3 Things You Can Do Right Now To Feel Less Anxious
A holistic psychiatrist’s quick tips that take only a few minutes each day.
According to the American Psychological Association seventy-five percent of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the past month and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year. As this stress builds up so does our anxiety. What can we do about it? How can we feel more healthy and relaxed? Here are some quick tips you can do anywhere. Incorporating them for even minutes in your daily routine will make a big difference.
1. Connect With Your Body
So often when we are feeling anxious we are disconnected from our body and the grounding it brings, without even realizing it. Our bodies naturally ground us to the earth and to ourselves, while getting lost in thoughts and worries seems to lift us up out of our bodies, away from the parts of ourselves that feel more solid.
Start with noticing your breath. Consciously take in a few deep breaths, filling up your belly and filling up your lungs, then holding it there for a few seconds before breathing out. Try putting a hand on your belly to feel it move up and down with the breath. Notice how you begin to feel more grounded as you connect to your breath.
Find regular ways to not only connect with your breath, but to feel your body and have a body awareness. Start with playing your favorite dance song and letting yourself sway your hips and move the way your body wants to move. Try to get your heart rate up as the blood pumping brings another level of grounding in your body and calm. Go outside and be in nature. Feel the grounding of the earth on your feet and the beauty of the flowers and the trees. Make it a priority to do these things even for a few minutes each day or as often as you can. Let yourself enjoy it, too, as that allows the endorphins and good feelings to flow.
“The body always leads us home . . . if we can simply learn to trust sensation and stay with it long enough for it to reveal appropriate action, movement, insight, or feeling.” — Pat Ogden
2. Become Aware Of Your Thoughts
Notice when they start to take off in the direction of anxiety and worry. Do you wake up feeling anxious or have anxious thoughts? Create a grounding thought or mantra for yourself to counteract the negative train of thoughts. It can be something as easy as “I am grounded.” or “I love myself.” While these thoughts may seem simple, they can have powerful effects. It is important to use a phrase that has meaning, that you can at least begin to believe for yourself. Post it on a sticky note on your bathroom mirror or places you will easily see it to remind yourself of how you can switch into a calmer mindset.
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, nor to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” — Buddha
3. Prioritize Your Time
Ask yourself the difficult question of what would you do if you knew you only had a month to live. How would you live your life? What is most important to you? If that question feels too hard, ask yourself if there was only one thing that could happen today, what would it be? Consider if you only had one hour what would you do? What would bring you the most pleasure or rejuvenation today, and then make that a priority. We get so bogged down in the small details of life that it is easy to get carried away on tasks and things that have no meaning for us or are not productive.
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” — Stephen Covey
Sometimes life throws us stressful situations as a way to awaken to life. A friend was recently hit by a car and was forced to slow everything down, to re-prioritize her life. Hopefully you will not have to go to that extreme, but it is important to recognize that your worry or sadness may be letting you know that the way you are living your life needs an adjustment. Do you need to slow down? Do you need more time for yourself or your health? What is important for you?
Ask yourself these questions and listen as you would to a close friend or child. You are important and what you find out from these questions can lead to living a calmer and richer, more connected life.
Maureen Magauran, M.D., is a board certified physician specializing in holistic psychiatry and meditation, who is highly sought after for her unique, holistic approach to treating anxiety and depression. Through her one-on-one work she helps moms of young children overcome stress and anxiety to feel more joy. Contact her at (978) 464-6494 or visit www.maureenmagauran.com.