Do you have an anxious brain? How do you relax your mind when you face stressful situations? The following suggestions are inexpensive, super easy, very practical and you can do them almost anywhere. You can use them when you find your stress levels increasing and anxiety fills your mind.
First, what does the body do when stressed? It’s important to understand how our bodies react to stress, because if we catch anxious thoughts before they ‘take over,’ then they are much easier to tame.
Fight or Flight
When we find ourselves in stressful situations, we often begin breathing more deeply. In response to danger, our bodies activate the fight or flight response, causing our hearts to pump faster. We might feel heart palpitations, chest pains, or feel flushed because the heart is using all its energy to propel us forward.
In order for us to run or fight, our blood pressure increases in order to pump more blood into our bodies. This may cause a headache or you may feel tight, anxious, and irritable. Cortisol circulates through our bodies, signalling all the organs and cells to get ready.
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How Do You Calm an Anxious Brain?
What can we do to calm an anxious brain and relax our minds? These ideas can help you relax in only a few minutes. Write them down on a sticky note and put them by your side until they become habitual. After all, a new habit takes 28 days to form.
Related reading: 7 Easy Steps to Develop Positive Habits
1. Assess Your Thoughts
Consider the thoughts running through your mind. Are they accurate? Are you overthinking? Think about them logically, without emotion.
2. Breathe Deeply
Inhale three times and slowly exhale. Take a few moments to take in deep, long breaths to allow your mind to reset.
3. Close Your Eyes
Sit down and close your eyes for a moment. Allow yourself to relax and simply do nothing until your brain calms.
4. Consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fats prevent excessive oxidation while boosting serotonin and dopamine production, thus reducing anxiety. Try eating foods such as nuts, fish and seeds that are powerful antioxidants.
5. Dab Lavender
Carry soothing lavender scents or essential oils and dab it on your wrists. It is very calming.
6. Declutter your Schedule
Most times, we overbook our schedules. Take a few minutes and eliminate unnecessary activities from your schedule. Knowing that you have some free time in your schedule can help you relax.
Related reading: 7 Steps to Improve Your Time Management
7. Declutter your Space
You can’t think when clutter fills your spaces, having fewer things declutters our minds. Take a few minutes to clean up your desk, tidy up your kitchen or whatever room you occupy the most.
8. Eat Dark Chocolate
There are many health benefits to eating dark chocolate, which is not your normal sugary treat. Specifically, dark chocolate reduces the impact of cortisol (stress hormone) on our bodies.
Take a walk and distract your mind with physical activity. When you use your energy to exercise, positive and neutral emotions resurface, restoring your mental energy. Exercise is one of the best free medicines we have at our disposal.
10. Get Some Sun
Get outside and soak up some vitamin D. People in colder climates sometimes develop a condition known as SAD (seasonal affective disorder), which comes on during the winter months and the limited sun exposure.
11. Hug Your Pet
There is a reason therapy animals exist. Give your pet a big hug. Not only will they enjoy it but it can relieve a lot of stress. You can even combine the above two methods and get some sun while walking your dog (exercise).
Natural anxiety management should focus on meditation since it helps ground your irrational fears, allowing us to live in the moment. Incorporate meditation into your daily schedule. It will give your mind and body the time and attention they need.
13. Practice Gratitude
Express gratitude to yourself and others. Give thanks for three things in your life.
14. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness leads to increased concentration, and a decluttered mind. Live in the moment, forget the past and don’t worry about the future.
15. Repeat a Mantra
Repeat over and over in your head a phrase that brings calmness and peace within yourself. Here are five that you can try:
I am thankful for everything that I have
I am grateful for the opportunities this new day brings me
I invite gratitude into my heart now
Thank you for the blessings this day brings
An attitude of gratitude brings me closer to my desires
Music can instantly alter your mood, whether you sing or just listen to your favourite soothing tunes. The repetition of similar phrases and the music allows the negative emotions to return to their base. Create a playlist to use when you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
17. Sit With a Crystal
Sitting with a crystal, they can be a powerful catalyst in stress reduction and stress transformation.
Slowly squeeze your fingers and toes, then release them. Repeat.
Consider smiling for yourself instead of for others. When our long days are taxing emotionally, our faces are first to show signs of defeat. Usually, this takes the form of frowning.
20. Take a Bath
This may take a little longer than five minutes. Soak in Epsom salt or sea salt. Add lavender oil, and breathe deeply.
21. Take a Power Nap
When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain plays many tricks on you, decreasing your emotional tolerance. Closing your eyes and resting even for five minutes can leave you feeling recharged.
22. Talk to a Friend
Chat with a friend. Or meet them for a cup of coffee or a walk.
23. Try Aromatherapy
Scents like lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood can be very soothing. Use candles, oils or incense.
24. Unplug from Social Media
Social media notifications add stress to your day. Try turning them off for five minutes or longer. Equally important is shutting off your phone completely for a few minutes.
25. Use a Stress Ball
Squeezing a stress ball is an easy, portable, way to relieve tension. Keep one on your desk or close by to use frequently.
26. Use Visual anchors
Find something that brings a sense of calm and just focus on it. For example, a photograph or a piece of art.
27. Watch a Funny Video
There are thousands of funny videos you can watch to distract yourself and instantly improve your mood with a laugh.
28. Write a Love Letter to Yourself
Take 5 minutes to write on a piece of paper all the things you love about yourself.
29. Write Affirmations in a Journal
Writing in a journal is a great way to use daily affirmation. You could start or end each journaling entry with a relevant affirmation for the positive energy you are trying to create.
Related Reading: 10 Benefits of Journal Writing
Last Words on Calming an Anxious Brain
Stress can make our lives seem like a struggle, but these tools can drastically improve our lives if we use them regularly and correctly.
Feature image by Ralf Kunze from Pixabay.