Anxiety can creep up on us when we least expect it. One minute, you’re calm and in control. The next, your fight or flight response kicks in and throws you off your game. In a recent article, I shared 5 ways to reduce your social anxiety. This topic resonated with so many of you that I wanted to share additional techniques (and variations on some classics) to help you regain control.
The next time you feel anxiety taking over, try one of these simple ways to ease the panic and find your center. The more you practice these techniques, the more naturally they’ll come when you need them most.
Sit with your back straight and your feet resting on the floor. Remember – 4 steps/4 seconds. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose for 4 seconds. Hold that breath for 4 seconds. Exhale fully through your mouth for 4 seconds. Hold your breath again for 4 seconds. Repeat these steps several times while focusing on your breathing. The more you focus, the sooner your mind and body will relax.
Progressive muscle relaxation.
Take turns tensing – and then relaxing – each muscle group one at a time (abdomen, chest, shoulders, left leg, right hand, etc.). Inhale slowly as you tighten that muscle as hard as you can for 5-8 seconds. Then, quickly release the tension as you exhale. Focus on the difference between the tension and relaxation. Your body will feel much more relaxed.
Anxiety likes to control your thoughts, so focus your thoughts elsewhere. Watch TV, listen to music, talk to a friend or get your body moving with some healthy exercise. Focusing on the present moment will improve your ability to reduce anxious thoughts.
Never underestimate the benefit of exercise on your mental health. The more you move, the better your blood flows. This improves neurotransmitter production and regulation and reduces anxiety symptoms. It can actually be as powerful as some medication when you do it consistently!
Practice these techniques … even when you’re not feeling anxious. You’ll condition your body to easily and naturally take action when anxiety does kick in. Comment below and let me know what you think!
Make healthy living a part of every day.
The light in me honors the light in you. Namaste.
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- Get centered. Focus on your breathing, your surroundings or any healthy distraction, and you’ll calm your mind and body.
- Accept. Acknowledge that anxiety is normal and does not lessen who you are. If your anxiety is heavily interfering with your life, consider speaking with a medical professional.
- Practice. The more you do something, the more it becomes second nature. Preparing for an unexpected wave of anxiety in advance will help you ease your symptoms more quickly and calmly when it hits.