Do you struggle with worries and tension and find it difficult to relax? Everyone gets worried sometimes, but sometimes worries and fears reach a new level and become so persistent that they can interfere with your ability to think clearly or to make decisions or to relax. Sometimes they may affect your ability to function. Anxiety can affect your body in all sorts of ways from causing headaches, muscle aches, difficulty sleeping, upset stomachs, and exhaustion among other things. You may even have experienced the anxiety so strongly that your heart raced and your chest got so tight that it made you feel as if you were having a heart attack. The good thing is that anxiety is treatable.
There are many things that can help anxiety, including self-help strategies and therapy.
While worries and anxiety tend to be rooted in past and future thinking as well as the meanings and experiences we attribute to events and situations,MINDFULNESS is a strategy that can help reduce stress and anxiety by helping us become more aware and awake to the present moment. To be mindful is to be alive and present with those around you and with what you are doing.
1. Deep Breathing
- Focus on each breath being mindful of breathing slowly and deeply, using your abdomen rather than your chest and focusing on the sound and rhythm of the air going in and out. Staying focused on each breath can help you stay more focused on the present moment. Deep Slow Breathing also helps the heart rate to slow down which can decrease the adrenalin rush that often occurs with anxiety.
2. Listening to Music
- Listening to soothing, slow-tempo music may tend to have more calming effects.
Exercise mindfulness by focusing on the sensations in your body. Focus on the vibrations, the tones, and the different instrument sounds. As thoughts come into your mind, just recognize they are there, and bring your mind back to the music .
3. Cleaning House or Working on a Craft or Hobby
- Whether it is cleaning or doing a craft, focus on what you are doing, what your senses are telling you (i.e., touch, sound, smell, etc). If you are vacuuming, focusing on the vibrations of the vacuum in your hand and up your arm and the sensations of your muscles as you push the vacuum cleaner. If you are washing dishes, focus on the feel of the warm water are your hands, the suds on your fingers, the movement of the cloth on the dishes, the sound of the water swishing and running. Also, sometimes decluttering your life externally can help you feel uncluttered internally and vice versa.
4. Observing Your Thoughts
- It is often hard to stop focusing on intrusive, racing, and out of control thoughts. It may be helpful to just observe your thoughts rather than becoming involved with them. Let the thoughts pass through your mind without making any judgment or plan to do something about them. This is not the time to figure out what to do but rather to just listen to them. If there seems to be too many thoughts at once, then writing them down may be helpful.
If anxiety or worries are getting the best of you and you think that these and other stress reducing strategies would be helpful, please contact me to set up an appointment.