Updated: May 20, 2019
3 quick, easy tricks to calm your mind right now
Anxiety is a state of being that is turning into a full blown disorder in many, many people's lives, 1 in 13 globally that is! We live in a time where stress hormones readily build up (with so many stressful factors throughout our day), but are not easily and readily released. Which creates imbalances in our body and these imbalances lead to a number of symptoms, anxiety being a common one. In humanity's distant past, stress would build by cortisol and adrenaline spikes and we would act on it, immediately- kind of like our kids do🙃. Today, stress builds up and we keep going, on to the next one. Pile on environmental toxins that create more imbalances in the gut and our hormones,🌀the cycle continues and your body is in a constant state of rebalancing creating more stress on the detoxing organs, and around we go.
Anxiety affects 40 million adults in the United States alone (1 in 13 globally)! Women being 60% more likely to develop anxiety when compared to men.
While it is important to note that complete healing of an anxiety disorder requires a lot (diet and lifestyle changes, therapy, spiritual healing, etc.) I want to give you three simple and quick techniques you can do right now, wherever you are to ease the tension and bring you back to your sanity- and no, its not counting backwards from 10...or 100 (cuz sometimes 10 is not enough 😂).
1- Breath work
Breathing, as you may already know, is very therapeutic. Certain kinds of breathing brings us into a parasympathetic state. If you are not familiar with sympathetic and parasympathetic states, let me break it down super quick: your sympathetic nervous system is responsible for your flight or fight response, aka the fear based, stress causing, anxiety ridden state of being. Its great if you need to react fast to an external danger, if you are working out, etc. Not great when you are constantly living in this state. On the other hand your parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for resting and digesting, think healing and cleansing, and growing, this is the one where we feel relaxed, this is where you wanna live.
If you are dealing with anxiety you are definitely in the sympathetic state (and yeah its pretty pathetic😂 but I can sympathize). Puns or no puns, this is definitely not a fun state to be in, so to bring yourself out of this mind frame you need to breath, deeply and mindfully.
Start NOW by placing your hand on your belly (right on top of the bellybutton)
Take one deep breath in, feel it fill your lungs, opening the diaphragm, and expanding the belly.
Hold it in while filling your entire body with love and lightness.
As you exhale the breath, release with it all the tension, stress, and anxiety that you are feeling.
Repeat this now but with counts
Take a deep breath in, filling the lungs while counting to 4.
Hold the breath in for 7 counts while filling the body with love and light.
Exhale all your stress and anxiety for 8 counts, allowing all the air to leave your lungs.
R e p e a t , r e p e a t , r e p e a t .
Repeat this until your anxiety has evaporated away, transforming into little light particles that hold no weight over you or your life.
2. Mindful Gratitude
Mindfulness is a powerful tool to return to in any moment in your life, whether anxiety ridden or even in bliss. It centers us and brings us to the now, the present moment and everything seems to suddenly flow better. Add in some simple gratitude and you have a recipe for happiness. There you go guys, I found the answer to one of life's biggest questions 😉.
Gratitude keeps us humble and in a state of abundance. It removes us from the society driven idea of scarcity and reminds us, at even the worst of times, that there is still something beautiful within us.
You can do this exercise anywhere, speaking out loud or just thinking quietly in your own head. If you need to get away from a situation, excuse yourself and find a space you feel safe in (with my kids I usually say "Mommy needs a 2 minute time out to cool off", but with other adults you can go ahead say that, too... no judgement).
Start by placing your hand or hands on your chest by your heart. Take a moment to notice the space around you as you take a deep breath. Notice the sounds, is it loud or quiet? Don't judge what you hear and see, just bear witness. Allow your thoughts to quiet down as you focus on one object or area close to you (no need to pull over if you're driving, just look at the road and use that). Name what you see, describe it, don't judge it, just see it for what it currently is and describe it in detail.
By doing this, you are bringing your awareness to the now. This is the only moment you have any control over right now, and even in this moment you only have control on how you react to what is perceived.
Now, bring your attention within, you can close your eyes here if you wish to (unless you're driving, duh). Name something you are grateful for right now. Don't over think it, don't judge yourself, just sit with the first thing that comes to mind. Now, name one thing you are grateful for about yourself. Same thing, don't judge it just name it and sit with it. Allow it to fill your head space and really bask in that gratitude. Focus your attention on how good those two things are and how fortunate you are for them.
Go back to the cause of your anxiety and picture the best case scenario of what can happen in that situation. Envision yourself in that scenario and all the details about it, who is with you, what is around you, what are the things you are grateful about that moment? Now, truly believe it as if it already happened and send tremendous gratitude for it happening and the outcome of it all. Open your eyes or come back to the object or area you were focusing on before. Take one more deep breath.
