Anxiety Reducing Daily Rituals
This year the theme for Mental Health Awareness week is Anxiety. Something so many of us know oh too well, and while it may have been somewhat of a buzzword recently, with social media finally shining a light on that horrible, gut wrenching feeling that can be be like a black cloud over your day, we also live in a world that both causes and heightens said feeling.
Whilst it may be unavoidable, there are steps you can take (albeit baby steps) that could help reduce those anxious feelings and maybe take the edge off day to day life in general.
Phone free morning
It’s all too easy to roll over the moment you open your eyes and reach for that little rectangle of doom, and so it begins, the scrolling, the self comparison, the bombardment of emails, the twitter bickering, whatever your phone forté, you can be sure that starting your day off without it will only do good things for your mental health. Instead, ease yourself into the day slowly with the sounds of the world waking up floating in from outside, the sun creeping in between the blinds or just a cup of coffee and a moment alone with your thoughts rather than picking up your phone straight away and letting the hustle and bustle of daily life come down on you like a tonne of bricks.
Move ya bod!
Exercise, whether it’s a sweaty hiit class, some meditative yoga or a relaxing walk out in nature. Exercise in every and any form is great for your body and your mind. It releases a rush of endorphins or ‘happy hormones’ that enhance your sense of well being and in turn ease the feelings of anxiety.
Talk it out
Anxiety can be a funny one ‘cause it’s often hard to pinpoint and can show itself in so many ways. From an odd feeling of impending doom, to overwhelming negativity, a knot in your stomach that won’t go away to tears and panic attacks. Because of this difficulty to recognise so many people bottle their feelings up, or don’t feel they’re worthy of recognition. But getting your feelings out in the open and recognising anxious thoughts can be so helpful in the battle towards conquering them. So talk to a friend, a family member, a Doctor or even start with an online chatroom. It may feel overwhelming to begin with but just getting those thoughts and feelings out will truly validate you and help make those first necessary steps towards eradicating them
In a moment when you feel those intrusive thoughts creeping in and think anxiety might be able to get its grubby little grip on you, think about your breathing and focus on that. You may have heard about specific exercises and while they may help don’t over complicate things. Focus on deep breathing, even inhale, even exhale and feel your mind slow down and re-center. Try this every day as a way of meditation, just a few minutes to kick off your day where the focus sits entirely on your breath, you’ll be amazed at what a difference it can make.
Not so sweet
You may not know this but sugar can actually worsen anxious feelings. Which may sound odd when, let’s be honest, chocolate is one of the most comforting things in life, right? But it turns out it can do more harm than good when it comes to anxiety. So step away from the Nutella, put down those Haribo and go for something a little more wholesome, lots of water and some good protein will prevent a surge in blood sugar and give you a more stable, slow release of energy that your body can use to recover.