Ideas to soothe anxiety

With everything that has gone on in the last year and our lives mainly revolving around screens and social media, it is more important than ever to take care of our mental health.

I have found in the past that sometimes anxiety or low moods can creep up on us unexpectedly and it can be easier said than done to get out of these moods. A bit like everything, prevention is better than the cure (not that there is a magic cure for mental health), therefore there are things that we would benefit from doing on a daily basis to build up our resilience and fill our ‘toolbox’ so that if or when we have a wobble we are better equipped and hopefully these wobbles won’t be as intense or last as long.

Little things we can do to take care of our mental health include different breathing techniques and relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation. I have to admit that I don’t keep up with these techniques as when I feel ok, I forget the need or don’t necessarily feel it’s necessary, but it is.

Scientists have proven that breathing techniques reduce stress levels, lower your heart rate, lower blood pressure, reduce depression to name a few.

Breathing techniques can easily be done anytime, anywhere, and even just spending a few minutes a day will be beneficial.

Mindful breathing simply involves us becoming aware of our breathing and focusing on it which usually slows breathing down and makes you feel more relaxed.

One technique that I like to use when I am feeling anxious or at bedtime is the 4, 7, 8 method. It is very simple, all you have to do is breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds and then breathe out for 8 seconds and repeat as many times as you feel necessary. I find that concentrating on my breathing and counting stops my brain from wandering and I do find it relaxing.

Another thing we can incorporate into our daily lives is journaling which has also been proven to lower blood pressure and heart rate. It could be as simple as writing down anxious thoughts and feelings which means you are no longer carrying them solely in your head or writing down things that you are grateful for each day.

Positive affirmations have several benefits including the ability to program your mind into believing these repeated statements – just like when we tell ourselves negative things repeatedly which then become engrained into our belief system, we can change this by repeatedly telling ourselves positive things. One example of this could be if someone believes that they are too sensitive about what others say about them (therefore creating low self-esteem and social anxiety), this could be rephrased into the following positive affirmation…

‘I feel empowered and confident as I let go of external criticism.’

The more you can say positive affirmations to yourself out loud or in your head the quicker it will become part of our belief system. You could write down your positive affirmation and place it somewhere that you will regularly see such as on your phone, laptop, by the kettle, on a mirror etc.

Other things that can help ease anxiety include snuggling up with a blanket, stroking a pet or a cuddly toy (you’re never too old to have a cuddly toy!), having a massage or giving yourself a massage (this could be a simple hand massage or foot massage) and using a relaxing massage oil such as one with essential oils. Having something soothing to fidget with such as playing with a piece of blutack or some playdough. I’m a fan of Mohdoh aromatherapy playdough which comes in a variety of different scents, but you could quite easily make your own playdough and add a couple of drops of essential oil.

Although it may not sound very relaxing, if you are feeling particularly anxious and are feeling hot and bothered, splashing your face with cold water or ‘relaxing’ with a cold flannel over your eyes is said to be effective.

One thing that I do pretty much all the time, but I’ve never really thought about it until I read about it is wearing sunglasses. Apparently wearing sunglasses can help to keep us going when feeling anxious as anxiety is often heightened by the environment we are in such as a crowded area. By wearing a pair of sunglasses, it can create a barrier without actually affecting your ability to function in these situations.

Homemade Natural Play Dough - Don't Mess with Mama | Homemade playdough,  Diy for kids, Playdough recipe

Six Different Types of Grounding Exercises for Anxiety & Intense Emotions —  The Growlery

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