In today’s world, the pressure is on. Everyone can feel anxious and stressed at times. But what happens when your anxiety sticks around and doesn’t want to leave? Often times, anxiety can take over your thoughts and feelings in a way that impedes your thinking brain. With that being said, it is time to take matters into our own hands! These 4 tips on how to reduce your anxiety can help alleviate those negative thoughts and sensations, and may help reduce anxiety before it takes over!
Experts agree! Vigorous exercise is shown to get the blood pumping through your veins AND brain. It can reduce stress and enhance overall cognitive functioning. Recent research has shown that a regular exercise routine, in some cases, can work better than some medications in reducing anxiety. Try doing 10 jumping jacks, dancing in place, some push ups, climbing a set of stairs, or even a good run. It is one of the most effective ways on how to reduce anxiety in the moment when your thinking brain has been hijacked by your feeling brain. The good thing about regular exercise is that it also has many positive side effects as well!
Slow Breathing (exhale is even slower than the inhale)
Slow breathing techniques are another way you can reduce anxiety. When doing slow breathing, your body communicates to other unruly parts that are not cooperating. For instance, if you are feeling anxious at a particular moment, you might find that your shoulders are high and you are holding a lot of tension there. Slow breathing can help the body relax and the mind center. Researchers say to practice this type of breathing technique to kick anxiety to the curb. If practiced regularly, this can help you in any stressful situation.
- Step 1 – Close your mouth and breath in through your nose to the count of 3, stretching out your abdomen to provide more room for your lungs to expand.
- Step 2 – Release the breath out slowly with “pursed” lips like you are blowing out a candle. Exhale through your mouth slowly to the count of 4. During this time of breathing out, check in with other parts of your body for tension, such as your shoulders, face or hands. If you feel tension in your shoulders, let them down to relax. If your hands are tight fists, release and open them up. Relax your facial muscles while breathing outward.
- Practice and repeat these simple steps to help you reduce anxiety.
As we examine these quick strategies on how to reduce anxiety, another example of how to cope with anxiety is “self talk”. In other words, be your best friend within. What advice would you give a friend who was feeling anxious? Use this technique to talk to yourself in the same way you would a good friend or a loved one. This inner voice is so important to help shut down those negative thoughts that feed into anxiety and stress.
Here are some statements you can say to yourself to help you reduce your anxiety;
- “I am doing the best I can, I am proud of myself”
- “I have done this before, so I know I can do it again”
- “Right now, I am having feelings I don’t like, I know they will pass soon so I am going to do some slow breathing exercises to let this pass through quickly.”
Dipping/splashing your face in cold water
What is the “Mammalian Diving Response” and what does it have to do with how you can reduce your anxiety? Researchers have shown that when mammals submerge themselves in cold water, it slows down their heart rate and preserves oxygen in their blood. Since humans are mammals too, this would apply to our species as well. So dip or splash cold water on your face! This will trigger a type of physiological response can help you switch gears instantly and help your brain. Your mind will now pay more attention to why there is cold water on your face and not so much on your racing thoughts, tight-fisted hands or tension in your shoulders.
Anxiety can be overwhelming at times. It can cause us to worry too much or can even lead our brains down a path of panic and physiological discomfort. If ignored, over time anxiety can get worse or become more debilitating. So keep in mind these 4 tips to help you reduce anxiety. Executing some of these ways to reduce anxiety can additionally help you understand your thoughts and emotions. If you feel that you are struggling and need more support to help you reduce anxiety, you can always reach out to a professional therapist. They can help you learn more techniques and tips to reduce your anxiety and stress.
Learn more about our services for anxiety
Brave Minds Psychological Services helps children, teens and families overcome severe anxiety, stress, and painful experiences. We specialize in developing brave minded youth that can move forward despite fears and significant challenges.