If you're feeling stressed, anxious or life is just getting to the point where it seems to be a bit much, you can create a sense of calm by doing simple activities to help lift anxiety and generate positive shifts in your brain and body.
1. Calm is an inside job. Give yourself the gift of serenity and start the day with ten minutes of breathing, mindfulness or meditation. Think calm, measured and open-minded, and your daily activities will correspond. You can use a meditation or relaxation app or simply do deep breathing exercises just focusing on the breath only.
2. When fear and anxiety take hold, the nervous system directs blood flow to the largest muscles to protect from physical danger which often results in cold hands. So when you warm your hands that can send signals to your nervous system that its ok to calm down. Visualising warm hands or rubbing your hands together or holding onto a heat bag can be enough to help.
3. Another great stress reliever is digging in the garden - just 30 minutes of gardening reduces stress levels more effectively than reading quietly in a room due to physical activity and the dirt itself. A common bacteria found in soil can increase serotonin levels meaning less anxiety, so head outside and plant a new garden!
4. Treat yourself to a massage to slow the release of stress hormones such as cortisol, linked to anxiety. Just one month of weekly 20 minute massages lowers cortisol levels by around 30% the University of Miami found. As massage causes a relaxation response, it eases anxiety. If you can't get a massage, then it's also time to use your bath at home. Soaking in warm water daily is an effective way to ease anxiety and by adding a few drops of essential aromatherapy oil such as bergamot, lavender or german chamomile, you can relax with great benefits like helping you sleep.
5. When you're at work, try relaxing the tongue and jaw as this sends a message to your brain to turn off the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Wiggle your jaw from side to side and stick out your tongue which tells our bodies to rest and restore.
6. Spend time with a furry friend - owning an animal is an even more powerful way to cultivate calm. Just patting an animal relieves stress and the love you feel for a pet makes your heart sing! Nothing better for anxiety than having a pet on your lap or watching them sleep.
7. Don't burn the midnight oil in hopes of catching up on the weekends. Unused sleep minutes don't roll over and sleep deprivation feeds anxiety.
8. Exercise Exercise Exercise! Exercise is nature's anti-anxiety remedy. Besides clearing the mind, firing up the endorphins, and helping you sleep soundly at night, researchers have found that individuals who exercise vigorously and regularly were 25 percent less likely to develop an anxiety disorder within five years.
Taking small steps to change your lifestyle and habits can really help in the management of anxiety. Seeing a counsellor or psychologist may also assist in conjunction with these activities.
Hope this helps
Lifestylist Health & Wellness