We all face anxiety. It's a big part of being human. The following are 9 steps to reducing your anxiety fast and easy, without medication:
1. Take a deep breath
The first step in calming down an anxious mind is to take a deep breath. The act of breathing deeply can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for regulating the body's fight-or-flight response. This means that when you take a deep breath, your heart rate and blood pressure will decrease, your muscles will relax and you'll be able to think more clearly.
Deep breaths work because they mimic the natural response your body has to danger. When you're faced with a stressful situation, whether it's an imminent threat or just a looming deadline, your body automatically prepares itself for action by releasing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol into your bloodstream.
These hormones trigger increased heart rate and blood pressure (among other things), giving you more energy so that you can run away from danger or fight it off with force. These reactions are necessary when we're being chased by a tiger or facing an attacker, but they aren't helpful when we're worrying about something that hasn't happened yet or stressing over something we can't control.
2. Count to 5
Counting helps you focus your attention on the present moment, and it's an easy way to bring yourself back from those stressful mental states where you're focused on one thing and then the next, without any connection between the two.
When you're counting, you can't worry about what happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow. You have to be present with each number as it comes up—which means that when you get to 5, you have no choice but to be right where you are right now. This is a powerful way to bring yourself back into the moment and ground yourself in reality (and all its beauty).
This practice also forces you to be aware of your surroundings and how they're affecting your emotions at any given moment in time — which will help prevent future episodes of anxiety as well as learning more about yourself as a person along the way!
3. Focus on one thing, and only one thing
When you’re feeling anxious, it can be hard to concentrate. You might feel like you’re going crazy because your mind is racing with thoughts that make you feel even more anxious.
The solution isn’t to try and stop your thoughts from racing. Instead, it’s about finding a single thing that will help you focus.
It can be anything — an image, a word or phrase, a song, or even something as simple as putting your attention on your breathing. The key is to choose something that calms you down and helps you focus on what is happening right now instead of on everything that has happened in the past or might happen in the future.
4. Let go of your thoughts
You may be thinking, but I'm already doing that! but when you let go of your thoughts, you're saying to yourself that it's okay if they're not true. You're giving yourself permission to be free from the constant need to analyze and dissect every little thought that pops into your head.
Letting go of your thoughts is about letting go of the idea that each thought has to be perfect or correct. More importantly, it's about realizing that we don't have control over what other people think about us or even how much time we have left on Earth.
This practice is also about accepting uncertainty and embracing mystery and that can be really scary at first. But after a while, once you get used to it, you'll realize just how much better life becomes when you don't spend all day trying to figure out why everything isn't perfect like it should be!
5. Change your body position.
You can use this technique in any situation, whether you're at work, at home, or on the go—even if you're stuck in traffic!
The reason for this is because our bodies are hardwired to respond to certain stimuli with a fight-or-flight response. When we feel threatened or uncomfortable, our bodies release stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones trigger a cascade of effects throughout our bodies: they increase heart rate and blood pressure, narrow blood vessels, dilate your pupils, make you more alert, and more.
That’s why, when you remain in this state too long (which is common when we're anxious), it can cause serious damage over time—to both your mental health and physical health.
So, changing your position is important you can do after you let go of your thoughts especially if the previous step is not effective.
This can be as simple as shifting your weight from one leg to another, or it can be more involved—like sitting up straight and clasping your hands together. But whatever you do, try to keep moving.
Why? Moving helps you get into a calmer state of mind by helping you focus on something other than what's worrying you. It also helps relieve stress by releasing endorphins (which are neurotransmitters that make us feel good).
6. Ask yourself if there is anything you can do to help yourself?
In this step, you're going to ask yourself if there is something you can do for yourself. It may sound silly, but it's actually a great way to train your brain to stop focusing on the negative aspects of what's happening and shift into a new mindset that will help you feel more calm and in control.
The process is simple, simply take a moment to ask yourself if there is anything you can do about what's causing your anxiety (or even just something else that makes you anxious). If there isn't anything specific that comes up, then try asking yourself if there is anything at all that could help reduce your anxiety or make you feel better about the situation.
7. Repeat the phrase “I am safe” to yourself 3 times.
By repeating this phrase, you are helping to reinforce your belief that you are safe and that there is nothing to fear. It’s important to remember that while it may be difficult to believe at first, this statement is true. You are safe right now, regardless of what has happened or might happen in the future.
The reason why this step works so well is because it helps us shift our focus away from what we are afraid of or what we think will happen and instead focuses on something positive—our safety and security. By repeating this phrase over and over again, we start to feel calmer and more secure as time passes because we are constantly reinforcing these ideas in our mind.
The seven steps above are no substitute for proper coping mechanisms determined by cognitive behavioral therapy and a long-term plan. However, they can be used to quickly pacify heightened levels of tension and to begin the process of applying your new-found methods of thought toward managing anxiety.
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