As someone who has been coping with anxiety for years, I decided to create a post on some ways to alleviate anxious feelings. Feeling anxious is normal and not necessarily a bad thing to feel. Anxiety triggers our bodies fight or flight mode. Rather it’s an emotion we often need for survival if put into harmful situations. In case you don’t know the exact definition of anxiety, it is the feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an upcoming event or something with an uncertain outcome. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the USA.
I dedicated to team up with Georgie for this post. Georgie is an anxiety mindset coach, gut health expert and nutritionist that I found on Instagram through a social media course we’re both taking called Boss Babe IGA Accelerator. Once I discovered her page, I saw plenty of content that resonated with alleviating my feelings of anxiety. Here are 10 ways to alleviate anxiety.
1. Take a shower
It may be simple however taking a shower can be a wonderful way to break through the cycle of swirling thoughts in your mind and bring you back into feeling more present in your body. The hot water also relaxes tense muscles, so spend a few moments directing the water onto your neck and shoulders. For bonus points, take a hit of cold water for 30 seconds at the end of your shower. This also wakes up your parasympathetic nervous system, a fast track to feeling calm.
2. Connect with someone you love
Bees need a hive, and humans need a tribe. We crave a sense of community, belonging and connection. This is deeply linked to our survival instincts. Anxiety is all about going into “survival mode” in the brain. As early nomadic groups, our survival depended on being part of the group and knowing others had your back. Thus if you were cut off from your tribe, your chances of survival were much lower. Call up a friend, schedule in a date with a friend or find your nearest person to hug. Reaching out for support when you feel stressed and overwhelmed reminds you that you have a community looking out for you and calms that overactive mind.
3. Move your body
Exercise is recommended for anxiety relief. Did you know exercise is equal in effectiveness to both therapy and medication for managing anxiety? One study of over 3,500 people established that across the world people respond as well to moving their bodies more regularly as they do to the traditional treatment pathway. It doesn’t really matter how you move, just start moving in a way you enjoy.
4. Eat regular meals
Blood sugar imbalances are something that impacts so many people with anxiety. Often, we’re living such busy lives, we literally forget to eat. Sometimes, we skip meals deliberately due to the popularity of eating styles like intermittent fasting. This is not something I recommend for people with anxiety, although it can benefit others. If you are feeling anxious, you’re better off eating three square meals a day, plus snacks if you need.
5. Get to bed earlier
A bad night’s sleep is a sure-fire way to wake up anxious the next day. Our brains are much more sensitive and easily triggered when we are sleep-deprived. Make sleep a priority. Get to bed earlier if you need and avoid screens late at night, as the blue light interrupts our brain’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin, meaning we don’t feel as sleepy at night or we get disrupted sleep.
6. Limit your social media time
Comparing your real life to the edited, highlight reels from everyone else is a great way to make yourself anxious. We begin to feel like we’re not good enough, like we are missing out on something or simply not as happy as other people. We ponder thoughts like, “maybe there’s something wrong with me.” Take a break from your phone when you can, switch it on airplane mode or leave it in another room for an hour or so while you go about your day.
7. Spend some time in nature
Simply looking at green spaces makes us feel calm, and there are studies to prove it. Seeing green lowers your stress hormone cortisol. Be sure to take in the gardens and parks you pass when you walk around your neighborhood. Being immersed in nature is even more beneficial, as inhaling the chemicals emitted from plant aromas has a similar, stress-relieving effect. How can you spend time in nature more often?
8. Praise yourself
Seeking the approval of others motivates many of us. We’re just waiting for the day someone is going to turn to us and say, “You’re really wonderful,” “I love you,” and “I’m so proud of you.” Not hearing these words of praise and, instead, telling ourselves the opposite, makes us anxious. But you know what? You can tell yourself what you really need to hear right now! You don’t have to wait for other people to tell you you’re great. Tell yourself. Often. Speak to yourself like you would speak to a best friend.
9. Write down your thoughts
There’s nothing like pouring out your anxious thoughts onto the page. This is a wonderful way to unload your mind and also start to analyze the kinds of thoughts you are thinking. For instance, let’s say you’re really anxious about getting your work done and you’re so afraid you won’t make it in time for the deadline. When you write this in your journal, you can see your thought with some distance. You can put it in perspective and see that, actually, it’s not the end of the world if you miss the deadline. No matter what happens, you’d deal with the consequences and you will be okay.
I also like to ask myself a couple probing questions such as:
1 Is this a situation I have no control over?
2. What evidence do I have to feel this way?
3. Am I in danger?
4. What is the story that I’m creating?
10. Practice deep breathing
For many of us anxiety is caused by future expectations. When I sit back and reflect on my anxious thoughts, they are caused by made up scenarios that will probably never happen. When I feel anxious, I ground myself. I meditate, take a couple deep breaths, and remind myself to be present. Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain. Therefore, this helps you to remove chaotic thoughts from your mind and replace them with a sense of calm and positivity.
Interested in working with Georgie?
Georgie works with the Anxiety Reset Method to help determined women find freedom from fear and anxiety, live in alignment and take back control of their lives. The Anxiety Reset Method is a holistic approach unlike any other, considering the thoughts you think, the health of your gut, your hormones, your genes, your nutritional status and your lifestyle. The next round of Reset Your Anxious Mind In 90 Days, the online program, begins October 28th, 2019. Find more details here: http://georgiecollinson.com/anxiety-reset-program/