I’ve never been the anxious type for my automatic response is usually to Bless It and the Release It…as I believe many things are so out of my control. The things that are in my control I first break into many, many small pieces and with each analytical thought melt them away into a solution strategy.
Yet anxiety for many is a worry loop in there head that heckles them as they lie in bed waiting for sleep. Or it’s the crazy-intense jitters that hit right before you’re slated to give a work presentation. Or the way your palms sweat and your stomach lurches when you find yourself at a social event without anyone to chat with.
Most everyone experiences anxiety, which psychologists say is just our own perception of worry and stress. No matter what the anxiety stems from or how it manifests, anxious feelings tend to snowball. So it’s always helpful to have a few tricks up your sleeve to get yourself out of panic mode before it gets too intense.
So here’s ten sure shot Anxiety Breaker Solutions.
When anxiety activates your fight-or-flight response, you know it; you heart rate accelerates, and you become shaky and flushed. The best way to counteract those panicky feelings is to slow your breathing.
This deep belly breathing that has practiced way back in the sixth century my monks on Mount Sinai as part of their prayer routine has an amazing physical benefit. This breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, which runs from your brain to your gut and plays a pivotal role in calming your nervous system. Here’s how: breathe slowly and deeply, all the way down to your belly button, for up to four counts if possible. Then hold it for two counts and exhale: 4-3-2-1. Repeat the pattern for a few minutes. Its results are remarkable.
BREAK INTO PIECES- SLOW TRANSACTION DOWN
My favorite solution…break the activity into smaller pieces or shorter lengths of time. Test anxiety? Instead of a four-hour marathon study session in the days before, work for 10 minutes at a time spread out over a few weeks. It all in the planning and preparation that the presentation of our work finds outstanding results.
You crave that morning cup of coffee… that’s ok …But going back for another or multiple refills at your office coffee machine is not a great idea for managing anxiety. If you’re anxious, caffeine can be a real anxiety accelerant. Caffeine has a dose-dependent effect on mood. A little can perk you up—and too much can leave you anxious and irritable. Plus, some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others. Stick to one cup a day, maybe two, and watch how it impacts your body.
MIND- BODY SELF INVENTORY
People tend to worry about things that have not happened yet, like when you’re prepping to speak at a work conference yet the actual event doesn’t start for another hour. Focusing too much on future events can work you into an unnecessary panic.
Instead of allowing your mind to race to the future, try focusing on what’s happening right now, Do this by training your brain to focus on your five senses. Ask yourself, what do you hear in the room, what do see in front of you? You’re not standing before the microphone; you’re just working on your PowerPoint slides. That five-senses exercise can thrust you back into the moment and bring that physical piece down a notch.
The brain chemical dopamine gets activated when we are anxious, and that motivates us to take action to avoid a perceived threat. Instead of letting those anxious feelings swell up, channel that energy. Excuse yourself to the restroom to slap some water on your face, or just take a 10-minute walk outside or to another part of the building. Doing something that gets you away from the situation you are in will re-center your energy.
Instead of ruminating over a troubling thought, write it down in a text message you send yourself. If we can actually get it out of our head, it helps slow down the fast spinning wheels in our head. When it’s actually time to revisit the issue, you’re often in a better place mentally to process how you’re going to problem solve.
TRANSFORM ENERGY FLOW & FOCUS…EXERCISE IT AWAY
Exercise can be a great way to burn off stress that leads to anxious feelings. Working out boosts levels of endorphins and other mood-boosting brain chemicals, and it helps with sleep. Aerobic exercise also stimulates production of a protein called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor).
BDNF is like a brain fertilizer that bathes our neurons and makes our connections better and faster. Remember a well-functioning brain is better equipped to understand, manage, and moderate emotions.
Progressive muscle relaxation is one of several mind-body techniques designed to slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure, which wipes out anxiety. Here’s how to do it: Starting at your toes and ending at your head, or vice versa, tense each muscle group in your body one at a time, and then relax those muscles. That is so you can feel the tension and then feel yourself letting go….with practice it works very well
Plenty of people drink alcohol to unwind and relax at the end of the day. But do so in moderation. If you’re going to drink, less is more because too much of it can really give you an anxiety rebound. Plus, an evening of tossing them down can mess with your sleep, and quality sleep is even more essential to brain function that balanced those anxious impulses.
QUALITY TIME WITH YOUR PET
Who is the least judgmental member of the family, the one who loves and comforts you when the world is coming down all around you ? Your fur ball pal, of course. Studies show human-animal interaction reduces self-reported anxiety and decreases heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
That connection with another being can just be extraordinary for someone who’s experiencing anxiety, in particular for those who feel more socially anxious.
PUT ANXIETY IN IT”S PLACE
So now it’s up to you to discover which one or ones work best for you …this become your Solution Strategy Therapeutic Matrix ….tools in your toolbox that with practice will empower you to stop Anxiety from impacting your life