Have you been feeling more anxious than usual lately? In need of tips for relieving anxiety? With everything going on in the world right now, it's no surprise.
Generalized anxiety is a lot to take in. I've dealt with it since I was 18 years old. When it first started, I thought I was losing my mind. Nightmares happened often where I knew I was dreaming and ran around begging for others to wake me up. Fear had a grasp on my presence for no reason and I felt so out of place. I had no idea what was going on with me.
I reached out to my Mom and she made an appointment to see a psychologist. They put me on medication which sort of helped but didn't seem to help anywhere near the amount of help psychotherapy gave me. Once I started seeing a psychologist and having regular therapy, I began learning how to implement the main ingredients to an almost-anxious free lifestyle for myself.
I've seen several different counselors over the past two decades and have learned a lot. Grab a cup of coffee (preferably decaf if you're experiencing anxiety) and let's get started.
Tip #1: Breathe
I can't tell you how much just learning to breathe has changed my life. I tend to be a shallow breather so learning that about myself and learning to take deep breaths has improved my overall health. Taking in oxygen helps create serotonin which tells the brain to calm down. So, when you're feeling anxious, take a minute or two and just take in deep breaths.
One way you can do this is the 4-7-8 breath method. Breathe in, hold your breath for 7 seconds and breathe out for 8 seconds. Repeat this 4 times. This helps you learn to slow down your breathing and helps your body relax. Just be careful you're sitting down or aware of how you're feeling. Sometimes this can make me a little lightheaded for a moment.
If you have an Apple watch, you can use the Breathe app a few times per day. I find this helpful in a pinch. And something that is really helpful in taking in oxygen and leads to my second tip, exercise.
Tip #2: Exercise
This is a very important ingredient to living an anxiety-managed lifestyle. Exercise, again, helps you take in oxygen which helps your body produce serotonin but it also helps your body produce endorphins which give you energy. The hard part is that you need energy to want to exercise and one of the things to give you energy is exercise. So, my best advice is even when you don't "feel like it," get up and move. Get your heart rate up. Sweat out the impurities in your body. You will feel better, I promise. Exercise also helps me sleep better which is my next tip.
Tip #3: Sleep
Of the five tips for relieving anxiety, sleep is certainly one of the most important and one of the toughest to achieve. But we all need it. I'm sure you're aware of that. I know most people I talk to don't feel like they get enough. I'm the same. But at least try to get more sleep. Go to bed earlier than you think you need to. Don't be anxious about waking in the middle of the night because this is common for many people. If you wake up and can't fall back asleep, they say get up and walk around a bit or do something to take your mind off of whatever it is that might be worrying you. I like to put in a Disney movie. It helps me relax and fall right back asleep.
Tip #4: Learn to be in the moment
This sort of goes along with the whole breathing thing since the practice of meditation also increases your breathwork. It also helps you to slow down and be in the moment. This is immensely important in the world we live in. To stop and just be. It helps you to stop thinking or worrying because when you're living in the moment, the moment is all that matters and everything is okay. You are okay.
Another way to be in the moment might be taking part in a favorite hobby. It may be crafting, cooking, baking, playing music, photography or anything that helps you focus so much on what you're doing that you're not thinking about the past or present. Now is the only time that matters and that's where you want to be. So, this is your permission to have some fun and enjoy the moment!
Tip #5: Prayer
Even if you don't believe in "God," likely you believe in some higher power. If not, feel free to skip this tip but if you do have some inkling there may be something bigger than yourself, connect with that higher power. In whatever way feels right to you. That may be praying or it may just be taking a walk in the woods and connecting with your inner soul. If you don't know how to connect, start trying new things and ways to connect. Try praying. Spend time in nature. Or try tip #4, meditation. Do something that helps you feel connected to that higher being.
There was a time in my early 20s when I felt so defeated by anxiety.
- I was so tired of fighting it.
- I feared driving across town.
- I feared being alone.
- I feared being food poisoned if I left something sitting out for too long.
- I was afraid almost all of the time.
Driving down the highway one day, I finally broke down and asked God to help me. I begged for him to help relieve this anxiety and rid me of the helpless, scary feelings I'd been experiencing. I kid you not, within seconds, I felt a peace rush over me I hadn't felt in years. It was the craziest thing. When someone asks me for tips for relieving anxiety, this moment always comes to mind.
I'm not super religious and don't have a strong foundation in faith but I know for a fact, I was helped by something bigger than myself that day.
From that moment forward, with lots of therapy, I slowly worked my way to feeling calm far more often than anxious and feeling strong and powerful much more often than helpless. I'm able to drive across the state (let alone the city) by myself now with very little anxiety and I cherish being alone. Lol. My journey to healing started that day on the highway when I pleaded for help from a higher source.
If I were having a conversation with a friend right now that was experiencing anxiety, these would be my top tips for relieving anxiety and I'd hope she or he would give them a try. I'd also highly recommend seeking the advice from a professional counselor or therapist.
If you want different results, you have to do something different, right?
If you enjoy making things, you might also be interesting in the post, Crafting to Reduce Stress.
Do you have tips for relieving anxiety? If so, share in the comments below. I wish you all peace, my friends.
Disclaimer: All content and information on this website including our programs, products and/or services is for informational and educational purposes only, does not constitute medical, psychological or healthadvice of any kind and we do not warrant that the information presented herein is free of any errors or omissions. We are not providing medical, health care, nutrition therapy or coaching services to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any kind of physical ailment, mental or medical condition.
Although we strive to provide accurate general information, the information presented here is not a substitute for any kind of professional advice, and you should not rely solely on this information. Always consult a professional in the medical and health area for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any medical or health related decisions. For your health related questions, please seek the advice of a licensed physician or any other qualified health care provider immedi