Is it just me or does everyone seem stressed and anxious these days? Well, that is because over 40 million adults (19.1%) in the United States have an anxiety disorder. Sadly, kids from ages 3 to 17 have anxiety. Anxiety grows across the world substantially each year. It feels like there is always something to worry about these days. If we aren’t worrying about school, work, global warming, the political world, our family, then we are probably worrying about something else. Women experience anxiety and depression even more than men do. 28% of women have an anxiety disorder worldwide.
When you smile, neurochemicals are released and they calm your body. A smile releases dopamine and serotonin, which will increase your happiness. Also, your smile will make other people smile. Smiling is contagious.
2. Plan for exciting events
If you are anticipating a positive event, it will lighten your mood. Plan to do something fun every weekend, so you have something positive to look forward to. Some examples are going to the beach, going to a concert, and going on a weekend trip somewhere.
3. Think positively
Think happy thoughts. Think of a positive memory. When you are getting anxious, remember something that your mom has said about you. Remember good things. Don’t let your negative thoughts take over.
4. Change your mindset
Try being mindful. This means that you detach yourself from your thoughts and act as an outside observer. By doing this, you think with less anxiety because people tend to believe more in others than themselves. People who do this tend to experience less negative thoughts after exposure to negativity. This proves that there is an impact from being mindful on negative thinking. Try going with the flow.
5. Listen to good mood music
Don’t listen to sad, breakup music when you are feeling anxious. Try playing music that you know soothes you or makes you super happy. Sometimes I play Hannah Montana when I’m getting anxious. If you aren’t sure what will do the trick, try classical and soft pop first. Experiment with all types of music.
6. Deep breaths
Did you know that if you take deep breaths it is impossible to feel anxious? Yeah, I did not know that either. You can lengthen your exhale. Or you can breath from your diaphragm. Also, you can hold your breath for a few seconds repeatedly. Be careful because you can still hyperventilate if you do too many deep breaths in a short amount of time.
7. Do yoga
Researchers have found that yoga actually helps reduce stress hormones. While doing a position as simple as a child’s pose, you are lowering your anxiety. During yoga, you are slowing down your breath and heartbeat. It is great for clearing busy minds. Also, it is a type of exercise so it releases endorphins, the hormone that makes someone happier and less stressed.
Exercising is a good way to get your mind off things. When you go for a run, your body is reducing tensions in your muscles and it makes you feel less anxious. Also, it increases your endorphins, making you have a better sense of well being. Some of the best exercises to reduce anxiety are swimming, biking, running, walking, and dancing.
9. Pray (if you are religious)
If you are religious, praying is helpful because it acts as an emotional comfort. Through prayer, people find that through God they can connect to hope, healing and strength.
A good prayer to read when feeling anxious:
“I know that worrying gets me nowhere. Yet I still allow worry and anxiety to consume me. In times such as these, Lord, I ask you to grant me a great amount of strength, faith, and courage to fight off the doubt and fear within my minds. Faith casts out fear while fear casts out faith.” — Unknown
10. Grab your pet
Did your school ever bring emotional support dogs during finals week? Well, there is a reason they do that. Finals week is a very stressful week. This is where you stress if you can keep your grade or raise it to the next higher letter grade. But just by petting a dog, your stress hormone will diminish and increase the amount of oxytocin. Actually, oxytocin is the same hormone that bonds mothers and their babies. This hormone makes you feel good. Researchers found that when 84% of post-traumatic stress disorder patients were given a service dog, they had a huge reduction in stress and anxiety. Most were even able to take less medication. Dogs truly are man’s best and they definitely are life savers.
11. Write it down
Write down your negative thoughts. Write down anything and everything that gives you anxiety. Make a plan for each point for each point you come up with. Your plan should show what you plan to do to lower that anxiety creator.
12. Slow down on caffeine and alcohol
Caffeine is a stimulant, while alcohol is a depressant. Either way they both make you have more anxiety. If it is possible, try to completely stop drinking them. Drinking too much caffeine can lead to poor sleep quality which can then lead to anxiety and depression. Drinking too much alcohol will lead to poor sleep quality as well. If you have feelings of low self- worth or low self confidence, do not drink alcohol. It will only make you feel worse. Instead of drinking coffee or soda for caffeine, try a less caffeinated beverage like tea.
13. Talk to someone
Talking out a problem is a great anxiety and stress reliever. When you talk to someone about a problem, you will begin to stop feeling overwhelmed because you are breaking your problems into little parts. And you will get another perspective who will you be able to tell you what they think.