10 Ideas to Combat Anxiety

Do you or a loved one suffer from anxiety?

A lot of people find it difficult to explain or control their anxiety. If you or know someone who has anxiety, you are not alone.

There are a lot of methods that can help to harness your emotions:

  1. Read a good book. Studies have shown that just six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by up to 60%. That’s 68% better than listening to music, 100% better than drinking tea and 300% better than going for a walk. While relaxing with a great book isn’t a cure for anxiety, it can help you feel better while doing something you already love.
  2. Phone a friend. One of the most effective ways to combat anxiety is distraction, so call a good friend or family member and catch up when you’re feeling nervous.  This also has the added benefit of reminding yourself that you are needed and loved.
  3. Take time for yourself. Get a massage, a mani-pedi, or a haircut. Nothing says polished and well-maintained like a sexy, healthy glow.  If money is tight, look for a discount salon or a training school which offers quality services for people on a budget.  Who cares if they don’t serve peppermint tea on a silver tray — close your eyes and imagine that five-star service while you take in the pampering that you deserve – and need.
  4. Cut out caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant and raises your heart beat in addition to making your thoughts hard to control. Do yourself a favor, and ditch the afternoon coffee.
  5. Dance like no one is watching. Dancing is not only great exercise but the endorphins also help you relax. No matter your age, dancing can be a joyful experience.
  6. Head to the playground. One of the happiest times of a person’s life is the carefree days of childhood. Relive your fondest memories by bonding with your kids and head to the playground.  Play on the slides, climb the monkey bars or see how high you can swing. Make lifelong memories with your kids while laughing and remembering what true happiness feels like.
  7. Digitally detox. It’s hard to imagine but you don’t actually need to check your texts as soon as you hear the beep or answer every phone call.  People have survived – and flourished – for hundreds of years without being accessible 24/7.  Create a set time to check social media or answer calls after work hours.  And, remember, it’s never a good idea to check emails right before bed because it’ll start your mind racing and you may not be able to stop yourself from planning the next day and worrying how you’ll be able to accomplish your to-do list.
  8. Try deep breathing. According to Psychology Today, “If you’re not focused on how to calm your body through slow, intentional belly-breathing, you’re missing out. Belly-breathing is free, location independent, and easy to implement.”  The publication suggests:
  • Sit with your eyes closed and turn your attention to your breathing. Breathe naturally, preferably through the nostrils, without attempting to control your breath.
  • Be aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. Place one hand on your belly, and the other on your chest. Take a deep breath for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of three. Exhale for a count of four. The hand on your belly should go in as you inhale, and move out as you exhale.
  • Concentrate on your breath and forget everything else. Your mind will be very busy, and you may even feel that the meditationis making your mind busier, but the reality is you’re just becoming more aware of how busy your mind is.
  • Resist the temptation to follow the different thoughts as they arise, and focus on the sensation of the breath. If you discover that your mind has wandered and is following your thoughts, immediately return it to the breath.
  • Repeat this as many times as necessary until your mind settles on the breath.
    Don’t wait to begin belly-breathing. The sooner you make this a daily habit, the quicker you’ll feel relaxed.
  • When you implement belly-breathing, you start the day in a here-and-now state. Better yet, you’re not wasting time worrying about the future, or reliving the past.
  1. Laugh! Who doesn’t need a good laugh?  Laughing increases endorphins and lifts your mood while making you more accessible to people.  Would you rather hang out with someone who complains or someone who shares funny videos?
  2. Exercise.  Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits.

 As the founder and owner of Fitness for Health, a therapeutic exercise facility assisting children through senior citizens to reach their full potential by using innovative exergaming technology to make fitness fun, I’ve learned that virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever.  If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.”  After a fast-paced game of basketball or several laps around your favorite mall, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements.

As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything you do.

Additionally, regular exercise can increase self-confidence, it can relax you, and it can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All of these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.

About Fitness for Health:

Fitness for Health creates unique exercise programs based on a person’s individual fitness goals.  Do you want to lose weight, focus on weight management as an adult or combat childhood obesity?  Interested in toning your body?  Aspiring to improve your athletic edge?  No problem!  Whether you are a child or a senior citizen, Fitness for Health can you help you and your loved ones reach your full potential.