a walk, or immerse yourself in a favourite pastime. Do less and focus on only one thing at a time as much as possible. Delegate when you can, ask for help if you need it.

 

ORGANIZE AND GET RID OF CLUTTER!

Just like the clutter and chaos in your mind can cause trouble, messy clutter in your home and/or workplace can create stress and feed frustration.  Clean out, then recycle and repurpose anything you no longer need.  Create the space you need to breathe and feel comfortable.

 

INVEST IN YOURSELF

Invest in yourself and learn something new. Are you creative?  As a child, did you love to draw or play the guitar?  If so, pick it up and do it again!   Read, take short courses and learn from others. Invest time and money on you and do it with joy and happiness. Just have fun with it and don’t push yourself too hard in the process.

 

SMILE. MAKE YOURSELF HAPPY

Have you ever smiled even when you were feeling bad? That’s highly unlikely. Make yourself to smile more. Make a mental file of people, places, and things that make you smile.  Pull something out of this mental file when you are feeling overwhelmed.  The positive energy will transfer to your surroundings and echo back to you. In this study participants demonstrated that forcing a smile resulted in feeling more relaxed and an overall greater positive attitude.

 

EXERCISE

While this is practically a no-brainer, it’s still important to note that exercising is an excellent way to get rid of stress. Find the type of exercise that suits you and makes you happy doing it. Some people find walking or jogging very relaxing while others like to dance or lift weights. Find a physical exercise that suits you and raise your heart rate around 20-30 minutes every day.  Simple ways to increase exercise are to take the stairs, and park farther away so you have to walk further.  Look for opportunities to walk and move at home, school or on the job.

 

AVOID LOW BLOOD SUGAR

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is a major cause of episodic anxiety. Start off your day by having a good breakfast (try to avoid foods that are high in sugar like processed cereal or even smoothies).  Eat small frequent meals every few hours throughout the rest of the day.  Make sure you have enough protein in your diet and be sure to limit sugary snacks and sodas.

 

GET INSPIRED – QUOTES, MOTIVATIONAL VIDEOS OR POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS

Surround yourself with positive affirmations and inspiration. Find quotes that help you feel better by inspiring you and post them where you can see them easily. Watch motivational videos and listen to inspirational music. Find (or create!) your own favorite positive affirmations.  Hang them on your mirror or your workstation and read and repeat them several times a day.  Or just make them your desktop or phone’s wallpaper to keep yourself inspired and motivated at all times.

 

BE SOCIAL AND SCHEDULE INTERESTING ACTIVITIES, AND DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT!

Negative thoughts and feelings usually stay away when you are a good time. Schedule some time with your closest friend(s) or family regularly.  Go out to dinner, listen to music, take a walk or just sit and have a cup of coffee.  The activity is not as important as the shared experience.  Such activities often help you take your mind off your worries!

 

WHEN YOU NOTICE THE ANXIETY BUILDING, GO TO A TRUSTED FRIEND AND TALK ABOUT IT.

Sharing your feelings often relieves anxiety, so keep in touch with yourself. Whenever you feel like anxiety is building inside of you, speak your mind. Find someone close to you who understands you and is able to help you rise above. Always go to that person when you are feeling anxious or simply need to ease your mind.

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