Let’s face it – therapy is expensive and time consuming, and not everyone can fit it into their lives. But if you suffer from anxiety, it can be inexplicably beneficial. I went to a few sessions and footed the bill for you! Keep reading for anxiety tips from a licensed professional.
Three times a day, take a few minutes to really take in your environment. Pay attention to EVERYTHING around you – scents, sounds, textures, colors. You can focus on the sensation of the material of your clothes against your skin, the smell of a candle or the fresh air, the sound of birds chirping, and the color/hue of the sky. The objective is to become more mindful and aware of your pleasant surroundings rather than be distracted by negative thoughts and worries.
Be Body Aware
Take a few moments to focus strictly on physical sensations. Some examples are your pet’s fur, feeling cold water make its way down as you drink it, gently dusting a soft makeup brush against your skin, and feeling the cool breeze of a fan on your face. This should be a pleasant experience, so don’t overwhelm yourself trying to do too many. Choose 1 or 2 and really focus on them.
Cross your arms over your chest, and rhythmically tap your shoulders in a left/right pattern. Butterfly tapping uses both sides of your brain and is a calming technique. As you’re tapping, notice what is going through your mind. If unwanted or stressful thoughts arise, picture them floating by like passing clouds, or a butterfly flitting past. Only focus on pleasant thoughts.
Start by tapping your knee according to the level of your anxiety, and gradually slowing down. It helps to have your eyes closed for this one, although it’s not necessary. Breathe deeply and let your mind slow down with the cadence of each tap.
Conveyor Belt Technique
Close your eyes and picture a conveyor belt in your mind. Whenever an unpleasant or unwanted thought occurs, picture it rolling past and falling off the conveyor belt. Only allow positive thoughts.
Inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, hold for 7, exhale through the mouth for 8 seconds.
Schedule Outdoor Activity
It’s important to get a minimum of 1 hour outdoor activity each day. Exercise and sunlight increase endorphins and serotonin, while decreasing cortisol. You don’t have to do it all at once. You can take 6 ten minute walks a day, 2 thirty minute walks, or whatever combination fits your lifestyle best. If you have an outdoor patio or balcony, you can exercise there for an hour a day. Just make sure you’re getting a full hour of sunlight and light to moderate physical activity every day.
If anxiety causes your heart rate to soar, close your eyes and picture it slowing down. You can picture your heart rate slowly decreasing on a pulse oximeter, watch, or anything that measures your pulse. The mind is very powerful and imagery works wonders for a LOT of people.
The main takeaways from these sessions are to be conscious of your thoughts, and train yourself to think positively and only allow pleasant feelings and emotions. Take control and be the boss of your thoughts. YOU alone are in complete control of your feelings – no one else can control how you react.
Of course this all takes time and dedication, so please don’t expect an immediate cure all. These techniques are meant to teach you healthier ways to navigate through life’s ups and downs. If you have any additional tips you’d like to share, please comment them below so I and other readers can benefit from them too. Also, let me know if you found any of this helpful! Thanks for reading and God bless!