The environment. The real estate market. The White House. You don’t have to think very hard to come up with reasons for feeling stressed out. Everyone has times when they feel overwhelmed by the challenges of the day. But there are easy and doable ways to help reduce your feelings of anxiety. Here are four go-to strategies for keeping your calm in the face of a freaked-out world.
Have you ever noticed how you hold your breath when you’re worried? Turns out anxious people are chronically shallow breathers. The bad news is that worried minds get even more tense when they are not well oxygenated, according to Psychology Today. To let go of all that nasty tension try breathing in and holding it, before you exhale. One popular technique is called 4-7-8. You breathe in through your nose for 4 counts, hold that breath deeply in your lungs for 7, and then let it all out through your mouth for 8 counts. You can feel yourself melt a bit when you finally let go of the breath. Hello, relaxation.
Spending time in nature has a way of helping us unwind. One study showed that the sounds of nature have a great impact on the nervous system. If you are feeling tense, try a stroll through the park. The sounds of the natural world will help dial down your anxiety levels. Bonus: exercise is also a great stress buster.
“We are all familiar with the feeling of relaxation and ‘switching-off’ which comes from a walk in the countryside, and now we have evidence from the brain and the body which helps us understand this effect,” said study lead author Cassandra Gould van Praag, as Forbes cited.
We live in a work hard, play hard kind of world, but the truth is that rest is often best. If you’re sleeping less than six hours a night, you’re probably looking at a prime cause of your anxiety, as Psychology Today notes. Getting eight hours of shuteye can make a huge difference in your mood.
Write it out
Spend some quality time with your journal. If something is bothering you, try getting it all down on the page. It can also be helpful to do this before bed if you suffer from insomnia, and if there are anxious thoughts keeping you up at night, as Psychology Today reports. If you put it all down in black and white, it gives your mind the permission to let it go.
4 ways to reduce anxiety in stressful times