Anxiety affects us all. It’s a normal, healthy emotion designed to protect us from risk to our health and well-being. It’s when anxiety becomes constant, and irrational fears begin to interfere with our daily life, that it becomes unhealthy.
Perpetual worry affects the way we feel, how we think, and how we behave. Anxiety can create a downward spiral of emotions and trigger unhealthy behaviour and actions.
To fight back against onset acute anxiety, TAKE ACTION!
Action is the enemy of anxiety. It takes anxiety’s power away and gives it back to you.
Are you ready to take action? Use these simple but highly effective exercises to relieve anxiety when it surfaces.
With focus, deep belly-breathing is the easiest way to relax your body and calm your mind. Studies have shown that belly-breathing slows the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, soothes the nervous system, and produces a deep sense of relaxation.
Whether you have occasional stress or persistent anxiety attacks, belly-breathing will help refocus your thoughts and quiet your emotions.
Give belly-breathing a try.
Step #1: Sit comfortably in an upright chair or lay down on your back with your knees bent. Close your eyes and breathe naturally through your nose. Become aware of your breathing, and the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves your nostrils.
Step #2: Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Now breath in slowly through your nose for a count of four, feeling your stomach rise gently against your hand as the air fills your lungs. The hand on your chest should remain still.
Step #3: Hold your breath for a count of three, and exhale through your lips for a count of four, contracting your stomach muscles, letting them fall inward as you relax.
Step #4: Clear your mind and focus on your breath. When thoughts arise, and your mind begins to wander, simply observe the intrusion, let it float away, and bring your attention back to your breath.
Step #5: Repeat the 4-3-4 breathing count 10 times or until your mind has settled. Once you’ve become comfortable with belly breathing, extend the inhalations and exhalations for a five count and then a six count.
PUSH-UPS, SIT-UPS & JUMPING JACKS
High intensity bursts of exercise are a quick and effective treatment for an anxiety attack.
Performing old-school calisthenics like push-ups, sit-ups and jumping jacks that are simple but require complete mental and physical attention to accomplish, can provide instant relief from anxiety.
Getting active releases endorphins that trigger feelings of pleasure and reduce the perception of pain. Just 5 minutes of vigorous physical exercise has been proven to reduce the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
For immediate relief of anxiety stress, complete the following circuit of exercises to the point of total physical and psychological exhaustion. 5 rounds should do it.
- 10 Push-Ups
- 30 Jumping Jacks
- 10 Sit-Ups
Repeat x 5
When you’re finished your anxiety will be gone and as a bonus you’ll have completed a pretty decent workout.
Or if this circuit seems too daunting, just choose one exercise. Do jumping jacks until you’re too tired to stand. Just get your body moving, to get your mind moving in the right direction.
It doesn’t get easier than singing. Meditative breathing can be tricky, and high intensity exercise is definitely not for everyone, but everyone can SING.
Anytime, anywhere, if you’re feeling anxious or stressed out, sing.
When you sing, your brain releases “feel-good” endorphins which produce pleasure feelings, and the “love hormone” oxytocin which enhances your feelings of trust and bonding. Both are powerful anxiety and depression fighting chemicals that act as tranquilizers to calm the mind and lift the spirit.
Singing also creates musical vibrations in our cells and stimulate the vagus nerve regulating our breathing and activating the relaxation response of our parasympathetic nervous system.
So, crank up your favourite tunes, and sing you heart and anxiety out!
If constant anxiety and stress has become a negative influence in your life, don’t wait to get help. Contact your doctor or seek out professional help to discuss treatment options.