Have you been feeling more anxious and nervous lately?
You’re not alone.
2021 has been challenging for us all – mentally, emotionally and even physically. In the midst of trying to cope with the current landscape, we’ve discovered some helpful ways to ease those nervous jitters and bring more peace to our lives!
Keep yourself active
A great way to keep anxiety at bay is to stay active! Whether it’s a run, swim, Yoga or Pilates, being active releases feel-good endorphins that can enhance your overall sense of well-being.
If you haven’t been exercising lately, there’s no better time than now to kickstart a routine and get away from the cycle of negative thoughts!
Make time for a nice hot cup of tea
If you’ve been having trouble falling asleep, your body could be producing higher levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) and creating that feeling of stress.
Catch some quality ZZZ’s by reaching out for a nice warm drink before bedtime. We highly recommend chamomile or lavender tea as they have a calming effect.
A small 2016 study in the journal Phytomedicine found that long-term chamomile use “significantly” reduces moderate-to-severe symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. Compounds in lavender also work to mimic the role of neurotransmitters, helping to decrease stress levels and reduce anxiety.
So the next time you’re feeling anxious, why not let that cuppa tea work wonders for you?
Research has shown that mindfulness helps to reduce anxiety. What it does is teach us how to respond to stress with an awareness of what is happening in the present, rather than simply acting instinctively, while being unaware of the emotions that may be driving that decision or feeling.
Focus on the present moment by taking slow, long, deep breaths and engaging with your senses in the following grounding technique.
- What are 5 things you can see around you?
- What are 4 things you can touch around you?
- What are 3 things you can hear?
- What are 2 things you can smell?
- What is 1 thing you can taste?
By taking the time to slow down and be fully present in the moment, you can return to a calmer state.
Experience a Sound Bath
When you feel that rush of nervousness wash over you, it could be a good idea to immerse yourself in a Sound Bath session!
By using vibrations, the Sound Bath would promote a heightened state of relaxation. Research has shown that listening to the pleasing sounds have been strongly associated with lowering anxiety and entering a state of relaxation.
Reduce or cut out caffeine & alcohol
Excessive consumption of alcohol can worsen anxiety as it changes the level of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain. Also, it affects your sleep and hinders your ability to respond to stress in healthy ways.
According to a 2008 study, caffeine increases alertness by blocking adenosine. Hence, making you feel less tired while triggering the release of adrenaline. If consumed excessively, it can lead to caffeine-induced anxiety.
Have fun with cuddly animals
Notice how you always immediately feel happier once you see or interact with a cute animal?
This is the result of having your cortisol levels lowered.
Many universities have a “Pet Your Stress Away” program which allows students to interact with cats and dogs for 10 minutes. It has been found that there was a significant reduction in cortisol for those who spent time with their furry friends.
Practice breathing techniques
People who are anxious tend to take rapid, shallow breaths and are often unaware of their breathing. This can cause an upset in the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the body, hence resulting in increased heart rate, dizziness, muscle tension, etc.
This may signal a stress response that contributes to anxiety.
A good breathing exercise that can help you relax is the 4-7-8 breathing technique.
- With your lips parted, make a “whoosh” sound to exhale completely through your mouth
- Next, close your lips and inhale through your nose while counting to 4 in your head
- Hold your breath for 7 seconds
- After that, make another “whoosh” exhale from your mouth for 8 seconds
By taking the time to learn breathing techniques and actually practicing them, you’ll help your mind and body reach a calmer state.
So tell us, which of these coping methods will you adopt in your day-to-day life?
This article first appeared on Jal Yoga.
Jal Yoga is a yoga studio that strives to build a community of like-minded people searching for a better and healthier life.
Our name “Jal” means water in Hindi. Water is formless and seamless, with the ability to adapt to any form. Regardless of your age, body shape and fitness background, you (anyone, really!) can practice Yoga, Pilates and Barre – and get more out of life.