Do you feel more anxious these days as a result of checking into your social media accounts or turning on the news? Are you having trouble sleeping, focusing on your work, or forgetting little things? Do you worry about your children's future, struggle to stay present, or procrastinate? Are you drawn to the news of the hour even though doing so results in more worry or anxiety? Are you struggling to get your work done because you keep checking Facebook? Do you sometimes wish you could turn it all off and go lie down in a field of wildflowers? You can, and here are six tips to help you cultivate more peace, calm, balance, and hope in your life:
Breathe. It sounds so obvious. Learning to breathe deeply and slowly for a couple of minutes when you feel anxious can help you feel more calm. You can do this anywhere—at your desk at work, at home, or before turning in for the night. Count your breaths in and out as you go, and pay close attention to the rise and fall of your belly. Deep breathing has been shown to lower blood pressure, help you relax, reduce stress, and aid sleep.
Be Mindful. Notice your anxiety or worry without judgment. It's okay to allow anxiety or worry to be there, but strive to return to the breath. If this is difficult to do, try a guided mindfulness video or audio. You can find them available as apps, on You Tube, or on the web. Many are only two or three minutes long, and you should be able to fit them into your daily routine. Being mindful means being more present, and less anxious.
Take a Break. Set your phone on silent. Resist checking your Facebook account or other social media for a set time, like 10 minutes or longer. Don't respond to text messages immediately. Resist looking at your favorite media-related websites while you are at work. Honor your boundaries, and allow yourself to maintain focus and purpose.
Engage In Varied Activities. Go for a walk. Push back from the computer. Tend to your garden. Play with the dog. Go running or take a hike. Play your guitar. Catch up with a friend. Involving yourself in enjoyable activities can provide a welcome break from stress. Focusing on others can take the focus off your own worry and preoccupations.
Get Enough Rest. Decide what time you want to go to bed each night, and stick to it. Set a reminder on your device. Devise a bedtime routine that works for you, and stick to things that enhance sleep readiness. You might like to get into bed with a good book, do mindfulness exercises, or practice your deep breathing.
Cultivate Change. Draw nearer those whom you love and those from whom you find reassurance and comfort. Be the change you wish and hope for the world. If you want to live in a world that is more accepting of difference, embody that difference. If you seek more understanding from others, model understanding wherever you go. If you struggle to be heard, start listening. If you long for more kindness in the world, start with being kind to yourself.
Taking time to make some of these shifts in your routine can make a difference in how you feel and how you think. It sounds so simplistic, or too good to be true. But all it takes is being deliberate, and then putting it into regular practice. So often we would like to gain relief from worry, stress, or anxiety in our lives and in our world. We try different things, and then we often don't stick with it. Find something that you are likely to stick with and try it, rinse, and repeat.
To find out more about my services click here: Anxiety Counseling
Diana M. Pash, MA, LMFT is a certified Solution-Focused therapist in private practice in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. To find out more about Diana click here: Diana Pash Therapy