Can you recall the last time you felt anxious? What was that related to? How did you feel at that moment? We all go from time to time to short-term anxiety. Is this useful, I would ask? Does being anxious help you better cope with ambiguity and clarity? That is a question for you to let sink and observe what happens in your daily life.
Photo Credit: Bipolarskates
Here are some tips on what you can do to reduce anxiety:
1. Loving-Kindness Meditation
A 30-minute session of meditation has been scientifically proven to show moderate evidence of improving anxiety. The meditative state induces a state of relaxation both for the body and the mind. While cultivating inner peace, you can also work on observing your thoughts and emotions, which are usually triggering the anxiety, from afar without identifying with them.
Practising loving-kindness meditation can be the first step in reducing anxiety. During the meditation session you focus on compassionate thoughts not only towards others, but also towards yourself. So, it might give you another level of assessing and understanding the situation that you are anxious about. What if you did not focus on the situation and its possible negative outcome? What if you were to let it happen and take it from there?
2. Practise mindfulness
Stay present. Notice when you start becoming anxious. Ask yourself: am I worrying about a real situation or is this only a projection of something that could happen in the future? Can I do something now to change my present situation?
Something that helps is also not coming up with a solution or an answer straight away. Take five minutes, go for a walk, observe what is happening in the present moment. Or just focus on mindfully breathing for five minutes. Now, reassess your situation.
3. Rest, Eat Healthy & Exercise
A healthy lifestyle, whatever you decide it is, will support you in gaining more clarity over your present state. The human body releases stress during sleep. Apart from having a healthy sleeping pattern, take “pause moments” throughout the day. One minute every hour to close your eyes and let go of everything else.
Certain foods can support you in reducing anxiety. More cheese, peanut butter, nuts, sesame seeds, oats, milk, poultry and bananas to your diet will increase serotonin levels. Serotonin is a chemical produced by the human body, responsible for mood balance. Alcohol and caffeine consumption can create mood swings and interfere with sleep. Better to avoid. Keep your body hydrated since water deprivation can also have an impact on your mood.
Exercise regularly. Just like meditation, it keeps your mind focused on the present moment. The less the mind wanders, the more you reduce the chances of becoming anxious about a situation that you think might be out of your control.
Is there someone in your life who always anticipates the worst possible outcome? How does that work for them? Would you like to be that person? Stay in the moment of now. Change your focus on the present and see what happens.