Feeling a little stressed out? One of the hallmarks of anxiety is its inconvenience.
There’s really no great time to be anxious, but it sure does seem to kick in when we least expect it. Check out these strange, yet effective, ways to put your anxiety in its place.
1. Sing Out Loud
Sing your favorite song, or sing whatever else you’d like. Just do it out loud, and as loudly as possible. The vibrations caused by singing calm and relax humans naturally. To enjoy an even more transformative experience, try singing in a group or a choir. If you’re just looking to relieve a little anxiety, however, singing on your own can be extremely effective.
2. Literally fight it off
Working out can help relieve anxiety, as the feel-good endorphins pumping through your body will naturally reduce stress. Boxing, though, can be particularly effective. Boxing lets you visualize your sources of stress or anxiety, your problems and concerns, on the punching bag…and then you get to beat the daylights out of them. Anxiety is often calmed by exercises that combine a visual approach to dealing with stress. So boxing might just be the perfect exercise for you. We’ve got one of these cool standing punching bags in our basement, and it would easily fit into an office corner.
3. Power through chores
A messy or disorganized home can lead to increased levels of anxiety. Our physical surroundings contribute to our anxiety levels as much as the people around us do: a nice, neat, organized home begets a nice, neat, organized mind, so a cluttered, dirty, disorganized home…I’ll bet you can connect the dots here. In addition to physically relieving your anxiety and stress by actively creating endorphins through the physical action of cleaning, your organized, decluttered, clean environment will be a more enjoyable home to return to…a place where you actually can de-stress.
4. Draw or color
A friend of mine gave me a coloring book designed for adults for Christmas last year and coloring in it has become part of my nightly routine. Drawing or coloring creates a simple, relaxing way to focus on something without that something being too complicated or difficult. Adult coloring books are super-trendy right now, and for good reason: they are excellent therapeutic tools as well as easy ways to “zone out” and at the same time keep your focus on an activity that is inherently relaxing.
5. Eat deliciously
Certain foods are effective anti-anxiety combatants, such as dark chocolate, omega-3 fatty acids and citrus fruits. Dark chocolate provides antioxidants while boosting your mood and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Omega-3s, abundant in avocados, fatty fish, flaxseed and walnuts, are proven to lower anxiety and depression. And citrus fruits are high in good old vitamin C, a potent antioxidant. Also, just the scent of oranges is enough to make me smile…how about you?
6. Say the alphabet backwards
The focus and concentration required to say the alphabet backwards will give your mind a break from whatever it’s noodling on. The next time you feel anxious, step away from the situation and start with Z. This one’s effectiveness will surprise you.
7. Be grateful
Numerous studies have shown and works have been written about the effects of gratitude on anxiety. Start a gratitude journal or make gratitude lists when you start to feel anxious or stressed out. Getting yourself out of yourself and thinking about the things you really appreciate in your life is a great way to gain perspective and calm down, already.
Feeling calmer yet? The cool thing about any of the above-listed items is that they can all be done fairly quickly and easily. (Even the cleaning your house one. You don’t have to clean your whole house; taking a few minutes to declutter a kitchen countertop or put away laundry can be incredibly helpful for anxiety.)