30 great ways to reduce Anxiety and Stress

Bong1I have been working a lot recently in Reverse Therapy with clients who are stressed or anxious and am frequently asked for my list of remedies that work for either. So here goes:
  • Learn how to control Headmind. See previous articles on this subject, in this blog here.
  • Exercise. Few things can help relax you more quickly than a bit of vigorous exercise. Whether you box, jog or play a game of tennis, aerobic exercise will release endorphins, thereby improving your mood, eliminating tension and giving you a natural high. 
  • Meditate. When you think you are getting overwhelmed,  take at least ten minutes out to clear your mind of worries and meditate. If you have trouble doing it alone, try using a guided tape, or a Binaural Beat CD.  
  • Focus on the breath. Concentrating on your breathing is a powerful way to promote inner calm. Increase the number of counts as you breathe out, and then in, from 3 to 8. Then reduce the count from 8 back to 3, slowly. This is one of the oldest known meditational techniques in history: at least 4000 years old. 
  • Use Yoga. You can learn how to use Yoga from a group or personal instructor, or even from a DVD. Our work in Reverse Therapy shows that Yoga is an exceptionally effective antidote to Headmind-produced stress.
  • Use Tai Chi. See previous item as similar advice applies.
  • Focus on an Eye-Movement Program. You can learn how to do this by going to a an article I wrote about how to do that here.
  • Take a Break. Force yourself to break away from what is bugging you and do something pleasant that is completely unrelated.
  •  Slow down. Most people when they get anxious do everything faster, so deliberately slow down your movements, and the speed at which you are doing things.
  • Talk slowly. See previous item. Speak at 50% of the speed at which you were talking before, with frequent pauses in between sentences.
  • Think slowly. This is usually effective while you are taking a break. Slow down the speed at which Headmind is racing around its worries by recalling a calming memory, situation or person.
  • Let the past go. If you’re stressing out about something bad that happened yesterday then keep your attention on the here and now. Focus on something important to you and ‘drown out’ the internal control freak who wants to keep going over problems.
  • Let go of the need for control over events.  You can’t control the events that happen to you; only your response to those events. Focus on what you can do, rather than what is not in your power to do.
  • Laughter. A good laugh releases endorphins. So either mix with people who make you laugh or watch one of your favourite comedies.
  • Limit your intake of caffeine. Caffeine is a unnaturally strong stimulant and adds existing anxiety, making you worse than otherwise. If you’re stressed then avoid drinking coffee and other caffeine-based beverages.
  • Use lavender oil. Research suggests that lavender oil is one of the most effective calming agents available. One reason for its effectiveness is that it works through the olfactory centres in the brain; smells are particularly powerful.  Try lighting a candle or putting some lavender oil on your skin, or in a bath to help you relax.
  • Drink green tea. Green tea contains theanine, an amino-acid which improves mood and reduces arousal.
  • Use herbal supplements. If you’re into natural remedies you may want to consider taking some herbal supplements like valerian root or passion flower. Both of these were extensively used in the Middle Ages as natural tranquillizers.
  • Eat dark chocolate. For reasons not yet clearly understood, dark, bitter, chocolate increases endorphin release. Chili has a similar effect.
  • Take a shower or bath. This does not work for everybody but many people find that bathing increases calm. That may be because of the slow down-effect noted elsewhere in this article/
  • Get a massage. See last item. But effectiveness of this strategy depends on the skill of the masseur or masseuse – so select your practitioner wisely. But you can also use self-massage or the EFT movements.
  • Create variety. If you love to browse bookstores, take long walks in the park, or if you have a favourite hobby, or game, then take more time out of your day to do those things.
  • Work at simple chores. This doesn’t work for everybody but many of my clients find that some chores help then wind down. For me it is washing up the dishes but others report that gardening, hoovering, cleaning, tidying up or clearing things away, make them feel better afterwards.
  • Spend time with a pet. Playing with, walking focusing on your pet’s needs is a useful distraction from worry – it also tends to raise endorphin release.
  • Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t. When you’re faced with what looks like an overwhelming problem, focus on small, concrete, steps you can work on today, rather than worrying about ‘big’ solutions that might never happen.
  • Avoid people who make things worse. If you are indulging in worry yourself then avoid other people – no matter how well-meaning – who worry, exaggerate problems, have doom-laden opinions, or who keep asking you ‘whether you are going to be ok?’.
  • Put on some music. Music is another powerful trigger for endorphin release. Always keep your favourite tracks available to you on your ipod whether you are at home, out and about, or at work. It only takes 5 minutes.
  • Ask for help. If you really just have too much on your plate then don’t hold back from asking people for help. Too often, anxious people are people with a banana which dictates that asking for a help is a sign of weakness. Do not make that mistake.
  • Use the word ‘No’ more often. It’s simple, powerful, and incredibly effective when you are up against it. if you have a phobia about it, try practicing it when standing in front of the mirror.
  • Make time to be with people who love you. This is possibly the most important item on the list. Do it now.

 

 

 

 

 

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