Anxiety feels like if you spent every moment of every day worried about what would happen the next, and while worry might not be so bad, in comparison, the worry you experienced made your heart race in the most innocent of moments. Even when you were still, lying in bed, and safe from the world, you constantly lived in paralyzing fear- a fear so strong, it sends your heart into palpitations and caused your body to shake and quiver.
And if you have never experienced, you may think ‘surely you are exaggerating,’ but from the perspective of someone with severe anxiety, I promise you, I am not. In fact, I, like many others spend days I’d rather spend with friends, hidden inside my home. I worry so much about every little thing, that I lose time that I could have spent getting tasks done.
I miss out on friendships and new memories, because of my anxiety. However, recently, I decided to take things into my own hands, and I have been practicing a number of techniques that I found in books, and from internet research. And while I was a skeptic at first, I must say that I have noticed a bit of change in my life. If you’d like to try them as well, check out the list below.
1. Stand up straight.
Tamar Chanksy, Ph.D., author of the book Freeing Yourself From Anxiety explains ‘When we are anxious, we protect our upper body- where our heart and lungs are located- by hunching over.’
If you are experiencing anxiety and need immediate relief, try this technique. Stand up, pull your shoulders back, and open up your chest. When you pull your body out from hunching over, it tells our mind that we aren’t in fight or flight mode, thus taking us away from our anxiety.
2. Keep a positivity journal.
The positivity journal is great because it programs our mind to think positively and on a regular basis. With anxiety, we may focus on the negative too much, and because of this, we end up missing out on the fact that a lot of the things we constantly worry about- never happen. It helps to celebrate the times when everything turned out well! Or while this may not have gone as planned, this other thing did.
While a change in diet may not always result in relief, it most definitely can help. With that being said, magnesium deficiencies can cause us to be even more anxious when we were already prone to anxiety, to begin with. Experts suggest using sprays containing high amounts of the nutrient, or even just by taking a high-quality supplement.
4. Go for a walk. (No, really.)
Walking not only stimulates our blood flow, but it also improves our breathing. It also provides us with stimulation of our senses, which can distract the brain making it hard to focus on our anxious thoughts.
5. Understand your triggers.
Our triggers are the things that cause our anxiety to kick in. Once we understand them, we gain insight into the cause of our anxiety. In term, we can find long term solutions that provide us with ongoing relief.
6. Play the 5-5-5 game.
Negative thought loops can often lead to an anxiety episode, so try this to step back into the moment, and out of your anxiety:
1. Name 5 things you see.
2. Name 5 things you hear.
3. Move around 5 parts of your body you can feel.
7. Watch a funny video.
Physiologically, you cannot truly laugh and feel anxiety at the same time. So, try watching something really funny, and see if it helps.
8. Listen to this song.
Scientists have actually discovered that listening to this song can help reduce anxiety. Seriously, though.
9. Fake it until you make it. (Seriously though.)
Cognitive dissonance is the mind’s ability to change the way you think or feel when you have two conflicting beliefs and ideas. From morning until night, act the way someone without anxiety would, but pretending you don’t have anxiety. Think of it as a ‘play.’ In turn, your brain will become confused, because it thinks you are anxious, but your body isn’t acting that way. In turn, your mind will become stressed, and it will think as though it is acting that way. Get it?