Everyone with anxiety could benefit from these stress relieving strategies.
Do you have anxiety? When you encounter a stressful situation, does your heart rate increase or breathing become labored? Do you experience nausea, sweating, weakness, and/or difficulty controlling feelings of worry, panic, or doom?
Anyone with anxiety has likely felt some or all of these symptoms. And it’s most likely had a significant impact on your daily life. So how do you eliminate stress so you can stop feeling so anxious?
In the new series Limitless with Chris Hemsworth on Disney+, it examines the mental and physiological aspects of coping with stress. According to social psychologist, Modupe Akinola, rather than trying to make fear go away, we should walk right through it. Stressors will always exist, so the key is to train our minds and bodies to counteract our neurological alert system.
Here are some of the key takeaways from episode one.
“If you avoid all risk, you’ll never know what you’re capable of.”Faith Dickey, professional highliner, rigger, guide, and writer.
Self-Talk to Reduce Anxiety
If you believe that you will fail, then you will. By using positive self-talk, you can coach yourself into succeeding. So instead of saying, “I’m so afraid. I can’t do this,” you can say, “Relax! You’ve got this!” Research shows that when people use positive self-talk, it improves self-esteem, stress management, and overall wellbeing.
Breaking It Down
Overwhelming tasks can activate stress responses. So Akinola recommends breaking the task down into smaller chunks. For Hemsworth, this was focusing on one step at a time as he walked across the 900 foot tall crane. But for you, it could be breaking down your morning routine or daily chores into smaller chunks. After completing a step, your brain feels rewarded. And you’re more likely to move on to the next one.
Everyone with anxiety has likely practiced some type of breathing exercise. That’s because it can override the autonomic nervous system response that controls “fight or flight” mode. Akinola recommends her “square” breathing method. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4, breath out for 4, hold for 4, and repeat.
Mindful Meditation for Stress Relief
Eventually Chris Hemsworth goes to a mindful meditation class where a guide talks him through a calming meditation practice. There are free meditation apps which allow you to learn mindful meditation from your own home. But if you prefer an in-person guide, you can search for a local meditation or yoga class.
Everyone with Anxiety is Different
While these coping strategies can give you immediate results, Akinola emphasizes that to reap all of the longterm benefits, you need to practice consistently. Try adding one of these exercises to your daily routine, and once it becomes second nature, add another one. Everyone with anxiety is different, so if a strategy doesn’t work for you, that’s okay! Try modifying it or try a different strategy. Just remember to tell yourself, “Relax! You’ve got this.”
Have you tried any of these routines for anxiety? What were some of the challenges you faced? If you have tried and failed a routine, check out my post to learn what to do next.
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