During these uncertain and always changing times, it’s really important to have quick stress-reducing strategies to help us work through our emotions. Establishing and practicing healthy habits to help us manage our stress and emotions will help us to avoid using less healthy ways of coping with hard feelings, such as overeating, drinking, or lashing out at people. Here are five suggestions to help put your mind back at ease.
- Music Medicine- find a type of music or sound you like that is calming. It could be the sound of waves crashing in the ocean or smooth jazz music. Create a playlist of these noises/songs that you can easily turn on whenever the need strikes.
- Cool Off- this may sound weird and isn’t available in every situation but dipping your face in a bowl of ice cold water for 15-30 seconds will help to slow your heart rate and in turn make you feel more relaxed when anxiety is high
- Pace Your Breathing- Slow down your breathing. It’s basic and easy to do no matter where you are. All it takes is purposefully slowing down your breathing and maintaining control of the slow breaths. Try breathing in for 3 seconds, holding for 4 seconds, and breathing out for 5 seconds.
- Practice ‘Anchoring’- For this exercise, take your feet and firmly dig them into the ground, planting them wherever you are sitting or standing. This will evoke a feeling of being present. Then take a minute to observe: what are you thinking? How are you feeling? And then decide if what you’re thinking and doing in this moment is helpful or if it is related to future worries or a past problem.
- Hyperventilate- this final exercise can be a tough one. This practice is meant to be done when your anxiety is at a manageable level to help prepare you for how to respond when your anxiety is high. To do this, you want find a calm moment in your day and purposely evoke the physical sensations that come when you have anxiety- fast breathing, racing heart feeling, muscle tension, etc and then work through them so that when they come up again, you feel more adept at handling them and more confident in how to get them under control