My Top 4 Tips for Anxiety
Anxiety is a word I've been hearing more frequently lately. It feels like a common theme that I'm seeing others experiencing that have been heightened since the beginning of the year. This week I'd like to focus on my top tips to help reduce anxiety, especially in the moment it surfaces, to help bring support and self-care to anyone else that can relate.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) roughly 18% of the population experience some form of anxiety, collectively making it the most common mental disorder in the US. That’s over 40 million Americans over the age of 18 who deal with anxiety, not including children under the age of 18.
I am one of those 40 million and my anxiety started in my childhood. I didn’t even really know what anxiety was until I was diagnosed after some physical ailments popped up that led me to be hospitalized for several days when I was 18. When my doctors put me on anti-anxiety medication I realized I had been having anxiety attacks at various times during high school but kept it a secret and never told anyone. I didn’t want anyone to think I was weak or couldn’t handle everything that was on my plate.
The doctors couldn’t tell me much about the physical ailments I was having but I knew enough to understand that I was stressed and that the stress was affecting my body. It was after this experience that I began my journey to understand the mind-body connection.
Here are some practical steps I’ve learned along the way that you can try out.
Top 4 Tips for when Anxiety comes knocking:
1) Breathe - This is my instant go-to #1 technique. But the trick here is to make sure your exhale is longer than your inhale. Focus on your breath, and make sure your exhale is at least 2 seconds longer than your inhale. Then you’ll have a chance to slow down and re-center. Where the breath goes the mind follows. Don’t overlook this simple tip, it makes a big difference.
2) Be Present - After adjusting your breath, pick 5 things in your current surroundings that you can see, hear, feel, or smell. Focus momentarily on each one. Anxiety can often stem from a fear of the future and this technique allows us to see that we are ok in the moment.
3) Positive Affirmation - A positive affirmation is a message that resonates with your personal truth and feelings, that helps achieve focus and inspire your spirit. You can find affirmations online or write your own. Once you have one that you like, keep it somewhere that where you can reference it during the day when needed, until you have it memorized. One of my favorites that you can try is from Louise Hay “In this moment all is well. I am safe. There is nowhere I have to go and nothing I have to do. I relax my body and my mind. I am grateful for this moment.”
4) Essential Oils - I’ve really enjoyed utilizing essential oils for various reasons, including assisting with anxiety. Some of my favorites to keep on hand for this reason are Lavender, Bergamot, Patchouli & Frankincense. Take a big whiff of the oil and/or dilute a couple of drops with a carrier oil (ex: almond or jojoba oil) and place it on the nape of your neck, the insides of your wrists, and the bottoms of your feet. I highly recommend finding a pure organic essential oil.
Give one (or all) of these a try if you find yourself in moments of anxiety. My hope is that they bring you the same relief that they’ve brought me.