Feeling anxious? Regain a sense of calm with these easy tips.
Anxiety can strike at any time, and some of us are more susceptible than others. Family issues, workplace worries, and the day-to-day obligations of our busy schedules can take a toll on how we feel, both physically and emotionally. To ease feelings of anxiety or tension, try these easy methods for stress reduction.
1. Take a Deep Breath.
When people are stressed or anxious, they tend to take shallow breaths, which can actually increase feelings of tension. Taking several slow, deep breaths can restore a sense of calm and can be done almost anywhere. Start by exhaling deeply while contracting your stomach, then inhale slowly as you expand your abdomen. Continue inhaling as you expand your chest and raise your shoulders up to your ears. Hold your breath for a few seconds, then slowly exhale in a reverse pattern. Repeat two or three times, and feel the stress gradually leave your body.
2. Get Moving.
Physical activity helps the body to relieve anxiety, and it also releases endorphins, the body's natural "feel-good" chemicals. Virtually any type of exercise is beneficial for reducing stress, from jogging to swimming to taking a brisk walk around the office.
3. Slow Down.
When things get hectic, particularly at work, we tend to speed up in order to feel like we're getting things done in a timely manner. If you feel anxious while doing your job, practice slowing down. Instead of breathlessly answering your phone the second it rings, take a moment to calm yourself before picking up. Slow down your speech, too; talking at a rapid pace may make you sound tense and feel flustered and out of control.
4. Visualize an Anxiety-Free You.
During visualization, also known as guided imagery, you're in control of your own peaceful dream. Imagine a calm, relaxed setting, such as a beach, mountain peak, or your patio, and insert yourself into the scene. Stay with your vision for several minutes, until you feel your mind and body relax. Visualization can be practiced at home or in your office, with or without an audiotape to guide you.
5. Remember to Eat.
Hunger and dehydration can intensify feelings of anxiety and stress, as well as cause headaches. No matter how busy you are, be sure to eat regularly and drink plenty of fluids.
6. Check Your Posture.
Remember to keep your head and shoulders upright, and avoid stooping or slumping. Bad posture can lead to muscle tension, pain, and increased stress.
7. Try Yoga.
Yoga, a widely practiced mind-body exercise, can reduce anxiety, help you feel calm and centered, and improve flexibility and strength. Be sure to incorporate breathing techniques that aid in relaxation and boost general feelings of well-being.
8. Enjoy a Massage.
Treat yourself to a professional massage. Massage consists of kneading muscles and soft body tissues to relieve stress, tension, and pain. A good massage therapist can loosen and relax tight or sore muscles so your whole body feels relaxed, refreshed, and invigorated.