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Small Things You Can Do To Ease Your Anxiety

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Anxiety is more common than you think — and it was made worse by the pandemic due to social isolation, job loss, fear of being in a new situation, and more. In fact, as of early 2021, [1]41.1% of adults have been experiencing more anxiety compared to 2019. Of course, anxiety can have a negative impact on well-being, such as difficulty sleeping and chronic conditions. It can also make a person turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, like alcohol and substance abuse. However, there are healthier ways to manage anxiety, and here are some of them:


Do breathing exercises


Anxiety can trigger your body to go into fight-or-flight mode, releasing stress hormones that can cause a faster heartbeat and quicker breathing. When this happens, [2]breathing exercises can help you relax. The goal of these exercises is to be aware of your breath and make it slower and deeper. However, inhaling deeply alone may not always help since it’s still linked to the part of your nervous system that controls the fight-or-flight response. So, it’s better to focus on slowing your exhalation as it’s what can influence your body to calm down.


Talk to a friend or trusted loved one


Any intense feelings, especially fear and anxiety, will trigger a fight-or-flight response. Putting these feelings into words helps reduce these feelings as you are also able to process them. However, aside from simply talking about them, you should also find the [3]right people to talk to; talking to the wrong person can only make you feel worse. But aside from friends and loved ones, you can consider talking to psychiatric professionals as well.


Do a quick exercise


Even if you’re the athletic type, mental health problems can sometimes make you feel like you don’t want to move — which is completely normal. However, the benefits of exercise go beyond the physical and can alleviate anxiety too. It doesn't even have to be long. In fact, [4]psychologists suggest that even just a 10-minute walk can be as good as a 45-minute full workout. While doing one session of vigorous exercise can alleviate anxiety for hours, bite-sized sessions every day can significantly reduce symptoms over time. So set small daily goals, whether it be 15 minutes of walking or yoga, and aim for consistency rather than doing full workouts once a month.


Optimize your workspace


Work can be stressful enough, but [5]a messy workspace can make you more stressed. It clutters your brain as well, leaving you feeling overwhelmed. For this reason, it’s best that you optimize your work space to allow optimal productivity and efficiency. Use some desk organizers so you can actually put your things in their proper places, and clear away anything that you’re not using. To maintain your productivity, you can also invest in ergonomic equipment. Aside from comfort, these items ensure you’re working in the proper posture, reducing the strain on the body. For starters, a [6]standing desk converter lets you transition from sitting to standing every once in a while. It may not seem like much, but it actually lessens the strain on your back, neck, and legs, and boosts your circulation — allowing you to work optimally and pain-free.


Make time to do what you love


[7]Hobbies take your mind off stress, thus helping to alleviate anxiety. Doing something you enjoy also causes your brain to release feel-good chemicals. Even if you don’t feel like doing it at first, once you start it and feel the pleasure associated with it, it makes you more motivated to do your hobby. So, whether you love reading, making art, or gardening, set aside a few minutes a day for them to uplift your mood.

 

 

Article written by Rae Joanne

Exclusively for southlakecounseling.com

 

References:

[1] https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/

[2] https://www.healthline.com/health/breathing-exercises-for-anxiety

[3] https://www.southlakecounseling.com/blog/the-lesser-known-pandemic-why-you-shouldnt-ignore-your-mental-wellbeing-now

[4] https://adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/exercise-stress-and-anxiety

[5] https://thriveglobal.com/stories/why-a-clean-workspace-is-good-for-your-mental-health/

[6] https://www.painfreeworking.com/best-standing-desk-converters/

[7] https://theconversation.com/the-science-behind-why-hobbies-can-improve-our-mental-health-153828

Author
Rae Joanne Rae Joanne is a health and wellness writer. She is passionate about all things related to healthcare, and hopes to address mental health stories and lessons from the pandemic. In her free time she hikes.

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