Ways to Reduce Anxiety in 2021
As we say farewell to 2020 and usher in the New Year, we look towards the future. With New Year’s resolutions on the docket, many of us are striving to achieve a calm life of meaning and fulfillment. At Clearminds, we understand the disastrous effects of chronic anxiety. As we embark on 2021, let’s look at how we can holistically work towards wellness and live a life with less anxiety and worry.
All anxiety stems from uncertainty, and watching a 24-hour news cycle is enough to make anyone feel anxious. Civil unrest, political tensions, natural disasters, and COVID-19, you’d be hard-pressed to turn on the television or browse your favorite news apps without seeing something that’s unsettling, troublesome, or scary. Whether you get your news from social media, online, or through traditional news outlets, it’s essential to take a step back and distance yourself from the news. There’s no need to worry about missing out on anything. If it’s important enough, you will find out in due time.
Focus on Productivity and New Ways to Enjoy Life
Although we can not control every aspect of our lives, we can choose to focus on what’s within our power to control. When you start to worry about the unknown or situations beyond your control, consider shifting your focus to your work or hobbies. If work is your source of stress and worry, consider trying something new. Organize a messy room, take up a new hobby, check out a new hiking trail, learn a new skill. Creating opportunities for accomplishments will help you place your attention on something that is positive and satisfying.
Be Kind to Yourself and Others
It’s normal to feel anxious or worried, so cut yourself some slack. Don’t be so hard on yourself or others. Remember that as we continue to navigate the global pandemic, we are all feeling the pressures and worry associated with the “new normal.” If you have a bad moment or a bad day, take a moment to learn from it and move forward. At the same time, if family, friends, or colleagues seem a little more on edge than usual, keep in mind, we are all facing our own pressures and stressors.
Any form of exercise can serve as a stress reliever. Even if you’re out of shape or you’re not an athlete, exercise is an excellent stress reliever. Physical activity pumps up our feel-good endorphins and other natural neural chemicals that enhance our mental health and sense of well-being. Physical movement helps to refocus our mind on our body’s movements, which improves our mood and can help shift our mind from the day’s troubles. Whether it’s walking, gardening, running, jogging, hiking, swimming, biking, or weightlifting, anything that gets you active can help to reduce your stress levels.
As the old saying goes, “laughter is the best medicine.” While it can’t cure all ailments or troubles, laughter can help you feel better. When you laugh, it not only lightens your mental burden but also creates positive physical changes in your body. When we feel stress, our body responds to our stress by producing the hormone called cortisol. Laughter can decrease cortisol levels by increasing your oxygen levels and stimulating circulation throughout the body. Whether you read a few jokes, watch a comedy show or get together with a funny friend, laughter will do wonders for your anxiety and overall mental wellbeing.
When we become anxious, we tend to take rapid, shallow breaths directly from our chest. This rapid breathing causes dizziness, muscle tension, and an increased heart rate. When your blood is not being properly oxygenated, this may signal a stress response that contributes to anxiety and panic attacks. When you start to feel worried or feel frightened of the unknown, take a moment to regulate your breathing.
The next time you’re feeling anxious, try this simple relaxation technique:
- Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose. Relax your shoulder, allowing your abdomen to expand (your chest should rise very little).
- Exhale slowly through your mouth. As you blow air out, slightly purse your lips, but be sure to relax your jaw.
- Repeat this exercise until you are calm and composed. You can repeat this exercise for several minutes until you start to feel better.
In addition to breathing, you should consider other relaxation techniques, such as yoga or mindfulness.
Seek Professional Help
If you are feeling overwhelmed by your anxiety, you don’t have to face your challenges alone. Anxiety is our body’s emotional and physical response to a threat. This threat can be either perceived or real. While stress is a natural part of life, people with anxiety disorders have recurring feelings of excessive, intense, and persistent worry. When left untreated, these feelings can negatively impact your mental health, physical health, relationships, and happiness. Psychotherapy can help you on your path to living a life free of excessive worry and anxiety.
At Clearminds Center for Emotional Health, we create custom-tailored treatment plans to help our clients identify, manage, and mitigate their anxiety. Contact a member of our team to schedule your appointment today.