When stress or anxiety builds up, it can be hard to find ways to stay calm. Sometimes those feelings of anxiousness don’t go away, and they can feel as though they are compounding—making it more and more difficult to find a sense of peace. Here are some ways that can help you feel calm during these moments of stress. Try printing out the list and putting it somewhere that you can refer to when you’re feeling anxious.
Take a Breath
When we are particularly stressed or feeling anxious, our body enters fight or flight mode. Our heart quickens and so does our breathing. Taking a moment for some intentional, deep breaths brings more oxygen into your body and helps slow down the stress response. Start by putting your hand on your stomach so that you can feel it rise as you breathe in. Breathe in deeply for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7, then breathe out for a count of 8. This breathing technique is called 4-7-8 and can be a create way to reduce feelings of anxiousness in the moment.
Taking some time on a regular basis to do yoga can be a great way to reduce overall feelings of stress and anxiousness in your life. You don’t even have to go to a yoga class. In fact, home practices are a great way to enjoy the benefits of yoga without a significant cost or classroom dynamic. Look up yoga practices on YouTube or check out these 5 poses to get started.
When you’re feeling stressed, picking up a favorite childhood activity of coloring can be a great way to focus the mind and reduce worry. In fact, coloring can actually have meditative effects. Particularly when coloring complex designs, such as mandalas, our minds are able to focus on that specific activity. This helps to reduce anxiety and stress and incorporates mindfulness that is used in meditative practices.
Find a Distraction
Worrying can feel like it’s completely occupying your mind. Finding another activity that you need to concentrate on can be an excellent way to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. If you’re with other people, try starting a board game or a round of cards to actively concentrate on something else. Alternatively, you can start an activity that you keep privately to yourself such as counting the number of yellow things you see in the room, saying the alphabet backwards in your head or doing multiplication tables. Any of these activities can help distract your mind from what it’s worrying about, which can help to reduce your overall feelings of anxiousness.
Take a Walk
Walking is an easy and excellent way to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Exercise helps to produce endorphins in the brain which can boost your mood, improve sleep and even act as a natural painkiller. It’s also another great distraction and form of relaxation, particularly when you focus intentionally on the steps you’re taking. Walking is a bilateral movement, which means it has a rhythmic left to right pattern that can offer those relaxing effects.
Feature Image: Sergey Zolkin