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Four Ways to Reduce Anxiety

Anxiety can be very paralyzing. We can be anxious and not even know the reason.

Peony flowers
Finding beautiful things around you can help reduce anxiety, try it out!

Anxiety can be intermittent or feel constant. Here are some ways that may help you reduce your anxiety.

Try them all and see which one or two work the best at reducing your anxiety.

1. Don’t resist your anxiety!

Instead of resisting (trying to escape) your anxiety, embrace it! Sounds counter intuitive, right? Actually, when you resist your anxiety, it can actually increase the amount of anxiety you are feeling! Relax! Normalize your anxiety. Say out loud to yourself “Oh yeah, I’m feeling anxious again. I know this feeling and it will not last forever” or whatever other statement can help you to embrace your anxiety. Then move on to items 2-4 below.

2. Breathe!

Deep breathing can activate the parasympathetic (our calming system) and deactivate the sympathetic system (our fight-or-flight system). Try using the 4-7-8 method: breathe in through the nose for 4 counts, hold your breath for 7 counts and breathe out through the mouth for 8 or more counts. The longer the exhale, the better, so stretch it out!

3. Counting!

Count backwards from 100 by 7s or if you are really a good mathematician, start at 1,462 and count backwards by 7s! Putting your concentration on subtracting can reduce anxiety! It’s true, try it!

4. Touch Something – Go Tactical!

We have many nerve endings in our hands and feet. When you are feeling anxious, use your hands to touch various items around you. Everything has texture, even smooth leather. Use your hands to touch the chair you are sitting in, the sweater you are wearing, the wall beside you, etc.

Try removing your shoes and socks and use your feet to feel the wood floor, carpet, grass or sand. Concentrating on these tactical feelings can assist to take your attention away from your anxiety – lessening it.


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