Everyone has feelings of anxiety on some level. Sometimes they can be feelings of stress or tension. Knowing how to regulate these feelings is important and can help to alleviate anxiety. Here are a few basic strategies you can use to help yourself deal with them.
- Relaxing practices: The use of relaxation techniques can greatly decrease your levels of anxiety. Unwinding in front of the TV or computer isn’t really true relaxation, nor are things like alcohol and tobacco. While they may seem to relieve anxiety and tension, this is a false feeling and is temporary. Other techniques such as deep breathing, tai chi, meditation or yoga have a measurable physical effect on the mind and body. Deep breathing, for example, helps to relax a major nerve that runs from the brain to the diaphragm and sends a message to the whole body to loosen up.
- Getting enough sleep, nourishment, and exercise: Getting the right amount of sleep, not too little or too much, allows your mind and body to feel peaceful and strong enough to handle anything you throw at it. Eating a balanced diet can give you long term energy that will last throughout the day, instead of the short bursts that you get from sugar and caffeine. Exercise will get your blood flowing and will send oxygen to every cell in your body so that you can operate at maximum. All three of these together will keep you from becoming lethargic and unable to stay motivated, thus decreasing anxiety and stress.
- Connecting with nature: Leaving the house for a walk outdoors or a hike in the woods can helped you stay grounded and peaceful. You will want to make sure that you feel safe wherever you are so that you can enjoy your surroundings. Ideas include activities like walking, hiking, biking or snowshoeing. You may enjoy doing this alone or with a couple friends or family.
- Connecting with others: Spend time with friends or family. Organized activities, like the previously discussed outdoor activities, or simply hanging out are both great. Doing thing with these people deepens our bonds and allow us to feel supported and secure, and as a bonus, the fun and shared experiences allow us to feel less upset about things and happier. You can also talk with someone about something that may be causing you to feel upset or stressed and make you feel more understood and better able to cope with your feelings. You’ll feel less alone and will be reminded that everyone has these types of feelings.
- Think positive and live in the moment: A great way to keep our minds from feeling anxious is to focus our thoughts on things that are good, beautiful and upbeat. Stay focused on the current moment rather than living in the past or thinking constantly about the future and negative scenarios. If you do find yourself thinking about the future, allow yourself to daydream and imagine the best that could happen, rather than the worst.