10 Easy Ways to Reduce Anxiety
1. Meditation -
This one is my favorite if you are feeling super-anxious and you aren't at home. All you need is a pair of headphones, your cell phone, and a place you can sit down. A relaxing and peaceful setting is ideal, but I've even had decent results on a seat in a crowded train in New York.
Headspace is probably my favorite app for meditation. I like this one because they track your progress and have plenty of free options on the app with guided meditations as short as one minute.
2. Yoga / Tai Chi
I'm sure that to an extent all exercise relieves anxiety, but for me I've found that yoga and tai chi are the most relaxing.
There are a ton of short yoga and tai chi classes available online. I currently use Grokker to stream pre-recorded classes from anywhere from five minutes to 90 minutes. You can also easily find classes on Youtube or pay for a live stream yoga class from a studio closed for quarantine.
3. Lavender essential oil -
I hate how essential oils have become associated with pyramid schemes. Yes, Young Living and DoTERRA are terrible companies that you should avoid. That does not mean that all essential oils are the same as snake oil.
Researchers at the Kagoshima University in Japan have found out that the smell of linalool (a fragrant alcohol found in lavender extracts) can help mice relax when they smell it.
You won't cure an anxiety disorder with a few drops of lavender oil, but using lavender in an oil diffuser is a super helpful way to wind down and relax when you're feeling stressed out.
I've also found that using lavender spray on your mask before wearing it can make your grocery store trip just a bit less stressful.
4. Epsom salt bath
This is one of my favorite ways to relax. Just pour two cups of Epsom salt into a nice hot bath and enjoy :)
Not just will a nice hot soak reduce your anxiety, but the Epsom salt will help relax any tight muscles.
There is something so absolutely relaxing about focusing on a simple art or craft project with easy instructions.
I think this is why paint and sip classes are so popular. Sometimes it's nice to be able to use your hands to create without having to think about it too much.
I personally like using paint by number kits or simple craft kits, but if you prefer something with less clean up you can also try out an adult coloring book.
6. Read for 30 minutes
The amount of time suggested here is super arbitrary, but giving yourself a block of time to read is a great way to incorporate it into a busy day.
Reading is also a great way to shift your focus from what you perceive to be a problem or stressful to the story you're reading.
7. Go for a walk or run
This is probably the best advice here. I've definitely deescalated some anxiety attacks by taking an hour long walk or a short run. It's a simple and effective way to boost your mood with the extra endorphins.
8. Keep a daily journal
There's something extremely cathartic about writing out all of the things that are bothering you or causing you anxiety. It doesn't just get those feelings off your chest, it lets you see the problem your facing in a new light. Often this helps you realize that the problem isn't really that big of a problem.
I don't like the concept of using gratitude journals as stress-relief as much. In my experience only focusing on the positives feels more like hiding your problems under the rug.
So grab a journal and write down the good, the bad, and the ugly.
9. Plan ahead and break down your days into small and simple tasks
I'm still not the greatest with planning out my days in advance, but when I do it's extremely helpful.
There's nothing worse for your anxiety than knowing that you have thirty things to do by the end of the week. If you plan out how you are going to spend each day and choose small and easy to accomplish goals for each day you'll have less to stress over.
I've personally found the Tempus planner super helpful for this. It helps you sort out your top three tasks for the day and list out the action steps needed.
10. Enjoy a nice cup of herbal tea
I find that this one is my go-to when I'm feeling anxious when I know I need to get some sleep. My preferred choice is mint, but chamomile is also an excellent one.
There's just something nice and cozy about sipping on a hot mug of tea. Add in some light reading for a perfect night. :)
I also find that adding a few drops of hemp / CBD oil is super helpful if I'm stressed before bed too. It personally makes me fall asleep a lot easier. My favorite brand of hemp oil is Mary Ruth Organic's 5000mg pure hemp oil.
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