With everything going on, it’s easy to feel anxious and stressed. These feelings are a physiological response in your body to a supposed threat or distressful stimulus. It is a natural response that can easily become all-consuming.
Luckily, there are some simple tools you can employ to ease your nervous system out of panic ✨
Meditation is a tool I will most likely include in all volumes of “Resetting the Mind”. Meditation and breath work help to calm your sympathetic nervous system from firing.
I’ve included three breathing exercises you can practice:
1. Place one hand on your heart and one on your stomach. Inhale for 4-5 seconds. Hold your breath at the top for 3 and then exhale it all out for 5. Try this for at least a minute. Ideally, for 5-10 minutes. When getting distracted come back to the counting. Another tool to stay present is keeping aware of how your hands feel on your body, rising and falling with your breath.
2. When you feel anxiety creeping up, picture it as a wave. Feel the slow build, understand there is a peak, but remember there is always the fall. As you feel each step picture yourself as if you are riding that wave, or surfing it, and what it will feel like at the end when the water is calm again.
Knowing these bold feelings will pass is helpful in substance abuse, trauma, anxiety, self-harm, and more. Try it out!
3. If meditation is something you’re familiar with, this exercise may be for you. Sit down comfortably for 5-10 minutes at least and practice mindful meditation. With every inhale state a positive affirmation. For anxiety, I’ll offer “I am safe” or “I am courageous”. With every exhale, let go of some of the negative hold and feel the release.
With every exercise, be as nonjudgmental with your passing thoughts as you can. It’s normal to get distracted! Note your thoughts as they are, just thoughts. Then set them aside and continue with your grounding tools.
Make Your Own Stress Ball
If you’re feeling anxious or just want an at home craft to do! Get some tinfoil and roll it into a ball. Have some rubber bands on hand, colorful ones preferred 🌈. Gradually wrap the tinfoil until you reach the desired size and you have your own stress ball. The process can be therapeutic and fun.
You can have some affirmations on hand to speak while making it, make one while watching tv, or speak to someone about how you’re feeling while in the process (this can make speaking about your feelings a little easier).
Another always helpful tool is getting out and walking. Exercising of any kind raises your endorphins, which are your body’s natural opiates.
On top of the chemical reactions to getting up and getting moving, a walk can be a mindful and relaxing process as well. Try walking while taking in your surroundings non judgmentally. Breathe and take note of your present surroundings, the breeze around you, and the feeling of your feet grounded to the sidewalk or grass.
You’re Not Alone
You. Are. Not. Alone.
We are all navigating a new reality that is taking a toll on our mental health. Lean on those who you can trust and have conversations with others. I think you’d be surprised how many people feel similar!