By Kacey Mya
It’s OK to have a bad day and wallow in anxiety for a bit, but that won’t make it go away. Tackle anxiety head on when you can and see if you can turn your day around. You may not be able to change what is going on around you, but you can change how you respond to it.
If you’re suffering from anxiety, give one or more of these ten things a try and see if they make you feel better.
1. Take A Break
When you are feeling overwhelmed, take a break if it at all possible. This could be a countdown from ten as you try to relax, a walk, or just a change of scenery. Remove yourself from the situation so that you can refresh your mind and handle it better when you return.
2. Practice Deep Breathing
Get control of your anxious body by practicing deep breathing techniques. There are many to choose from, so find one which works for you. Generally, you pick a count, say four, and slowly breathe in as you count. Exhale for the same amount of counts.
Close your eyes and do your best to free your mind of any thoughts as you feel the tension leaving your body. This will take practice, and you may feel self-conscious at first. But you will feel immediate relief and will regain focus.
3. Smell the Roses
Aromatherapy is the use of scents to calm and relax us. Certain scents trigger memories and emotions based on our life’s experiences. Sniffing the aroma of roses, lavender or vanilla sends happy molecules to our brains and can promote positive energy and brighten our mood. These scents come in lotions and oils if you can’t find them in nature.
Start with the scents you know you like and venture into new ones
4. Drink Herbal Tea
Those same scents you rubbed on your skin and used in a diffuser can be enjoyed in soothing herbal tea. Drinking a cup of hot tea at the end of the day is a calm, relaxing activity.
It can be part of establishing a mentally healthy bedtime routine. You enjoy your tea and go to bed relaxed and ready for sleep instead of reliving your stressful day.
There are real health benefits as well, as herbal teas are rich in antioxidants which help your body fight off destructive free radicals which can lead to cancer and other ailments.
5. Engage Your Artistic Side
Channel your feelings of morose and despair into art. For some of you, this will be a bigger challenge than for others. If you aren’t sure what to do, get out in nature to find inspiration. In addition to getting fresh air and exercise, you will see nature’s works of art all around you, no matter the season.
Take pictures of the things which inspire you. Collect rocks, sticks or pine cones for crafts. When you get home, draw what you loved the best. Create projects with the items you collected. Practice your sculpting skills with colorful polymer clay to recreate the natural beauty you discovered outdoors.
Don’t be disappointed if your first attempts aren’t exhibit-worthy. This art is for you. What is most important is that you are getting outside, walking and taking time to appreciate the colors, shapes and creations of nature. Recreating it at home or producing a craft project from the things you harvested will stimulate your mind and make you much happier.
Give it a try.
6. Take A Bath
A warm bath will help you wash the day away, physically and mentally. Lay back, close your eyes and feel the tension leaving your muscles. Just don’t fall asleep. To liven it up, add bubble bath in a scent you enjoy.
Make it a detox bath by adding baking soda and apple cider vinegar, Epsom salts or hydrogen peroxide. Others swear by the powers of essential oils. See what works for you. You can also stick with your favorite bar of soap.
7. Work Out
Think of exercise as “working out” the anxiety which plagues you. Nothing relieves the tension like running a few miles, lifting heavy weights with a hearty grunt, or beating on a punching bag while imagining those who have ruined your day.
People who exercise regularly have lower rates of anxiety and depression. If you work at a desk and live a sedentary lifestyle, it may be adding to your symptoms. You don’t have to run a marathon, but you need to introduce exercise into your life.
Start with a ten-minute walk and add on from there. You will notice a difference in your mood if exercise becomes a part of your life.
8. Drink Alcohol in Moderation
There is nothing wrong with having a beer or a glass of wine after a long week or even just a rough day. Drinks are celebratory and relieving. The problem is when you drink too much or use alcoholic drinks as a crutch to get you through life.
Drink in moderation. Have a drink or two a day, but don’t get in the habit of drinking in excess. If your weekend rolls into your week, you may want to cut back and find other ways to relieve your stress and anxiety.
9. Keep A Journal
Write down what makes you anxious. Try to identify the things which trigger your anxiety so that you will be better able to handle them. Maybe it’s a person you work with or a particular place you don’t like.
Certain social situations like meet-and-greets or office functions can provoke anxiety in many of us. If those things are inevitable in your line of work, writing about them and how they make you feel can give you an advantage in how you deal with them. You may learn to laugh at yourself, and that’s healthy.
10. Join A Support Group
If jogging, creativity and scented oils don’t help you enough, try to find a support of people who suffer the same anxiety you do. Check online and in newspapers for churches and community centers who provide outreach to those in need. You may not only find help for yourself, but also be able to help others with the same problems.
Finally, if you cannot get control of your anxiety, do not hesitate to seek professional help. You may need medication or counseling to find peace in your life. You don’t want to put this off any longer than you already have.