Updated: Mar 16
When stress is not managed, anxiety is heightened. We see obvious signs of this as people fight over toilet paper and hoard bottles of hand sanitizer, but anxiety is not always glaring. Although you are not putting someone in a headlock at the grocery store, you could still be feeling overwhelmed.
On average (without a pandemic on our hands) anxiety affects about 40 million American adults a year. Therefore, it is very likely that you or someone you love is dealing with this condition. Are you aware of how the body and behaviors change when anxiety is present? If not, you may find 1 or 2 of your tendencies listed in the link below:
Whether you suffer from anxiety occasionally or frequently, we all need to know
how to remain centered or regain our composure. Consistently putting these 7 effective tips into practice will certainly help.
#1 LIMIT MEDIA CONSUMPTION
Being informed does not mean you have to be updated 24/7 about what’s going wrong in the world. Limit your amount of news and social media consumption, and know when to disconnect - especially an hour or two before going to bed.
#2 START YOUR DAY RIGHT
Make the first moments of your day sacred. What you think about and do within the first twenty to thirty minutes of waking up will chart the trajectory of your day positively or negatively. Read or listen to something uplifting. Pray and say an affirmation. Make a mental note of at least five things you are grateful for or jot them down in a journal.
Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! Sipping water throughout the day will improve both your cognition and mood.
#4 TAKE REGULAR PAUSES
To develop a higher level of wellness, take regular pauses throughout the day just to check-in with yourself.
This How Ya feeling? Chart can help you get started.
It serves as an excellent visual for you to intentionally acknowledge your emotional status. Once you have used the chart to identify how you are feeling, think about why you are feeling that way. Then self-regulate if needed by redirecting your thoughts on your blessings and what is within your control.
#5 PRACTICE SCIENCE-BASED BREATHING TECHNIQUES
When you catch yourself exhibiting anxious behavior, take a break and practice a science-based breathing technique. An easy one to remember is called 1 to 2: inhale deeply through your nostrils for a few seconds then exhale through your nostrils for double the amount of seconds you took to inhale. (For example: Inhale through your nose for 3 seconds. Then exhale through your nose for 6 seconds.) This easy exercise will quickly help you shift the stress response of your nervous system to a more relaxed state.
#6 RECLAIM A SENSE OF SECURITY
There is a lot of uncertainty right now, and when we don't know what to expect we begin to feel less secure. Despite what is going on in the world, you can reclaim a sense of security in your home and life by following a schedule and establishing a daily routine.
#7 GET GROUNDED
Get grounded by calmly stimulating your senses. Instead of taking a quick shower, enjoy a relaxing bath. Savor the aromas of lavender, citrus, or mint. Drink a warm cup of chamomile tea while watching the sunset.
Anxiety can be more dangerous than even the Coronavirus. While it is wise to take precautions, it is never healthy to panic and lose control over your emotions. Despite our situations, we can all face anxiety courageously and rise above it with hope.
Felicia Matthew, MA, LPC