8 Painless Ways to Release Anxiety & Relax
by Andrea Schulman
Trust me, I get it. Anxiety isn’t pleasant. Who likes being stressed out, after all? It made my 20s sheer hell. Maybe you can relate.
So here are a few easy (and non-pharmaceutical) things I’ve learned to use to regulate and release anxiety in my life over the years. Try them out, and see how they work for you!
Please note: If you have a clinical Anxiety Disorder, please use these suggestions in tandem with your regular medical or mental health care.
1. Deep, slow breathing.This is seriously the easiest thing you can do, and you can do it any time you feel your blood pressure start to rise. It is automatically calming. Practice deep breathing regularly at the slightest sign of anxiety to take the edge off before it ramps up and gets ugly.
2. Meditation.During stressful times in life it can help to introduce a mediation routine to your day. Just 10-15 minutes in the morning can work as a “stress preventer” that lasts for hours. Try it out!
3. Connect, rather than disconnect.When we are in an anxious state we naturally separate from the people around us. We avoid eye contact, we get mad, we push away.
These types of avoidant behaviors only amplify anxious feelings and distrust in the world around you. So instead, make a daily practice of trying to connect with people to reduce anxious and avoidant behaviors. Make eye contact, smile, give hugs, and think positive thoughts about the people around you.
When you connect with others the world feels like a friendlier place, and it’s hard to be anxious when you feel at ease with the people around you.
4. Stay present.Anxiety is a function of too much forward-thinking. Instead of just being where we are, when we are anxious we are in the process of worrying about what’s to come next.
Unfortunately, there isn’t anything that you can do to control what’s going to happen tomorrow right this moment. You only have control over the here and now. Get present and bring your thoughts back into what’s going on currently. You will cross that next bridge when you get to it.
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5. Relaxing music.This is something I use in the car with my kids sometimes when things are get stressful. I have a few XM and Pandora stations I keep handy with slow, mellow music. Just setting the ambience to sound more relaxing is very effective a taking things down a notch.
6. Light stretching.Not sure why, but stretching is extremely relaxing. If you feel extra tension take a moment to stretch it out. It really works!
7. Redirect your focus.For me, this is the most effective solution. When I feel some stressful thoughts coming on I remind myself that this train of thought isn’t working for me, and I switch topics.
For example, if I’m working on something that’s bringing up anxious thinking I’ll put it down ASAP and do something else, like another project or I’ll take a break from work altogether. This technique is most effective if you catch the anxiety early. The earlier you catch it and focus elsewhere, the easier it is to release it.
8. Tapping.I’ve been hearing about tapping for years, but I’ve just recently started to learn about it and apply it. It’s pretty cool AND it’s pretty easy. If you suffer from anxiety on a regular basis, look into tapping!
I hope you like these tips to release anxiety. If you have any others you’d care to share, please comment below!
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