7 Unusual ways to reduce your anxiety

A small amount of anxiety or worrying can be useful at times because it makes us pay attention to potential sources of danger or discomfort. However, with much of the world in lockdown and the future uncertain, anxiety can be overwhelming, even for those who don't normally consider themselves to be worriers.

There are a lot of ideas on this site about what you can do to reduce stress and anxiety but, in this article, I’m looking at some of the more unusual approaches that you might not have used before.

Ideas to deal with anxiety

  1. Stop anxiety taking all the fun out of life.
    When you’re worrying all the time, it can be difficult to find enjoyment in anything, and when every conversation, Facebook post and TV advert seem to be about COVID-19 it can make your anxiety worse. Arrange a COVID free hour each day where you have to talk and think about other things; watch your favourite DVD (no ads), play a computer game, read a book.
      
  2. Keep variety in your routine
    Structure your day so everyone in the house gets some alone time to do whatever they enjoy, some social interacting (with members of the household or by phone/Skype), and include activities that challenge both your brain (work, learning etc) and your body (physical activity) in every day's routine. If you live alone, you can still do this for yourself.
      
  3. Cold water.
    When you’re anxious, and your mind is racing, fill a bowl with icy water and plunge your hands into it. It’s a bit of a shock tactic, but it interrupts a constant stream of negative thoughts! It can also improve your circulation, and release endorphins that make you feel more positive and alert. As an alternative, hold ice in your mouth. This has a similar effect, but it is more practical in some situations. Plus, many people find that holding the ice cube on your tongue and breathing in the cold air that has passed over it is a soothing experience. A few people reccommend cold showers as well, but that's probably only for the very determined!
        
  4. Use your imagination
    A recent study shows that imagining how other people would cope with a situation affects the way you think you would cope with it too. The effect is strongest when the person we imagine is similar in some way to ourselves. So, pick someone who’s much calmer than you, but who has some other characteristics you identify with. Imagine them coping well in a situation that's worrying you, whether that's lockdown or something else. Then imagine yourself coping with that situation as if you were them.
     
  5. Imagine you are in a peaceful setting.
    What would be the most relaxing scenario for you? Would it be the mountains? The beach? A field of flowers? Who else would be there? What would they say? What would you smell and hear? What would the weather be like? Experience it as fully as you can. If you have trouble doing this you can download a free audio to guide you RIGHT HERE
      
  6. Do something that you have to concentrate on.
    Word or number puzzles can be good for this, or even colouring – learn more about this HERE
       
  7. Go to bed and get up earlier. 
    Anxiety and lack of sleep often go hand in hand, so make sure you get a good night’s rest whenever you can.  Try going to bed an hour earlier and get up 15 minutes earlier. The extra 45 minutes of sleep will do your mind and body some good. The extra 15 minutes in the morning will make your morning more relaxing, you can have some 'me time' before the rest of the household are around. If this doesn’t suit you, there are more tips on sleeping well HERE
Anxiety can take all the fun out of life. When you’re worrying all the time, it can be difficult to find enjoyment in anything and when every conversation, Facebook post and TV ad seem to be about COVID-19 it can make your anxiety worse. Have a COVID free time each day where you have to talk and think about other things.

Creating a feeling of anxiety is something your mind learned to do, and you can also develop the opposite skill of calming yourself. Consider anxiety-reducing ideas that might seem a little unusual. There’s no telling what will work for you until you try. And you can always give me a ring if you need my help.


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Author: is a professional stress management coach, specialising in working with individuals and smaller employers to minimise stress and maximise feeling in control. Debbie is the author of Their Worlds, Your Words and has co-written the Hypnotherapy Handbook both of which are available from Amazon.
Find out more about Debbie's services on www.yorkshirestressmanagement.com  or phone 01977 678593

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