Is this a picture of you?
Your shoulders sit close to ears throughout the day due to tension and stress.
Your breathing is shallow, or you sometimes catch yourself holding your breath.
Thoughts race around your brain that bring stress and anxiety, without a way to shut them off.
This WAS a picture of me.
Some days I became aware that I hadn’t taken a deep breath. How long has it been since you have? My shoulders would creep up during the day as the stress around me accelerated. When I would remember to settle down and relax a bit, I’d finally take control and let my shoulders ease back down to where they belong.
Then there’s those pesky thoughts. They would hit me as I was trying to fall asleep, or on the way into work, or especially Sunday night before the work week would start. I was trying to solve work problems, or be extra creative about work issues so I could stand out, or just work out what I had to do. I was never peaceful.
The following techniques will help you right away. However, pick some to incorporate into your everyday living for a healthier, happier you. To do this, it will take practice, Change requires consistency. I know you can do this, because I have!
This term is a buzz word thrown around a lot. Let’s just call it recognizing this very moment. Here’s one simple example of a way I’ve done this. I have a very skittish cat. He runs when I come into a room, and I’ve had him for over 8 years! Curiously, when I sit down in my office chair, that’s when he finds me, because he loves to sit on my lap. For as long as he will stay on my lap, I practice recognizing the “in the moment thing.” I think about how soft he is to touch, how warm it is to have him on my lap, and how he is finally calm (and now so am I). I try to think this way as long as he stays on me, which varies from just a minute to maybe 5 minutes. I’ve found it’s a wonderful brain break. I realize that I feel like I freed up my brain just a little when he jumps down. You can easily do this with anything you choose, even if you don’t have a cat!
You might be saying right now, what is she talking about? Well, just that. Stop. Just for a second or two and blank out your thoughts. Practice this. How this works for me is, I picture an open space in my brain. Just a blank space. And, I keep it blank by saying to myself the word, "calm." Thoughts start to bombard me while doing it, and sometimes I go with them. Yet, I've practiced having space in my thinking now and then, to keep myself from overthinking everything again and again. It's a calming technique that helps me start over, renewed on my day.
Take a deep breath.
I’m serious about this one. We need oxygen, and breathing shallow won’t help your body and brain! Set your watch or put a reminder on your calendar or try to do this every time you get up to use the bathroom throughout the day. Breathe in deeply through your nose until you feel like you have filled up all your lung capacity. Now slowly let the air out. If you’re in a state of high anxiety, release the air quickly like you are expelling stress with it, getting rid of it fast. Repeat a few times. Your body and brain will thank you.
These are just a few exercises to try. There's many more! But try starting here to help yourself calm down, ease anxiety, and feel healthier.