In today’s chaotic and uncertain world, people are bound to feel stressed and overwhelmed due to the heavy list of tasks. There are even some who mishandle their emotions when they are in need of help. Luckily, many are more conscious of mental health issues and are doing what they can to limit stress.
Here are therapist-approved routines to relieve stress and calm anxiety down:
- Schedule Mental Free Time
When you are busy with tasks that need to be done, one of the things you can do is to give yourself free time to process your thoughts. In between the tasks that demand your attention, make a habit of scheduling just five minutes of mental free time. Just like you would organize a meeting your calendar or phone, organize this moment in time to think about whatever you want. You can think about things that relaxes you or developing your creativity.
2. Complete the 5-4-3-2-1 Activity
One of the practices that you can do when you are overwhelmed is the 5-4-3-2-1 mental technique. First, step away from the cause of your stress whether it may be your laptop or phone. Take a deep breath, then mention five things you can see around you. This can be done mentally or say it out loud. Second, touch and list down the four things you can touch. Fourth, list the two things that you can smell. Finally, notice one thing that you can taste.
These methods are just an example, but you can customize it according to what works for you. It all depends on how deep you want to practice this exercise whether you just want to list the items or describe the item itself. By doing these exercises, you sensitize yourself to the world around you in order to be more present with the moment.
3. Do a Mini-Workout
Other than using the 5-4-3-2-1 technique, doing a mini-workout can also snap you out of your emotions to focus. You can choose amongst different activities that provide a burst of activity to force you to focus on the task at hand. The variety of tasks vary from a high energy cardio session to blow off some steam after a long day of hard work, or even just five minutes of exercise that can help you re-focus. If you are exhausted and frustrated after a long meeting, a wall sit, planking for a few moments, lifting heavy objects for a few reps or a yoga flow can reduce your anxiety.
4. Try Breathing Exercises
Breathing seems like a simple activity to do, when in truth it can help you set pace to your heartbeat and therefore creating a feeling of serenity in times of stress. There are two recommended ways to use breathing as an anxiety-reducing practice. The first method is the box breathing, in which you breathe in and count to four, hold for four seconds, exhale for four seconds and hold it again for four seconds. Repeat all this for few moments, then watch as your heart rate slows down and your mind clears itself.
Or else, creative souls can try color breathing. Here is how it works: use your imagination to breathe in calm, joyful colors and exhale distressing colors. Imagine the colors as vividly as you can to create a more powerful effect.
5. Feel your Feet
Another tip to relieve your anxiety is to focus your mind towards your feet. When you can feel the signs of an anxiety attack coming in, ask yourself “where are my feet right now?”. Look down at your feet, wiggle your toes and feel it moving around in your sock. Acknowledge the fact that your feet are safe at the current moment, therefore you are safe as well. Make a habit of this exercise and you will feel more at peace whenever you panic.
6. Tense and Release
The ‘Tense and Release’ routine is also another anxiety-reducing practice you can try. Start by tightening your muscles. Pay attention as you create tension in your head, starting from your face, jaw, eyes, your neck. Afterwards, tense up your shoulders, your chest muscles, your stomach, your biceps and fists. Move towards your butt muscles, your thighs, your calves, your ankles, your feet and your toes. Keep your muscles tight and tense as much as you can. Do this for a full 60 seconds, then release. This ‘Tense and Release’ routine will help your body reduce anxiety symptoms as you will feel calm and relaxed after tightening your muscles.
Which activity seems the most effective of reducing stress and anxiety? Have you tried other methods? Tell us your opinion and experience in the comments section below!