Anxiety has become one of the leading causes of all diseases encountered by physicians with their patients — degrading overall health, adversely affecting work performance and relationships with family and friends, and costing consumers billions a year in medication and lost productivity for employers. As an anxiety sufferer myself, I try to make it a daily regimen to practice some of the tips and strategies I will mention below. All of the tips you see have medically and psychologically proven benefits!
Believe it or not, optimal sleep is one of the two most important ways to reduce anxiety. It really is true that the average adult needs about 7 – 8 hours of sleep a night. Try something as simple as going to bed at least 30 minutes earlier than normal for 3 or 4 nights out of the week. And try to keep your bedroom as uncluttered and cool (65 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal) as possible. And NO cellphones right before bed!!
Breathing correctly is perhaps the single-most important thing one can do to handle panic attacks and severe anxiety, due to the fact that correct breathing causes an autonomic response in the body that actually quells the hormones and nervous system responses that we experience as anxiety. The easeist technique is the “4 – 3 – 8” method. One breathes in, using the diaphragm, for 4 seconds and using your nose only. Then, hold your breath for 3 seconds; finally, exhaling through your mouth for 8 seconds. Do this at least 4 times in a row, and your anxious feelings will melt away!
TAKE A LAUGH BREAK
This is another technique that makes use of the mind-body connection to control or remove anxiety. Simply login to Youtube and watch 10 – 15 minutes of funny videos ( I personally recommend funny cat and dog videos, and scenes from “Mr. Bean,” but all to your preference). Just make sure they are video clips that bring you delight and joy!
We all now by now that exercise has any number of excellent health and wellness benefits. For anxiety reduction, my suggestions are really simple: Get outside (prefavorably when the sun is shining, and simply move around for 5 -10 minutes: This can include walking, stretching, light calisthenics, or simply waling from your parked care to a nice seat in a public park.
KEEP A GRATITUDE LIST
This can be a simple little notebook/notepad. Although it is best to have a physical pad to write in, since physically writing things down involves more of your brain, and has more overall benefits; if you feel you would lost a physical notepad, then by all means keep such a list on your smartphone, or computer so that it will not get lost, and will be easy for you to read and review. It does not have to be a long list, but try to write at least 3 things you are thankful for each day.
LIGHT A CANDLE
Studies have shown true therapeutic effects from breathing in various aromas for 20-30 minutes. (This also works for essential oils). The aromas found to be most effective are: lavender; bergamot; frankincense; sandalwood; orange or orange blossom; and geranium.
Don’t laugh, but this is another one of those activities that gets the body’s autonomic system working for you. It makes no difference or flavor or style — simply chew a piece of gum for about 15 minutes and you will notice that anxiety before the big meeting melt away!
I believe these practices are not overly taxing, expensive or impractical. Give them a try for 30 days
straight and see what happens!