Stress and anxiety are not the same. Sure, you can mix and match the symptoms, similar to the way you change a food recipe. However, the one major difference between stress and anxiety is you don’t need a reason to be anxious. You see, with stress, you typically have a cause such as finances or having to be somewhere on time. On the other hand, anxiety is kind of like a pop-in guest, it can show up for no apparent reason. (Perhaps that is why I am not a fan of pop-ins.)
Once you accept stress is going to happen, it is part of life and actually can make things more interesting, you become more psychologically resilient. Rather than take the wind out of your sails, see stress as a great propeller to move onward. It turns out having an attitude where you embrace stress can make you less susceptible to anxiety.
Here are five additional tips for starting off the year anxiety-free:
1. Describe Your Sensations
Many people with anxiety think about how overwhelmed they feel, and rather than describe what is happening inside their bodies instead they create a story in their head. The story typically begins with things like, I feel bad about this, I worry about that, or this will probably happen. Rather than feed into the narrative, instead, notice and describe your sensations. Anxiety typically shows up as tension, tight, hot or a pit like feeling in the stomach. Describing your sensations (out loud to self or jotted down) externalizing the symptoms is a way to free yourself from this cycle.
2. Press Your Reset Button
There are three points roughly an inch above your navel, (an inch apart) side by side. Press each point with two fingers. Hold each one for the count of three while sitting or standing up tall. After releasing take a deep breath. Do this when you find yourself drifting off into worrisome thoughts. All you have to do is get in the vicinity of these points to be effective.
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3. Ditch the Drama
Drama happens when you react to rather than feel your emotions. If you find yourself firing off quick texts out of frustration, irritation or anger, darling take a deep breath and choose to be present to what is happening inside of you rather than outside. Consider limiting drama triggers such as watching too much news or spending large amounts of time on social media.
4. Move Your Body
One of the quickest ways to rid yourself of anxiety is to exercise. Consider going to a class with a friend, taking a walk outside, yoga or jumping into a pickup game of basketball. Exercise doesn’t just train your physical body to be stronger and leaner but also it trains your brain to think less and breath more.
5. Challenge Your Thoughts
It is normal to have fearful or doubtful thoughts sometimes. Give yourself permission to challenge these thoughts in the New Year. The research suggests using your own name to really get your point across. For example, if you think to yourself, I will never get in shape, challenge it by saying, Sheri, you can do it, break it down into small steps.
Sherianna Boyle is the author of seven books, her most recent being: "Emotional Detox: 7 Steps to Releasing Toxicity and Energizing Joy." She is a professional speaker and adjunct Psychology Professor. You can find her Emotional Detox: Building Better Boundaries so you can create a life of confidence and ease at Spirituality & Health. She is also the founder of C.L.E.A.N.S.E Yoga which is featured in her Emotional Detox Retreat at Kripalu Health & Yoga Center, Feb 2019. You can find her at www.sheriannaboyle.com.
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