Tips for reducing anxiety

Breathing exercises

One of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce anxiety is to stop for a few minutes and to focus on your breathing.  Find somewhere quiet if possible, and just focus on your breathing. 

Slow it down.  Placing your hand on your stomach can help you do this.  Feel your hand move as you breath in and out.  Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.  

To help you to slow your breathing down and to make it even, it is best to count as you breath.  Breath in for a regular count of 5,7 or 9 and then hold your breath for a second or two.  Then, slowly exhale for a count that is slightly longer than your in-breath.

By focusing on your breathing you can leave whatever is causing your anxiety for a little while.  Taking this time out can be enough to reduce anxiety levels quite a lot.

As you practice this technique you will become more aware of your body and where you are holding tension.  Thus allowing you to relax those muscles and improve your posture and overall well-being.  

This works because regulating and slowing our breathing triggers the Vagus nerve to send signals to our brain, heart, lungs and nervous system that we are calm and in control.    Thus reducing anxiety and stress.

 

Mindfulness

This is the technique of focusing completely on an object or experience.  On all of the attributes.  How an object feels in your hand, to its colour, texture, density, and anything else you can see, hear or experience of the object or experience you are focusing on.

By focusing or being mindful you give your brain a break from its everyday experiences.  This type of brain-break can reduce anxiety and stress as most people naturally become more relaxed and calm.  

It is not always an easy thing to accomplish but practice certainly helps.  An easy one to start with can be an object you are familiar with.  Look at the object and try to see something that you hadn’t noticed before. 

See all the colours, fonts (if there is writing), textures and weight of the object.  Is there any sound the object makes? Does anything change if the light changes or if you change the way you hold it?

The most important thing about being mindful is to slow down, and take the time to really experience.  We often see things or experience something on a regular basis but don’t truly experience or see it properly.  By practicing mindfulness you will not only help to reduce your anxiety and stress, but also enrich your life.