Anxiety can be one of the most difficult things to deal with. When our minds are anxious, it seems impossible to be able to think clearly in order to manage the anxiety.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from anxiety, fear or panic attacks, try these tips to beat anxiety and incorporate them into daily life. Soon they will become habit and your anxiety will fade away.
Start With the Breath
Our breath is one of the most powerful tools that we have been given. Our breath and our minds are so connected that we can literally calm our minds and relax our bodies simply by breathing slowly and deeply.
Breathe with awareness. When you start to notice your breath, you may notice that you are taking short, shallow breaths into the top of your chest. This is a tense, slightly anxious breath. Try to take a full deep breath in through your nose, fill your lungs up and exhale out through your mouth and feel a big release.
Try this a few more times and you feel more relaxed instantly. Deep breathing activates our parasympathetic nervous system, the system that slows the heart rate and relaxes our muscles.
1. Replace anxious thoughts.
Start to watch your thoughts. If you can be a witness of your thoughts, you can better understand what kind of thoughts are popping up and making you feel anxious. When our minds are so busy and chaotic, it can be difficult to know what's going on but you have the power to control every thought.
This will take practice and it will be difficult to begin, but you have the strength to overcome your anxiety. When you notice an anxious thought creeping in, catch it and stop it and replace it with a positive thought.
For example, if you start to think "I am feeling very nervous and uneasy", replace that thought with something more uplifting like "I feel safe and calm and everything is great." You can even smile to yourself and tell your body that you are feeling calm.
2. Practice the 7-2-11 relaxing breath.
This beautiful and calming breath technique might sound like a grocery shop, but 7-2-11 simply refers to the timing of your breath.
On the inhale, we inhale quietly through the nose for the count of 7, retain or hold the breath for the count of 2 and then release on the exhale to the count of 11 with a “whooooosh” sound out of the mouth.
This exercise is like a natural sleeping tablet, it will completely relax the nervous system. It might take a couple of times to figure out the timing, but the more you practice, the more power you will gain. Practice it everyday for 4-8 rounds.
3. Fuel your system.
Eating well is key to your body and mind functioning properly. We need to fuel our systems much like our car needs petrol to move. When we are stressed and under pressure, your body needs nourishment even more.
Eating "grounding" foods like oats and bananas will provide a great, slow energy release. Avoid stimulants like caffeine, sugar or fast foods, they will only create a spike and dip in your energy levels — making you feel more anxious.
Try to replace coffee with water or herbal teas and perhaps drink chamomile tea in the evening for extra calming benefits. Introduce it slowly into your daily routine and you will soon enjoy it more than your coffee crutch! If you feel quite low in energy, perhaps get a blood test to check if you are deficient in any vitamins or minerals that may be vital to help you feel calm.
4. Move your body.
Exercise does wonders to release tension and stress from the body. When you're feeling anxious, exercise will help to try and release all that adrenal build up. After exercising, you will release endorphins and happy hormones like Serotonin.
The most effective and natural way to boost serotonin is by exercising daily. The stress hormones like Cortisol will reduce and you will begin to feel happy and relaxed. Pick an exercise or two that suits you and your lifestyle.
If you can get outdoors, that's even better; go for a brisk walk, a run, a cycle or a hike. If you how low motivation, join a group or ask a friend to do it with you a few times a week.
Other options like yoga, Pilates, swimming, boxing, or basically anything that will get you moving, will help you to get outside your head. Creating these new habits will create the new healthy, happy life that you want to live.
5. Sleep like a baby.
This is easier said than done when your mind is noisy and your body is tense. Creating a routine before bed will help, like dimming the lights and lighting candles.
Try to replace nighttime TV, phones and internet with a book or a bubble bath with essential oils — the less light and noise stimulation, the better. If you're not comfortable with complete silence and need some background noise, go for meditation sounds or relaxation music to help your body relax.
When you do get into bed, lie down and start to tell your body to relax, starting with your forehead and your eyes, all the way down to your toes. Go slowly, and hopefully you will be asleep before the end.
Do you have your own fool-proof ways of calming down and relieving anxiety? Share in the comments below!