Mon. Jul 4th, 2022

20 ways to reduce anxiety and live a happier life

1  Take slow, deep breaths

A lot of people have a tendency to either breathe too much or not enough under extreme stress. A good rule to follow is to inhale for four seconds, hold for seven seconds and then exhale for eight seconds. Focus on counting, not on your problems.

2  Seek out nice smells

There’s a reason why Bath & Body Works sells so much merchandise! Grab your favorite scented lotion, candles, essential oils or spray and use as needed.

3  Focus on 5 things that you can sense

Shift your attention to your surroundings. What are five things you can hear? Five things you can smell, touch, see or taste? This exercise’s purpose is to ground you, anchoring you to the real world instead of what’s in your head.

4  Read a book or watch a movie

Go grab your favorite book off the shelf or jump into your favorite movie! Following a plot line, especially one that you’re comfortable and familiar with, can help to reduce the feeling of being out of control.



5  Take 30

Devote at least half an hour every day to doing something that YOU want to do. It doesn’t have to be productive. If you want to unwind by rewatching an episode of “The Office” for the 50th time, go for it! This is your time, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for getting to spend it on what makes you happy.



6  Be more spontaneous

If you find yourself with extra time, use it to try something new! Maybe that means testing out your painting or poetry skills or spending a few hours at a museum. Maybe it means going out to eat and ordering something off the menu that you’ve never had before. Don’t lock yourself into a structure of school-homework-sleep. Get to know yourself by experimenting!

7  Yoga

Yoga has many health benefits, including improving flexibility and respiration of participants. It’s also a noncompetitive way to exercise, which is especially important for those of us who think of life as a constant struggle to get ahead. Whether you join a class or just watch videos off YouTube, give yoga a shot. You might be surprised by the results.



8  Change up your environment

As a student, there are a lot of things outside of your control concerning your environment, especially if you don’t have a driver’s license or a car. However, there are still ways to calm that restless feeling. Try giving your room a makeover, moving furniture around or cleaning up the clutter. Another option is to study or hang out somewhere other than home, like a café or park. You can also try spending the weekend at a friend or relative’s house.



9  Self care

If you’re feeling anxious, scared or drained, go through this checklist with yourself. Have you eaten, hydrated or showered recently? Are you exhausted? If so, take care of your basic needs and eat, drink, shower and sleep. Everything else can wait. You can’t perform at your best if you’re feeling at your worst.



10  Take the wheel

Think about what you want. Does it match up with everyone else’s expectations of you? If it doesn’t, then learn to say no! You can’t live your whole life for other people, and you have to learn to take care of yourself first.



11  Get out of toxic relationships

A toxic relationship is unbalanced and sometimes abusive. Don’t be afraid to put yourself first and surround yourself with positive, supportive people that you enjoy spending time with, even if that means cutting ties with someone else. If your significant other, friends or parents have a disregard for your mental, emotional or physical health, get help. Talk to a counselor and value yourself enough to get out of that situation. It’s never the victim’s fault.



12  Be kind

There are obvious benefits to being a kinder, more positive person. You’ll make more friends and form better relationships with the people around you, your actions will be worthwhile and have impact (even if the actions are as simple as smiling at a stranger or complimenting someone else) and hopefully you’ll be able to extend some of that kindness to yourself. Not only is kindness good emotionally and mentally for yourself and those around you, it has health benefits! According to Dr. David R. Hamilton, kindness releases oxytocin, a hormone that ultimately leads to lower blood pressure and protects the heart.



13  Listen to some good music

Make a playlist for when you’re feeling upset and listen to it as needed. Note: sad music doesn’t always help, and what you need one day might not be what you need the next. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself is to turn the volume all the way up and dance!



14  Focus on the present

Don’t spend your time worrying about what’s in the past. If you can’t change it, there’s no point. If you can change it, then why worry?



15  Stop being cynical

Don’t put yourself or other people down! It’s more than OK to be enthusiastic about things, and it doesn’t matter if those things are dorky or weird to other people. Be your truest self, and allow other people to do the same.



16  Have good personal hygiene

Wash your face twice a day, take regular showers, moisturize and brush your hair and teeth! Keep a lip balm and perfume or cologne in your bag. These things sound simple, but it’s easy to forget to do them. Once you have an established routine that makes you look and feel good, you’ll be able to start the day right.



17  Remember that school and work don’t mean everything, and they don’t define you

Not everyone is good at the same things, and while you should always try your best at everything, pushing yourself to the point of a breakdown won’t help anything. Practice this mindset and train yourself to recognize when enough is enough.



18  Take care of your physical health

Mental, physical and emotion health are all interconnected. Don’t neglect one while you’re working on the others. Taking care of physical health means staying hydrated, maintaining a balanced diet and exercising. If this is an area that’s difficult for you, take it one step at a time. Challenge yourself to drink at least one full bottle of water a day. Eat at least one fruit or vegetable a day, and watch your sugar intake. Take a fifteen minute walk twice a week. Then, as it becomes easier to complete those tasks, take it further.




19  Become who you want to be

You’re the writer of your own story. Whatever restrictions anyone else has placed on you, your life is still your life. Be the best version of yourself that you can be.



20  Consider counseling or therapy

If your anxiety is severe or you’re experiencing depression, don’t wait to get help. There are so many resources available for those dealing with mental illness, and if the problem is not addressed then it can’t be fixed.

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