By Julie Cohen California Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
With pandemic related anxiety at an all-time high, many people are looking for ways to manage their stress and anxiety. While there is no one silver bullet that will work for everyone, here are 10 ways that may help you to feel more in control during this difficult time.
Breathing techniques and stress reduction can be helpful tools to have in your arsenal. When you are feeling anxious, try taking a few deep breaths and focusing on releasing the tension from your body. Box Breathing is another technique that can be helpful for managing anxiety. Box breathing is a type of deep breathing where you inhale for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, exhale for four seconds and then hold your breath for four more seconds. This helps to oxygenate the body and calm the mind.
White Noise: If you are finding it difficult to concentrate or sleep, try using some white noise to block out the outside world. White noise is a type of sound that has equal intensity at all different frequencies. This can be helpful in blocking out unwanted sounds and distractions, which can help you to feel more calm and relaxed. You can buy a white noise machine or just put the fan on.
Exercise has been shown to be extremely effective at reducing stress and anxiety. Not only does exercise release endorphins that make you feel better, but it also helps to reduce stress levels and gives your body a chance to recover from the day’s events. Try going on a walk, bike ride or run outside in nature as this can be incredibly calming. If you’re unable to leave your home, there are lots of online exercise classes that are free right now (including yoga) so take advantage of them!
Getting enough sleep is critical to managing anxiety, as it allows your body and mind time to recharge after a long day of being stressed out by everything going on around us. Try setting aside an hour before bedtime where no electronics or technology are allowed, so that you can fully relax and unwind before turning in for the night.
Eating well is an important part of managing anxiety as well. Eating a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains will help keep your system functioning optimally which helps fight off stress hormones that cause symptoms like fatigue, insomnia and anxiety.
Affirmations are a great way to reframe negative thinking. Affirmations are positive statements about yourself that help to build self-confidence and reduce stress levels. Repeating them daily can help you to feel better both mentally and emotionally.Some examples of affirmations include:
“I am strong and capable.”
“I will be okay.”
“I can handle this situation.”
Identify your stressors. You can do this by keeping a journal that tracks all of the things that cause you stress, such as work deadlines or family issues. Then, once you’ve identified them, try coming up with some solutions for how you might handle those situations better in future times.
Take a Break. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try taking a break from the news or social media and go outside to get some fresh air. Even just taking a walk around your neighborhood can help clear your mind of all those stressful thoughts swirling inside it.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a technique that can also be helpful in managing anxiety. EFT is a type of acupuncture where you tap on certain points on your body while repeating positive affirmations. This helps to release the negative energy that is causing you stress and anxiety.
Therapy can be an incredibly helpful tool for managing anxiety. Talking to a therapist can help you to understand the thoughts and feelings that are causing your anxiety, as well as giving you tools and strategies to manage them. If therapy is not feasible for you financially or logistically, there are also many online resources available, such as Calm.com which has free guided meditations, breathing exercises and other tools for managing stress and anxiety. It is important to remember that everyone experiences anxiety differently and what works for one person may not work for another. If you are struggling with intense feelings of anxiety, it is important to seek professional help. A therapist can provide you with additional tools and resources to help you manage your anxiety in a healthy way.I hope that you have found these tips helpful. Remember, we are all in this together and we will get through it! Stay healthy and be kind to yourself and others. What are some of the ways that you are managing your anxiety?