Feel stressed, tense, or scatterbrained because of anxiety? You’re not alone. Everyone struggles with anxiety at times, and it can easily throw off your day. Thankfully, you can learn to manage your anxiety in a lot of ways. Many methods don’t require anything but you and a little time. Use the following guide to help get through your next anxious moment more easily.
Deep breathing guides both your mind and your body into a relaxed state. Slow relaxed breathing triggers the part of your nervous system that helps your body slow down. Since you can control your rate of breathing, you can start this relaxation process at any time. With practice, deep breathing will train your body to respond and help you relax quickly.
Just a few minutes of deep breathing can help you feel more calm right where you are. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, attempting to take a longer breath each time. You can find videos, audio, articles, and books describing a variety of breathing exercises. Try some shorter ones to start with and see what works for you.
Get Moving with Exercise
Exercise helps you feel less anxious in several ways. Your body sends more oxygen and feel good-hormones called endorphins through your blood, giving your mood and body a boost. Also, exercise has a way of clearing your mind. It’s tough to focus on a cycle of worrisome thoughts when you’re breathing hard or counting reps.
Don’t have the time or space for a full workout? No problem! Just do what you can wherever you are. Even a short burst of activity could help you feel better. For bonus points, take your exercise outdoors. You’ll get a dose of fresh air, vitamin D from sunshine, the sights and sounds of nature, and a much-needed change of scenery.
Here’s a quick list of ideas to try:
- Dance to upbeat music
- Take a brisk walk
- Take the stairs
- Run in place
- Do burpees or jumping jacks
- Strength training (with weights or objects in your house)
Your mind can only focus on one thing at a time. This is good news if you’re trying to unhook your mind from worrisome thoughts. When you get your brain’s attention onto something different, you can’t focus on your anxiety at the same time. The more time your brain goes without noticing your anxiety, the less overwhelmed you feel.
- Clean or organize something: Choose short, manageable cleaning tasks to get your mind involved in something active. Clean one area of a room or organized a single drawer. You’ll feel accomplished and stay zeroed in on tangible objects around you.
- Watch a movie: There’s nothing like a good movie to get your mind drawn in. Sometimes a favorite movie can be comforting because you always know what’s coming next. But consider something new to keep your mind guessing.
- Get into a hobby: Get into an activity you’ve done for years or consider trying something new. Hobbies are great distractions because they usually involve making or doing something active. This keeps your attention focused on your actions instead of your worries.
- Talk with a friend: Reach out to a friend who understands your anxiety issues. Let them know you just need to talk for a while to get your mind off your troubles. You might end up talking about your anxiety itself, but a fun, off-topic conversation may be enough to clear your head.
- Beware of unhealthy distractions: Not all distractions are made equal. Some could actually be more harmful and feed into your anxiety. Avoid checking social media, reading the news, using substances, and mindlessly eating.
Guided Relaxation and Meditation
If you’re new to meditation, you might find it challenging to relax at first. It’s totally normal for your thoughts to drift in and out while you meditate. But without some experience, you might not find unguided meditation or relaxation helpful. Instead, try recordings with spoken guidance so you can focus on a person’s voice.
Guided Meditation: Try some short and easy guided meditations with soothing words. Focusing on gentle encouragement and a calm voice can help you shift your mindset. Just listen and do your best to relax your body.
Guided Relaxation: With guided relaxation, the person giving directions will tell you exactly which areas of your body to focus on. They’ll instruct you to hold and relax your muscles in specific ways to release tension, and you’ll be reminded to breathe deeply.
Anxiety happens, but it doesn’t need to take over your mind and body. With just a few ideas from this guide, you can make your next bout with anxiety easier to live with.
New Dimensions Can Help!
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit www.mhthrive.com to learn more.