I’m an anxious person by nature, so I stress about nearly everything. The past few weeks I’ve been feeling overwhelmed from work, upcoming events and a lengthy to-do list. Fortunately, over the years I’ve learned strategies to help alleviate my anxiety when I’m put under pressure. Here’s 10 ways that help me find a sense of calm.
“For someone with anxiety, it sometimes feels like their mind is like a hamster on a wheel — constantly running, but not really getting anywhere.”
It’s scary how much that quote resonates with my life. Introducing meditation to my daily routine has helped stop me from over-attending to my thoughts and feelings, and kept me grounded.
Colouring, and even painting, is a form of alternative therapy for your mind. Adult colouring books are all the rage right now, and have even outsold cookery books in France. It’s so easy to become engrossed and it forces the mind to focus on the present.
Also, here’s some free adult colouring therapy printables.
Valerian tea has proved quite effective to help alleviate stress and anxiety, particularly at night. It works by increasing the amount of GABA, or gamma aminobutyric acid, in the brain, which helps regulate the activity of nerve cells, thereby relieving anxiety. It doesn’t taste too pleasant on it’s own, so it’s usually combined with another herb. This Lemon Valerian Tea is my favourite, and the lemon also contributes to the calming effect.
Other herbal teas I would recommend are Passion Flower. It works well at relieving anxiety and also promoting sleep, so one cup of tea before bed should be enough to help calm the nerves.
A comforting ambiance
I’m most anxious when I’m around clutter. I just can’t deal with looking around and everything is just everywhere, but that’s just me. Find what works for you. My ideal situation: candles (with autumnal-inspired scents, of course), a cup of tea, cozy knits, fresh flowers, organised stationary and a good playlist.
Mobile apps have come such a long way, and they can be an extremely effective tool to help manage anxiety. None of these should substitute for a doctors care, but they may help with day-to-day stress. They’re especially great when you’re not at home, and possibly dealing with anxiety at an airport, plane, public transport, etc. A couple favourites include Flowy, which is a game designed to combat panic attacks, anxiety and hyperventilation, and Headspace, which provides short guided meditations depending on your mood.
Write everything down
If it’s possible, tackle the reasons causing you to feel stressed or anxious. I prefer to do this in form of a to-do list, but you could also write it all down in a journal. Every time I have a worrying thought of something I need to do, instead of letting it play on my mind, I write it down throughout the day (no matter how minute). It’s been a therapeutic tool for me ever since high school, by clarifying my thoughts and helping me feel at least a little accomplished at the end of the day. Now, since working from home, I think it’s more important than ever. It also helps writing down your thoughts or to-do list the night before for a more restful sleep.
Atmosphere can play a huge role when it comes to anxiety. I mean, does anyone else feel immediately calmer at the thought of being a rainy cafe? the beach at dusk? the thought of being drowned in kittens? (or is that one just me..?)
Natural flower essence
I’ve used Rescue Remedy ever since my high school days, and although some may argue it’s due to a placebo effect, it did help me deal with daily stress and anxiety. It’s made from flower essences which are a foundation of energy medicine that aim to harmonize through emotional and spiritual well-being. Take 4 drops in a small glass of water, or directly on/under the tongue in the morning.
Create a ‘Happy Place’
Your happy place refers to a state of mind, a tranquil place you can visualize that calms you. It helps a lot when you’re feeling anxious and trying to sleep. Just close your eyes, and picture every single detail. My happy place is traveling. I picture and live through every moment from getting on a plane, being on a plane, arriving at the airport, exploring, etc. It always manages to make me feel at peace and distract me from negative thoughts.
Get stuck in a book
Pretty self explanatory, but a good novel allows you to escape from the real world. It’s a great way to relax and reduce stress levels, especially if it’s a really thrilling book.
I’d love to hear, how do you relieve anxiety?