Anxiety, stress and worry is impacting more and more of us all the time. Rather than letting these feelings of discomfort rule our emotions and lead to more challenges, this guide is here to show you how to deal with anxiety and create positive habits to reduce its likelihood of showing up again.
When you’re feeling anxious, stressed out or in any sort of distress try one of these quick fixes – designed to trick your body into a relaxation response as quickly as possible and reduce anxiety and stress instantaneously.
When you’re feeling ok, review the habits and lifestyles section of this article and experiment with changes you can make in your life so these moments of stress are less likely to arrive.
The quick fixes
Try to get out of the habit of accepting feelings of dread, hopelessness and overloads of stress. Instead when you feel it arising, stop what you’re doing and change your mood with one of these 5 methods;
The master switch (cold water therapy)
Jump in a cold shower or simply splash cold water on your face. Your body reacts by moving you instantly out of the stress response and into the relaxation response, making you feel calmer. Your mind and your body will relax as your stress hormones reduce, and your nervous system resets.
Make your body as big as you can for 2 minutes. Take your arms wide and think of a posture of an alfa male in the animal kingdom. 2 minutes of Power posing reduces your cortisol (stress hormone) by 20% while increasing your testosterone (think of this as your confidence hormone) by the same amount. You’re literally tricking your anatomy into calming down and taking control.
Nardi Shodhana (Alternate nostril breathing)
Sitting up straight with your eyes closed, use your thumb to cover your right nostril. Breathe into the left then cover the left and breathe out through the right. Breathe in right then cover your right nostril and breathe out through your left. Build up a gentle rhythm here and continue with the eyes closed for at least 2 minutes, finishing with an exhale through the left. Working in the same way as hypnosis this technique moves your attention from the left brain to right, taking your mind out of any negative patterns and balancing your emotional state. It also helps by calming the breath, a key element in stress reduction.
Reevaluate your habits and lifestyle
Habits and routines create our day to day state. Bad habits create bad moods, and vice versa. Luckily for us habits are easily changed once we know what to do. Think about these ideas and how they correlate to your habits. Alter and experiment with them and as you refine, see how the way you feel changes.
Check your posture: Just like your mother always told you, remember to sit up straight and roll your shoulders back. It’s impossible to feel miserable when sitting upright just as you can’t feel confident when you’re in a sunken shape.
Improve your resting breath: Learn to breathe smoothly and slowly in and out through your nose, and into the belly. On the inhale your belly should relax and move outward, and as you exhale your belly moves back in. Try and develop this into a habit to trick your body into being more relaxed.
Limit screen time and your social media habits: Facebook, news and the general chatter of social media distracts and then feeds our anxiety. Limit your time on these as much as you can to improve your overall wellbeing. Experiment with being unavailable for periods, only using social media for 20 mins a day or removing your phone from your bedroom.
The low information diet: Experiment with taking in less information from news and other sources and you’ll have less stress instantly.
BE KIND: One of the easiest ways of making yourself happier statistically is selfless service. Do something selfless, be loving with a smile to a stranger or helping the little old lady cross the road. Your brain rewards you with dopamine and you’ll feel great – it’s one of the easiest ways to become a happier person, and it’s free!
Begin a daily meditation practice: This will transform your life. Daily meditation rewires your brain into more positive patterns and builds a younger brain. Try the free 1GiantMind app on the iTunes store to keep you in check.
The golden hour: The first hour of the day is the most important as is sets your internal tone for the day. Rather than any screen time enjoy your time with your loved ones, meditate, do some exercise or read a book.
Diet: Reducing processed foods of all kinds, heavy foods, soft drinks and excessive caffeine or alcohol is an easy way to level pour your emotions and start feeling better quickly. We want to create a balanced state not an up and down state, so reducing stimulants is a great start.
Adjust your attitude: The way you look at the world and respond to situations is fundamental to how you feel. An evaluation of how you look at the world can create a huge shift.
Stop seeing challenges as problems, but as opportunities for growth or lessons to make you stronger.
Practice the art of non-finishing: If something feels wrong, accept it stop, and try something else.
Practice radical honesty: It reduces stress to simply tell the truth to others and to yourself. With no need for exaggeration or showboating life becomes simpler and easier.
Allow yourself to have fun and enjoy the mundane: It’s totally ok to have fun while driving to work, or to enjoy the grocery shopping. Try and find the smiles in the day to day anyway you can. Hip hop shopping maybe?
Be present: Everything that ever happened – happened in the now. Don’t bother yourself with thoughts about the past, or get too caught up in the future.
Be on a consistent mission of self-betterment: Don’t look for successes, rather just look to better your attitude, your outlook or your life step by step and day by day.
In a problematic situation exercise one of these three choices – change the situation, remove yourself or completely surrender and accept what is. Anything else is madness.
Be brave! Make decisions, make changes, tell people how you feel and what you think. Be radically you.
A reduction in your anxiety levels comes from objectively re-working your way of habits, your thinking, your attitude and your outlook on life.
Be brave and make permanent changes to your habits and thinking for the betterment of your life. Never be afraid to tell loved ones and friends how you feel or to take some time to yourself when needed. Stay strong, and good luck.
About the author:
Learn more about Stefan Camilleri at www.stefancamilleriyoga.com