Anxious? Panicky? Using these anti-anxiety self help techniques can definitely help you melt away stress, anxiety and put panic in its place.
Relaxation techniques are vital to eventually ridding yourself of anxiety and panic attacks. Plus, regularly practicing the fine art of taking it easy strengthens your relaxation response.
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You can start with deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, homeopathy, aromatherapy, yoga, tai chi and mindfulness meditation. Do any, or better yet all, of these techniques regularly to increase feelings of peace of mind and well-being.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
When done regularly, progressive muscle relaxation can help you better recognize and shut down the first signs of stress-related muscular tension. When your body is more relaxed, your mind follows suit.
Here's how this stress-busting technique works.
1. Lay or sit on a comfortable surface. Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
2. Take a few minutes to relax by taking slow, deep breaths.
3. When you’re relaxed shift your attention to the muscles in your face.
4. Slowly tense the muscles in your cheeks, jaw and forehead by squeezing as tightly as you can. Hold for about 3-5 seconds.
5. Slowly relax the muscles in your face. Remember to take slow, deep breaths.
6. Then shift your attention to the muscles in your neck and shoulders. Tense and release these muscles.
7. Now move your attention to the muscles in your arms, stomach, hips, thighs, calves, and feet.
Some experts recommend starting with your feet and working up to your face. I've personally found that both works just fine. But you decide.
Get Up and Get Moving
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your physical and mental well-being. Not only will you tone muscles and burn fat, but you'll also melt away anxiety-producing stress.
Start by taking a walk in the morning or when you get home from work. Get a gym membership, take up yoga, walk the dog. It doesn't matter what you do.
Just pick something and commit to doing it at least 3-5 times a week. By the way, regular exercise helps you sleep better. The more quality sleep you get, the less anxious you'll be.
Speaking of sleep...
Get Your zzzz
Poor sleep feeds the anxiety monster and makes you more vulnerable to anxious thoughts and feelings. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep every night. This is the amount of time your body needs to repair both mentally and physically from stresses of the day.
Don't Worry So Much
Yeah, I know. This is far easier said than done, especially for anxiety sufferers.
The good news is that worrying is a habit that can be broken with practice. You can train your brain to worry less. One way to do this is by challenging negative thoughts.
When a negative thought pops into your mind, challenge it with a positive alternative.
Do this over and over until the negative thought/worry habit is replaced by more positive, balanced thoughts.
Another way to slay the worry monster is to...
Write It All Down
Journaling is a powerful way to release negative and anxious thoughts, feelings and worries. Write down everything that stresses you out. Sometimes writing down your thoughts leads to a solution to your problems. Think of journaling as a kind of private therapy session.
Eat to Improve Your Mood
Eat a nutritious diet, especially one that's rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Try your best to avoid processed, deep fried foods and foods make from white flour like bread, pasta, pastries, desserts. These foods cause dips and spikes in blood sugar which can make anxiety symptoms worse. These anxiety soothing supplements may also help you.
Say No to Smoking, Alcohol, and Caffeine
If you're susceptible to anxiety and panic attacks staying away from cigarettes, alcohol, coffee, and other caffeinated beverages will benefit you greatly.
These substances have a stimulating effect on the body. It's also a good idea to steer clear of over the counter products like diet pills and non-drowsy cold medicines.
Stay Connected With Family and Friends
Anxiety thrives in isolation. So it's super important to maintain strong relationships with those you care about.
You Really Need to Relax: Effective Methods – This PDF, by the University of Michigan Health Center, includes progressive muscle relaxation & relaxation through visual imagery.
I hope this article helps you on your journey to better mental health!
Brighter skies are ahead,