It’s understandable that we feel anxiety when we have busy and stressful lives. Even though anxiety never completely goes away, there are a variety of techniques you can try at home, school, or even at work to help ease anxiety.
Here are 4 important tips on how to help with anxiety:
1. Stop and take some deep breaths.
This seems obvious, right? Well, we often forget to pause and take some deep breaths throughout our busy schedules. When we stop what we’re doing for a few seconds and breathe, we’re able to reach a more concentrated state, which allows the mind to refocus and the body to reset. There are endless benefits to taking a few deep breaths whenever we’re feeling worried, exhausted, agitated, distracted, tense, etc.:
- We tend to overthink and create hypothetical scenarios when we’re feeling anxious, upset, frustrated, etc. — Believe it or not, deep breathing can help lessen our negative thoughts, making us feel more relaxed.
- While at home, practice deep breathing in a quiet space, without many distractions. Being able to focus on only your breathing is much easier if you take some time to put your phone down or even turn it completely off.
- The ideal time to practice deep breathing is before falling asleep at night and as soon as you wake up in the morning. As you practice taking a few deep breaths and relaxing at the end and start to each day, it will positively affect your mood.
Anxiety (and stress in general) causes our muscles to tense up, making us feel less comfortable. Meditation, however, helps our muscles loosen or relax which is important for being able to physically relax our bodies.
- Turn off your phone, the TV, music, or any background noise that will distract you. The place that meditation works best is in a quiet setting with minimum distractions.
- Close your eyes as you count each breath until you get to 100. Counting the number of breaths will help you focus on the process of relaxation.
- Meditating at least a few times a week will keep you feeling calm and collected.
- Sometimes, imagining a different setting where you would feel most relaxed will help calm your mind and body, like a beach for example.
- Playing music can help the mind focus more on relaxation. If you prefer the beach like I do, you could search for ocean wave sounds on YouTube.
- Meditation can be a challenge because we hesitate to take breaks from our phones, computers, TVs, etc. but sometimes, that’s all it takes to feel more relaxed.
3. Take care of yourself.
Are you constantly looking forward to the weekend? I am too! (Is it Friday yet?)
- Typically, the weekend is the only time many people feel like they can actually relax. Rather than waiting all week until Friday comes along, start to plan at least 30 minutes after (or before) school or work to treat yourself to something for your own enjoyment.
- Take a walk
- Read a book
- Take a bath
- Watch the sunrise/sunset
- It’s understandable to look forward to the weekend because that usually means we don’t have to work or go to school. However, planning at least 30 minutes out of everyday to do something you enjoy can improve your mood throughout the week. Instead of only looking forward to the weekend, you can look forward to each activity you plan for each day, making the week less stressful.
4. Slow down.
Have you ever slept through your alarm? Or lost track of time, causing you to rush to work, school, or an appointment? Time management is important. Especially if you’re constantly in a hurry.
- Wake up 15-20 minutes earlier than you usually do every morning (even on the weekends). It’s much better to take your time in the morning, not having to constantly worry about getting to school or work late. Not only will you not be rushed, but you will develop a new habit of always being on time.
- Plan your time between activities throughout the day. Depending on how long it takes to get somewhere or complete a certain task, add a few extra minutes so there’s no need to rush.
It’s normal to lose track of time once in a while, but constantly having to rush can be stressful. Managing your time, even if it’s planning a 5 minute break between tasks, will help create a life much more calm and relaxing.