In today’s world of social media, it seems like everyone is constantly on holiday and has the perfect body, relationship, home and job. It can be very easy to get caught up and think that your own life pales in comparison. In reality though, everyone (and I mean everyone) has bad days – days when it seems like your to-do list is 10 times too long, when things at work or home seem too demanding to handle, and when you just feel badly about yourself in one way or another. All this can often lead to feelings of anxiety, which can surface as intense feelings of worry, nervousness, unease, or even panic. I haven’t been diagnosed with anxiety in any medical capacity, but I certainly suffer from regular bouts of severe worry, jitters and often feeling irrationally anxious. It usually lists a few days, and no matter what my husband or family say, it just doesn’t help. Little things feel like huge things, my confidence wavers, and I’m overwhelmed and intimidated by things that normally, wouldn’t phase me in the slightest. Anxiety is a common feeling that many people face, and while some may need medication to help them (always speak with your doctor), there are things that you can do today to help ease some of these feelings if you find yourself having a moment of anxiety.
1. Breathe. It sounds cliché, but it works. Focusing on your breath (literally concentrating on the sensation of air entering and leaving your nostrils) for as little as 2 minutes has been proven to slow your heart rate, and is great for bringing you back into the present moment if you find yourself in a mental spin.
2. Talk/cry/laugh it out. Take 10 minutes to call your bestie, vent to your boyfriend, or even seek out a therapist. Talking out your problems and having someone to lean on can instantly make you feel better and less alone. If you have to, cry it out. Studies show that crying washes certain chemicals out of the body that are linked to stress, which is why we often feel much better after a good cry. Or do the polar opposite – laugh it out. Laughter releases all kinds of feel-good chemicals, aids muscle relaxation and even stimulates circulation. So get searching Will Ferrell on Netflix (oh and if you really want to knock those jitters on the head, I find a glass of red – ideally Malbec – goes really well with laughing til tears are streaming down your face!).
3. Get outside. It sounds like something your grandmother would tell you, but get some fresh air. If you’re at work, instead of taking your break at your desk, go for a walk around the block or even sit on a bench outside for 15 minutes. Look at the trees, the clouds – anything besides your phone or computer. It can be so grounding and calming.
4. Move. Similar to the above point, it’s so important to move your body and change your physical surroundings. Go for a walk, run, to yoga, spin, or whatever class you enjoy that gets your blood pumping. This is by far my favorite cure for anxiety, and I always feel better after a good sweat. It releases endorphins and moves you out of your head and back into your physical body.
5. Listen to your body Lots of things can lead to a buildup of anxiety, including a lack of sleep, too much sugar/coffee, long stressful hours at work, etc. Focus on self care by recognizing when you might need an extra hour of sleep and giving it to yourself, or making yourself something healthy for dinner. Stress can often present itself physically, so make sure you are paying attention to your body and giving it what it needs, including rest, healthy food, time off, and plenty of water.
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