Being more mindful can help the millions of American affected by anxiety combat the disorder, Philly Voice reports.
Anxiety can make you feel out of control and, depending on level of severity, can be debilitating.
Mindfulness – the practice of being more present in our current moment – has been proven to help combat anxiety.
Below are eight ways you can be more mindful and reduce your symptoms of anxiety to ensure a happy and successful 2017.
- Take 20 deep breaths
Often, anxiety involves a quickened heart rate and shallow breathing. The longer this goes on, the worse it feels. If you start to feel anxious, try to slow everything down by taking 20 deep breaths. Concentrate and find your breathing pattern, and work to breathe within that.
- Drink more water
Hydration helps us perform at our best and combat a variety of symptoms and illnesses. Staying hydrated should help you from confusing symptoms of dehydration, such as dizziness, with symptoms of anxiety.
- Drink less alcohol and caffeine
While alcohol is a depressant and caffeine is a stimulate, both are dehydrating. It is common to feel unsettled and shaky after drinking too much of either, which can cause an anxiety attack. Be more mindful in your drink choices, and limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine.
- Exercise regularly
Exercise releases endorphins – a brain chemical that makes you feel happy and calm. Additionally, exercise increases your confidence and sense of control. Many people use exercise as a non-medicine way to manage anxiety.
- Hold an ice cub in your fist
This odd method allows you to truly concentrate on the practice of mindfulness. The next time you feel anxious, grab an ice cube and think about how you feel in that present moment. The stark cold of the ice cube should help you focus on where you are, and not on the anxiety of the past or future.
- Color or find another craft you enjoy
Adult coloring books have recently become a popular method for adults to de-stress. These books help you focus on the task at hand – coloring in the lines! – instead of letting your mind wander. If coloring isn’t for you, find another craft or activity that requires you to focus such as cleaning, cooking, knitting, etc.
- Listen to happy music
Finding comfort and connectivity in music is one of the most universal commonalities in the world. We often turn to music to soothe us when we are sad, relax us when we are stressed, and amp us up when we need a good work out. It can also be uplifting and helpful when combating anxiety. Play an instrument, sing, or turn on your favorite happy music playlist if you start to feel anxious.
- Don’t be a catastrophist
It is natural to think of the worst-case scenario, especially if you are a naturally anxious person. However, this was of thinking is harmful and only continues the vicious cycle of anxiety. Consciously work to be less of a catastrophist by reminding yourself that you are not one. If a mantra isn’t enough, think about the situation you are concerned about and ask yourself how likely it is that situation will occur on a scale of one to ten. Putting metrics on our fears can help us address them.