Being mindful is an essential part of life. It always surprises me when anxiety starts to creep in. Knowing how to stop feeling anxious is important. – Bella Hardy
Sometimes it’s about a looming deadline. Sometimes it’s just, well, there. Whatever the cause, being anxious can at times feel overwhelming—a feeling, I suspect, most of us know too well.
It’s hard enough to have gloomy thoughts, but feeling anxious is also terrible on the body! Stress hormones, especially cortisol, hang around far too long, making your heart beat rapidly, and your mouth goes dry.
Eventually, being anxious can, among other things, intrude on good sleep habits, trigger digestive disorders, and lower your immune response—to say nothing about its impact on your good vibrations!
While you may not be able to change events and situations that make you feel stressed and anxious, you can change how you respond to them.
Having an arsenal of anxiety-relieving tools will help you manage your stress hormones and clear your mind.
And the relaxation that follows will make your life so much better and happier.
8 Tools for Your Anti-Anxiety Arsenal
Slow your breathing
A simple technique you can use anywhere, anytime. Anxiety generally makes us breathe faster than usual. Instead, consciously slow your breathing; remain in place for a few minutes breathing in this manner until you feel your body and mind relax.
As a comfortable place to begin, inhale for a count of four and exhale for a count of six.
Yell “stop!” (To your mind)
Worry makes the rounds in our brains on a loop—the same wretched doom thoughts repeating over and over again.
The next time you find yourself in a circle of anxious thoughts, silently yell “Stop!” To keep yourself out of the loop, focus on some bright ideas or maybe even a favorite song immediately after you’ve silenced your worry.
Engage your attention with action
You don’t need to do anything elaborate, just something that requires you to move and to focus. If you like to cook, track down some exciting new recipes from the Internet and give it a try.
Even housework can help—it makes you focus on the task at hand and keeps you engaged. As a bonus, put on some music you love while you are involved in your effort.
Many people find slow music is exceptionally calming, but go with your gut on this one—whatever works for you!
Soothe with essential oils
Aromatherapy is a great mood changer. Aromatherapy benefits are known for centuries.
Unfortunately, research on this topic at the moment is limited. For easing anxiety, lavender oil is especially recommended; also helpful are citrus oils (lemon, orange, bergamot), as well as rose, chamomile, clary sage, and pine.
Put the oil in a diffuser so that it scents the air or dab a few drops under your nose.
You might even put a few drops into a hot bath—a double bonus for relaxation!
Spend time outdoors: Go for a run or enjoy a walk around the neighborhood. Whatever exercise leaves you feeling energized and excited, go for it.
Doing training outside is particularly helpful; it reconnects you with nature, and that too soothes your soul.
Adopt calming rituals
We all carry tension in our shoulders. When it builds, use this as a signal that it’s time to break a worry cycle.
Shrug your shoulders upward and then drop them and hold down until those muscles completely relax.
Do this throughout your day, whenever you sense you need to keep your anxiety at bay. Yoga is also helpful: Position yourself in Down Dog or Child’s Pose until you feel your body calm and stressful thoughts ebb—stop, drop, and flow.
You can also adopt a mantra or sutra to stay calm.
Grab a journal and jot down how you’re feeling
Sometimes just simply getting your anxious thoughts out on a page can help you process how you feel, why you feel it, and give you the ability to see your situation more clearly. Instead of keeping it in, get it out!
You’ll gain perspective on the matter and will be able to revisit your entries when similar issues arise.
Research shows that a real smile (the kind that engages your eyes as well as your mouth) is more than “grin and bear it.”
A smile relieves stress and makes us feel happier and more relaxed.
Some researchers speculate that smiling might lower the stress hormone cortisol, but whatever the reason, put it to work for you! You’ll find it’s nearly impossible to worry when you have a smile on your face.
Maybe it’ll even make you chuckle, which is excellent, as laughter comes with its health benefits as well.
We can look forward to more peaceful days ahead, but having calming tools will bring more peace to your days now!