Everyone has anxiety to some extent. Anxiety itself isn’t a bad thing: it is our body’s way of protecting ourselves against potential danger. But sometimes the body and the mind’s reaction to stressful situations isn’t proportional to the threat. When this happens, it can affect quality of life and relationships. While the cause of anxiety can be a complicated subject, there are simple changes that can be made in your daily life that can reduce anxiety’s impact and increase the time between panic attacks.
Try incorporating one (or all!) of these techniques for reducing anxiety and building resiliency.
Getting quality sleep is one of the best ways to improve the quality of your life. Sleep helps to regulate hormones, improves the mood and keeps the metabolism working properly. While it is important to try and maintain a regular bedtime, sleep experts have found that having a consistent wake up time is actually more helpful in ensuring that the sleep that you do get is high quality.
If you’d like more tips on getting a good night’s sleep, check out my tips in Five Ways to Improve Your Sleep Tonight.
It may seem silly to write the word “worry” in your planner, but this is a tip that can be really useful in changing the thought pattern around anxiety. Pick a time in your day when you will allow yourself to worry as much as you like about anything you like. Preferably, don’t schedule this time right before bed! Every time a worry pops into your head during your day, tell yourself that this isn’t the time to worry about it: you will do it later.
By consistently pushing your worry aside as it comes up, you’ll reinforce the idea that by worrying you can’t actually change anything in the outcome of your day. And chances are that when it’s time for your “worry time,” your worries won’t seem nearly as large.
Is there anything that exercise can’t do? Studies have shown that anxiety can often correlate with physical symptoms, such as chronic pain, migraines, digestive issues, and back pain. Taking care of your physical body can help relieve those symptoms. Not only that, exercise can help improve sleep and regulate hormones.
Restorative yoga is often promoted for anxiety, but really any type of exercise can be beneficial. Notice what you enjoy and feels best in your body. Try to make exercise and movement something that you look forward to.
Practicing mindful breathing every day is a great way to ensure that it will be in your mental health toolbox when you encounter a challenging situation. If you are interested in crafting a meditation practice, there are some very valuable resources available to guide you. My favourite meditation app is Insight Timer.
If sitting in meditation is intimidating to you, even consider closing your eyes and noticing three breaths. There’s no need to control or shape them in any way. Just the act of slowing down and noticing your breath can be a form of mindfulness.
I’d love it if you’d incorporate even just one of these suggestions into your daily life. Please let me know how it goes! As always, if you need help, please chat with your family doctor. There are many free or low-cost mental health resources available. Check out Anxiety Canada.
I’m obsessed with helping women live their best lives. Together we'll use yoga and mindfulness to build confidence, reach goals and have some fun!
When she's not teaching yoga classes or wellness workshops, Gillian can be found doing boot camp in the park, spending time with her kids or developing her latest and greatest kombucha flavour.
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