Feeling anxious is common. Feelings can range from a little bit of worry to excessive amounts that results in a debilitating disorder.
Here are a few tools to help you reduce anxiety.
Are you anxious about a test as you sit down to take it? That’s normal! But often we feel anxiety about an event in the future, frequently with an uncertain outcome.
Mindfulness refers to being present in the moment. To be mindful of the now and remind yourself that you are safe, gently tap the palm of your hand or press a finger gently in the soft spot behind your ear. When you have your attention and can feel your body, tell yourself that whatever you’re worried about isn’t actually happening now. Then purposefully pay attention to where you are. For example, if you’re drinking coffee: smell the drink, pay attention to the heat, enjoy the taste, look at the image on the mug. Being where you are can help diminish your state of worry about something that may or may not come to pass.
Intentional breathing helps you to feel connected to your body, which is especially important for people who often feel disconnected from their physical self and experience anxiety. Deep breathing increases the amount of oxygen the body receives and activates the parasympathetic nervous system, creating feelings of calm. Other types of breathing exercises produce similar results. Deep breathing, belly breathing, yogic breathing have different outcomes. Try several different types of breathing exercises to find what works best for you.
While the poses, called asanas, in yoga can give some immediate relief to those feeling anxious, the internal work of yoga is to improve the practitioner’s mental health and connection to the world around us. Traditionally, yoga practice aims to improve emotional stability. Seek out a yoga instructor who focuses on the underpinnings of yoga practice to gain these benefits.
Singing prompts the production of an assortment of feel-good chemicals in the brain, including: oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. Remember, your brain doesn’t care if you sing “well.” The judgements you place on yourself have no impact on the production of feel-good chemicals. So belt it out! Or just hum. Either way, your mood will likely improve.
Cats, dogs, horses, or any companion animal that you resonate with is going to help keep you present and help you feel connected and supported. It’s difficult to worry about the future when your dog is licking your face or your cat is purring on your chest. Physically, being with an animal can decrease the stress hormone cortisol and lower your blood pressure. In many ways, companion animals can support our mental health.
One symptom of someone with chronic anxiety is the disruption of sleep patterns. Doing everything you can to get and stay on a regular sleep schedule is important to reducing anxiety. Of course you’re going to feel anxious if you’re exhausted day after day! If your sleep regulation is off, make an appointment to see a physician who is a sleep specialist.
There are some situations in which it is natural to feel a little anxiety, such as before a job interview. A limited amount of anxiety is the acknowledgement that some situations are frightening. However, feeling extreme anxiety to the point that it limits your ability to function or enjoy your life can be addressed in part through acceptance.
Most of the time, what we feel anxious about are situations in which we have little or no control. You might spin out or have an anxiety attack when thinking about inflation and how you’re going to make ends meet. You might worry about your kids in school. Whenever you feel anxious, it may help to remind yourself that you’re doing the best that you can and some things are outside our control. Serenity comes when we accept what is.
Seeking Professional Support
Intermittent experiences of feeling anxious are part of the human experience. The tips listed above may address occasional experiences of anxiety as they arise. They are also excellent tools to use along with professional support.
Professional support becomes necessary when you feel anxious regularly and/or your anxiety is getting in the way of your ability to function in your life. A counselor can help you find the root of your anxiety, develop better tools for coping, and if necessary, refer you for psychiatric support.
Reach out today for a free consultation and to learn more: email: email@example.com phone: 484-876-1842.