Anxiety is defined by The American Psychological Association as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.”
Everyone feels anxiety at some point in their lives. Luckily there are a few tried and true methods to help lessen the anxiety you feel right now.
1. Stay in the present. Staying in the present is crucial when feeling anxious. Our anxiety often arises from uncertainties that the future may bring. When we practice staying in the present we teach ourselves that moment we need to be in is now.
Here are a few sample questions to ask yourself to stay in the present:
- What are 3 objects I can see right now that are heavy?
- What are 3 things that I can smell right now?
- What are 3 things I can reach out and touch right now?
- What are 3 things I can hear right now?
2. Focus on your breathing. Feeling anxious invokes our “fight or flight” response. Our body is tricked into thinking we are in real, physical danger. As a result, our breathing can become irregular and our heart beat quickens. By focusing on our breathing we can help to calm our bodies down.
To focus on your breath follow these steps:
- Find a comfortable position.
- Place your hands on your stomach.
- Breathe in deeply through your nose until your lungs are full, focusing on filling up your belly, rather than your chest, with air.
- Hold for a few seconds.
- Slowly exhale your breath through your mouth.
- Focus on the sensation of your hands rising and falling on your stomach.
- Repeat until body begins to relax.
3. Exercise. Exercising releases endorphins, our “feel good” hormones that can help combat anxiety. However, you do not need to head to the gym for this. The American Psychological Association states that taking a short walk can be incredibly effective in combating feelings of anxiety.
For more on anxiety and ways to cope, please contact us at Stonebriar Counseling Associates.