Ways to Reduce Anxiety in Stressful Times
What a difference a week makes, huh? Until now, we were enjoying our daily lives in a decent economy. Now many of us are quarantined in our homes. As a result, store shelves are devoid of some essentials on a daily basis. Businesses are closed, or severely limited in the services they can provide. It’s an understatement to say we are living in one of the most stressful times in recent history. But fortunately, there are a number of ways to reduce anxiety in stressful times.
This post is sponsored by Calm, the #1 app for sleep, meditation and relaxation. I only work with brands that I use or believe would benefit my readers.
One of the most effective ways to reduce anxiety in stressful times is to practice mindfulness and meditation.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of purposefully bringing your mind’s attention to the present moment. Most of us are constantly focusing on the next task, worrying about the future, or reliving the past. Mindfulness trains us to focus on the experiences and physical sensations of the present moment.
After all, the present moment is the only one that truly exists right now. We can’t change the past, nor do we have complete control of the future.
How Mindfulness Can Help Relieve Stress
“Mindfulness is for those yogi-types, and that’s not me”. This was my limited understanding of mindfulness. I’m more of a weights and cardio type of girl. Therefore, I was resistant to trying it at first. I was too busy and didn’t think 10 minutes a day could really make a difference. But in light of recent events, I found myself becoming more and more anxious and stressed.
Soon I realized that being bombarded by negative and stressful thoughts was not sustainable. For that reason, I decided to give mindfulness and meditation a try, but didn’t know where to start. Fortunately, I recently discovered a phone app called “Calm“.
After doing a little research, I discovered the app won Apple’s 2017 Best IPhone app of the year award and Best of 2018 Award Winner. Apparently, I’m late to the party, because millions of users have already downloaded it. The app is currently #2 in Health and Fitness apps.
How would you like Matthew McConaughey to read you a bedtime story? Or maybe learn how to train your mind with LeBron James? There’s also soothing music, breathing exercises, and more!
The app even includes mindfulness sessions and stories for kids.
All I can say is AMAZING! As you open the app, you are greeted the soothing sounds of birds and trickling water. The app has many different tools for mindfulness and relaxation, including videos for gentle stretching, guided meditations, masterclasses, and soothing music.
I’ve been doing the “Daily Calm‘, which features guided 10 minute meditations that have a different focus each day. Since then, I’ve noticed a big difference in my mood for the day. I have a more positive mindset, and I feel much more relaxed.
More ways to reduce anxiety in stressful times.
Get plenty of sleep.
Although it can be tough to sleep when you’re feeling anxious, it’s important to your physical and mental health to get plenty of rest. Sleep helps your body reboot and repair itself. Your mind can think more clearly after a good night’s rest.
The Calm app has tools to help with this as well. You can choose from one of the many sleep stories and guided meditations designed to help you relax before bed.
Write your thoughts in a journal.
Another great way to reduce anxiety during stressful times writing your thoughts down. Writing can help you process your worry and stress by providing a release.
In addition, releasing thoughts and feelings can prevent you from ruminating on them for too long. It also prevents you from projecting your angst on others. And if you’re currently at home with your family, it’s more important than ever to stay calm and keep the peace.
A journal is also a good way to switch your focus to what you are grateful for. Now more than ever we need to focus on what we still have to be grateful for.
Limit your exposure to negativity
Social media can be a great way to stay connected with friends. But as we all know, it can be the source of a lot of misinformation and people arguing over facts and politics. Limit the amount of time you spend on social media to just a few minutes a day. Get your information from reliable sources instead. This rings true even when we are NOT in times of crisis.
Limit the amount of time you spend watching or listening to the news. Check it for critical updates once or twice during the day, but then turn it off. Do something productive to give your mind a break from the negativity.
Stay Connected to family and friends
I am so grateful, especially in times like these, that we have the technology available to keep us connected. We can make this time of social distancing less lonely by calling, texting or even video chatting with friends and family.
I’ve even started to see musicians hold virtual “mini-concert” events on Facebook. Others are throwing virtual “happy hours” to have drinks while chatting with friends on video conferences.
Use this time to catch up with old friends or distant family members you haven’t talked to in a while. Laughing and reminiscing are good for the soul. Maybe even send someone an unexpected gift to lift their spirits.
Final Food for Thought
As we all ride out this storm together, it’s important that we take care of ourselves, but also are friends and neighbors. We can be a calming force in their lives by remaining calm and healthy ourselves. Events like this remind us of how things can change in an instant, which is why it is so important to BE PRESENT and grateful for each blessing we have.
With that, I hope you all remain safe, strong, and positive. Stay calm and look out for each other!
P.S. If you try out the Calm app and love it, please share this post with your friends so they can receive the discount, too!