I have struggled with anxiety my entire life. It wasn’t until I started exploring my options in the past few years that I have found some kind of anxiety relief. I promise you that this is not an infomercial or an attempt to sell you an instructive yoga wellness seminar; quite the opposite—I’m just a normal person and a mother who has had to work hard to calm my daily anxiety.
I know what it’s like to feel anxious. I feel anxious when I put my kids to sleep at night because I worry that something terrible could happen to them when they are out of my reach. I feel anxious at social events because I can fall into the role of an extroverted people pleaser who wants to make sure everyone has a good time. I feel anxious when I think about the future because it’s so vast and unknown; I often worry that the worst will happen, and I won’t be able to stop it.
I have seen a huge difference in being able to feel relaxed in my daily life, but I have to tell you something important. Using these anxiety techniques isn’t going to make your life 100% better or perfect. In fact, the sooner that you realize that, the better they are going to work.
Anxiety is a part of life, and it’s not something that you have to be afraid of. Being afraid of anxiety or feeling uncomfortable is what makes the feeling even worse. As a note, if you suffer from uncontrollable anxiety, please seek professional help. I am in therapy, and it has worked wonders for me.
Once you surrender to your fate, that you will experience uncomfortable emotions in your day-to-day-life, it makes it that much easier to relax in the moment. Take a deep breath, and join me.
Try one of these quick anxiety-busters to calm your nerves when stress gets the best of you:
1. Stay in the moment. Focus on something small, like the smell of the air, the feel of sunshine on your skin, or the taste of your coffee. Don’t give in to the obsessive thoughts just yet.
2. Don’t be afraid of feeling uncomfortable. Resisting anxiety makes it even stronger.
3. Distract yourself with a favorite activity. You may be able to forget about your anxiety for a few minutes as you go on a run or watch Netflix; experts estimate that anxiety naturally climaxes and passes within 45 minutes.
4. Breathe. Set the timer on your iPhone for five minutes, sit in a quiet place, and focus on your out breath. Breathe in the fear and breathe out the anxiety with each breath cycle.
5. Meditate. Meditation is similar to deep breathing and can be used to calm the mind. Use an app on your smartphone to follow guided meditation for five minutes.
6. Use progressive muscle relaxation. Set the timer on your iPhone, sit in a quiet place, and tense and relax muscle groups from head to toe for five minutes.
7. Feel your strongest emotion. Lock yourself in the bathroom at home or at work and give yourself five minutes to ugly cry, scream, or pound your fist on the wall. Feel better now?
8. Remind yourself of the truth. If you have an anxious, uncontrollable thought that you may die in a plane crash on the way to visit family, remind yourself of the statistics; the odds are in your favor.
9. Tackle your most pressing task. If something you have been avoiding is causing you anxiety, give yourself five minutes to address the issue or organize the project.
10. Write in your worry journal. Take five minutes to write out all of your thoughts—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Use this practice whenever obsessive anxiety spirals out of control.