We have consulted with top psychologists and therapists who specialize in treating anxiety and stress to come up with the folloinwg 7 top recommendations for reducing anxiety:
1) Mindful Breathing. This is the big one, folks. It reduces the symptoms of anxiety by potentially 100%. Here’s a great breathing exercise. 1) Find your heartbeat (pulse). 2) Inhale for 8 counts (count by your heartbeat, slowing down as you continue the exesrcise). Exhale for 16 beats. Hold for 8 beats. Do this for at least 10 breaths. If you slow the pace of your counting down, it will likely bring your heartbeat down as well. AMAZING!
2) Do “Mindfulness” exercises. This brings you into the “present moment”. Remember, Anxiety is a reaction to thoughts of the past or imagined stressful thoughts of the future. Getting yourself into the “present” will stop that cycle. Here are two methods: 1) Focus and take note of something you see, something you hear, and something you feel. You can repeat that 2 or 3 times or as many times until you feel the calm of the present enveloping you. 2) Look around and notice things that start with an “A”, then those that start with a “B”, then “C”, until you’ve covered the alphabet. Personally, this causes me a little more stress because I get stuck on certain letters. If you get stuck, just move on to the next letter. It’s not about stressing you out, it’s about grounding you into the present place you are in time and space.
3) Move your body. Don’t call it exercise. For most people that’s a negative connotation. Instead, call it “movin’ around” or “groove a little” or “put one piece of laundry away at a time”. Get it? It’s about movement. And if you start thinking of “moving around” as “movement”, you’ll love the way it makes you feel. “Movement” has always shown to lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and create a good mood. Just “MOVE”.
4) Sleep. Easier said than done for those that have trouble sleeping. So, we’re not going to recommend pharmaceuticals. Instead, try a rigorous “jog in place” or “inclined pushup” (up against a kitchen counter, so your body is not parallel to the floor) or TURN ON MUSIC AND DANCE A LITTLE! Then, get into bed and try some “mindful breathing” from point 1 above. Try not to eat for at least 3 hours before you go to bed as well. Create this routine and stick with it, and your body and mind will naturally be in the best place possible to fall effortlessly into a restful slumber.
5) Reduce Caffeine intake. Caffeine is a stimulant – this can cause your body to physically “amp up” – your brain will naturally find mental reasons for the heightened physical anxiety.
6) Reduce Alcohol intake. Alcohol is a depressant – and that causes anxiety as well. Depression and anxiety go hand-in-hand. Alcohol isn’t a good option if your prone to either. Yet, you may feel like you need some kind of “release”. As much as you don’t want to hear it, movement can provide that kind of release. Do something that floods your body with endorphins, and you’ll get that “release” or “high” you’re craving – without the negative stress and depression inducing side-effects of drugs or alcohol
7) Get Help. There are more “methods” for reducing anxiety (and depression). Ultimately, you need to find the combination of what works best for you. And there IS a combination of techniques that will get you completely free of your anxiety. Find a therapist you like to work with, they’ll help you with finding those techniques that do work best for you, and also will help you explore and resolve the underlying issues that are causing you undue anxiety, stress and depression.