7 Simple Habits To Reduce Anxiety And Induce Relaxation
The habits we choose to engage in can aggravate stress and anxiety, or they can help induce lasting relaxation. Usually we don’t even know that we’re making our anxiety worse, something I had to learn the hard way.
You’ve already learned about the habits that make anxiety worse, so here are 7 habits that can reduce anxiety and instead induce relaxation!
CHALLENGING YOUR BODY
When I am exercising my entire focus is on how to do it correctly. This stops me from overthinking about things I have no control over.
In the beginning when my anxiety was really bad, the one hour I spent at the gym was the only time in the entire day where my mind was free of anxious thoughts.
When we exercise our body releases endorphins, and endorphins induce positive feelings in the body. These feel-good hormones can help us get through the day in a more relaxed manner.
Try to fit some time for light exercise into your daily routine, even if it’s only ten minutes. We don’t want to overwork our bodies, as this can actually have the opposite effect.
HEALTHY COPING MECHANISMS
Learning positive habits can be a great way to decrease anxiety, but sometimes the removal of negative habits can be just as effective.
Numerous studies have linked sleep deprivation, over-consumption of caffeine, and alcohol to increased anxiety. Cutting these habits out of your life can be the first step toward recovery.
If you’re also interested in starting positive habits you can try meditation, practicing a good sleep routine, or trading out your coffee for tea.
You can also try deep breathing whenever your anxiety gets bad. This is a relaxation technique that gets more effective the more we use it.
A practice session doesn’t have to last more than 5 minutes.
- Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position.
- Put one hand on your abdomen, right below the diaphragm and the other hand on your chest.
- Take a deep breath through your nose, and let your abdomen push your hand out. Make sure your chest doesn’t move.
- Breathe out through your mouth gently, and feel the hand on your belly go in, pushing all the air out.
- Take your time and do this slowly around 5 times.
ORGANIZING OUR LIVES
A disorganized life can be a main cause of anxiety and stress for a lot of people. Without us ever realizing, the mess and chaos around us can act as triggers.
Simple habits like making our bed every morning to clearing out old junk from shelves and closets can go a long way toward reducing anxiety and stress.
Creating routines has brought a lot of stability to my life, but make sure you’re not too rigid with it. It’s great to have discipline, but messing up a routine one day doesn’t have to be the cause of even more anxiety.
Definitely don’t be afraid to skip your routine if it ever gets in the way. Anything else would be counter-productive.
SHOWING SOME GRATITUDE
If we get into the habit of being grateful about even the smallest things, it’ll become easier to see the positive in every situation. This’ll help counter negative thoughts and reduce anxiety.
After a particularly stressful day you can try the simple gratitude exercise of picturing five things that you’re feeling grateful about right now. It doesn’t have to be something new or unique, it can still induce a feeling of relaxation and safety.
Showing gratitude to yourself can also be very important. Every morning, while brushing, look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are strong and that you matter.
This might seem juvenile initially, but numerous studies have proven that talking to and affirming oneself has positive effects on mood.
Understandably a habit of always showing gratitude can be a difficult one to start, but it becomes easier once you get the hang of it. What helped me in the beginning was a book by Viktor Frankl called “Man’s Search for Meaning”.
A great way to get into the habit can also be to start a gratitude journal where you write down things that make you happy and things you’re grateful for.
CLEANING UP OUR MINDS
Writing down your thoughts will give you a deeper understanding of your anxiety, making it easier to not lose control. Whenever you feel the symptoms of anxiety, examine your thoughts and write down the ones that cause worry.
Putting these anxious thoughts into words outside of yourself is the first step toward removing the influence they have over you. It gives you the possibility to view your anxiety in an objective manner.
The real potential of this exercise becomes clear when you later sit down to examine your anxious thoughts. Usually you’ll find that most or all of the thoughts are quite irrational, because anxiety itself is irrational. Armed with this deep knowledge, you’ll have an easier time dismissing and ignoring the anxious thoughts when they return later.
GETTING SOME FRESH AIR
Nature is said to be an excellent healer, and really something as simple as a walk through a nearby park could be the routine that helps you relax better.
Venturing outside also opens up the possibility for some very rewarding socialization. But I’m not asking you to strike up conversations with complete strangers, don’t worry. It’s great if you want to, but simply having people around you, even without interacting, can be very therapeutic.
Going out with a friend or a group of friends is the best of both worlds. If there’s someone you haven’t seen in a while and would like to, why not hit them up on Facebook? This can be a great way to clock in some socialization and outside time in one fell swoop.
If you’re looking for something more structured and organized you can look into joining a peer support group or even host your own! A strong support network is a prerequisite for any recovery.
SETTING ASIDE TIME FOR YOU
In this fast-paced world, we often forget to take care of ourselves. Often this kind of neglect can lead to more stress and anxiety. But more self care doesn’t need to mean expensive vacations and radical lifestyle changes.
Instead we can make it a habit to set aside time for things we love doing. Things that make us feel relaxed and fulfilled. Some will prefer sketching, baking, or cleaning. Others might prefer pedicures and shopping. Remember, this is your time, whatever YOU feel like doing is the correct activity.