1. Move it!
Moving your body is a great way to decrease anxiety. And don’t worry, you don’t need to join a gym or even go running. Jump on a bed; do some jumping jacks; go outside for a walk; crank out some push-ups; dance around the room. You can incorporate movement in your everyday life without taking additional time. Try doing some squats while you are on the phone, or go to a rest room that is further away than usual when nature calls.
2. Deep Breathing.
While it may seem overly simple, changing your breath can have a huge impact on your anxiety. On one hand, you can increase anxiety by taking rapid, short breaths (through a straw makes anxiety go up even more). Conversely, taking slow, deep diaphragmatic breaths (where your belly expands on the inhale) can decrease anxiety. Try taking some deep breaths when you feel anxious. You can also use the power of breathing to prevent anxiety. If there is a certain experience in your life that tends to make you feel more anxious (being with a certain person, for example), then take ve to seven deep breaths before the event.
Laughter increases oxygen in your body and reduces the circulation of stress hormones. Sure, you may not be feeling funny, but give laughter a try. Watch funny videos; read some jokes; spend time with a funny friend. Bonus: This works even when something isn’t funny. Try laughing right now and notice how it affects your mood.
4. Don’t Put Your Winter Coat On In Summer.
If it was a hot, 95-degree summer day and I was wearing a winter coat, you might wonder why. And if I told you “Because I know that in five months it will be cold out, and I am just preparing,” you might think I was a bit crazy. When you have anxious thoughts about what might happen in the future, such as “What if X happens,” and then emotionally react as if it is imminent, that is like wearing your winter coat in the summer. You are sweating for no reason. Sure, you want to plan for worst-case scenarios (analogous to having a winter coat in the closet in case you need it) but you don’t need to put it on … yet.
5. Be Careful What You Watch.
How often do you watch the news — on TV or via the Internet? One study found that, just watching three minutes of news in the morning can increase your chances of having a bad day, riddled with anxiety, by 27 percent. So try staying away from the news — for just one day. Instead, focus on positive and inspiring messages. My Facebook page is devoted to just that, so why not hop on over and join our community?
6. Use Failure to Your Advantage.
A perfectionistic, all-or-nothing, perfect-or-failure mindset can cause much anxiety. Thoughts such as “This has to be perfect or I will lose my job” and “I cannot mess this up” are actually signs of perfectionism. Sure, you want to be successful, and striving for excellence is commendable. However, if and when (because you are human) you get an outcome you didn’t want, don’t view it as failure, but rather as data. Look at the ingredients that went into the outcome and learn from them.
7. Optimize Your Nose.
While we may not always realize it, smells can have a significant impact on our mood. Try using scent to reduce your anxiety. Lavender, vanilla, jasmine and chamomile have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. Any of these essential oils (that you can put on your skin or use via an infuser) can be powerful anxiety-busters.