In this exercise you are opening the door to new possibilities. You are present and aware and humble, creating a clean atmosphere for manifestation and alignment with the outcome you need. By doing so, you now have a new perspective on your situation, transforming your anxiety into excitement. Both have similar symptoms in the body (like butterflies, sweating, elevated heart rate, etc.) making it easy to transform one into the other.
You can r e p e a t this exercise as many times as possible to center yourself and manifest your reality.
3- Muscle Release
This exercise is great for anxiety, but also for anger. It's simply about tightening and releasing the muscles.
We may not realize it but we tend to hold certain feelings in certain regions of our body. Becoming aware of those regions can be really insightful into any other ailments we may have or why we get injured on certain parts of our bodies more than others. In the world of quantum physics, we are just now learning the truth about our composition as energy beings, something many spiritual shamans and ancient religions have known from the beginning but science is now finally proving it. We are roughly 10% matter, 90% spirit/soul/energy (pick what word resonates with you). Whether you believe in a spiritual self or not, the energy doesn't lie.
Therefore, in this exercise we are focusing on the regions in which we feel an emotion (energy in motion)—Namely, anxiety.
(This exercise does require you to move your body, do not do these if you are driving or operating any other heavy machinery.)
The moment you catch yourself becoming anxious, start to notice where in your body you feel it. Is it in the shoulders, lower back? Is it in your chest, your abdomen? Does it rise in your blood? Does it come as hot and sweaty or cold and sweaty? Pay close attention to what your body is communicating.
Now, whatever region you feel it in, breath in and tighten (as tight as you can) all the muscles in that region. Tight, tight, tight...and R E L E A S E. Exhaling as you release.
Repeat... except this time I want you to really envision the anxiety there, in that region, and as you tighten I want you to imagine yourself crumpling up that anxiety like a piece of paper. When you are ready to release, you throw it away into a black hole of nothingness. Really feel the anxiety releasing into nothing.
How to tighten each area:
Head- (If you feel heat rising into your head or a sense of pressure in the temples or back of neck)
Roll your head or look side to side then lower your head and bring your chin as close to your chest as possible, squeeze your face as close to your nose as possible. Release. Repeat but with your head up with your chin pointing to the sky, then with your head tilted to the side and ear almost touching your shoulder and then the other side. Always releasing on the exhale and bringing head back to normal position.
Shoulders, Arms, or Upper Back- (If you feel it in your shoulders, tension in your back, sweaty armpits, or even tingling sensations in your hands and sweaty palms)
Bring your shoulders up tightly, close to your ears, flex every muscle in your arms and make a tight fist (note this is the one you should do it you aren't sure where you feel the anxiety in your body). Exhale and release. Repeat again, except this time bring your shoulder blades close in together as much as possible, flex the arm muscles, and make a fist. Hold super tight and release to normal position.
Chest or Middle Back- (If you feel it in your chest, in your throat, have shortness of breath, or in your middle back)
Hunch your back, round your shoulders forward, bring your arms straight in front of you and clasp your fingers in a pull, stretch those muscles tight and exhale as you release. Repeat but reversed. Arch your back, roll back your shoulders, tilt your head back, bring your arms behind you and clasp your fingers in a pull, really opening your chest to the sky. Squeeze as much as possible and release on the exhale as you return to a normal position.
Abdomen, Lower Back, or Digestion- (if you feel it in your gut, ie. butterflies, or your lower back)
For this one you want to do a back twist to each side: begin with an inhale and straighten the back, start the twist at the base of your spine all the way up to the neck. Use your arm (whose side you are turning to) to support you by placing it by your bottom and your other arm to help you go deeper into the stretch. Hold the breath as you tighten the muscles and exhale untwisting into a release back to normal position.
Remember to do both sides.
Hips, Legs, or Urge to Pee- (If you feel tension in your hips, have the urge to use the bathroom, or your legs feel wobbly)
Begin by tightening your buttox, squeezing your pelvic floor muscles, tighten the leg muscles, point your feet or if you are standing up, curl your toes in. Exhale on the release back to normal position.
And there you have it, make sure to really feel where the sensation comes up for you in your body so you can target the energy of that specific location. This is a wonderful exercise to do to relax yourself at any moment, even when you aren’t feeling anxious. And also doing a full body tighten and release, starting from the bottom and working your way up, is great after a workout or before bed, to just release any tension left inside you.
Play around with these exercises and see which one works best for you. Some may work better at certain moments while another may work better for a different situation. Remember, it is never a one-size-fits-all, so be gentle with yourself if none of these work for you.
Make sure to share your experience with us in the comments!