We all struggle to stay calm and collected in our daily lives. Anxiety is a normal feeling, but when it becomes overactive, trying a few self-regulating techniques can help manage the feeling. Here are three simple tasks and ideas to keep your anxiety in check:
A 2018 meta-analysis review published in the Journal of Behaviour Research and Therapy shows that meditation alone can decrease the effects of anxiety. Insight Timer is a free app with guided meditations that range from 2 minutes to 60 minutes and beyond. When moments of stress hit, try sitting quietly in a comfortable position, pressing play, and focusing on taking deep inhales and exhales. The exhale ignites the autonomic nervous system and releases calming chemicals that can help combat stress and cortisol.
Releasing emotional energy through the body can help take your mind off of anxious thoughts and help you get out of your mind and into your body. Rumination, the focused attention on one’s cause of stress, can lead to more anxiety and unhappiness. If a workout class or routine isn’t part of your daily life, try a long walk or a simple stretch at home. For a quick, easy-to-follow stretch, try this video available on YouTube:
Sometimes, getting your thoughts out of your mind and onto paper can help release some of the stress that comes from unprocessed feelings and emotions that are difficult to face. In the book, The Artist’s Way by: Julia Cameron, a daily exercise of free-hand writing 3 pages of unedited thoughts and feelings can help the process of beginning to sift through the uncertainties and fears that build up within our thought processes.
Citations: Blanck,P., Perleth, S., Heidenreich, T., Kröger,P., Ditzen, B., Bents, H., & Mander, J. (2018). Effects of mindfulness exercises as stand-alone intervention on symptoms of anxiety and depression:Systematic review and meta-analysis. Behaviour research and therapy, 102, 25-35.
Cameron, J. (2016). The artist’s way. Penguin.