Tag Archives: relax

Quiet Anxiety Alarms With Breathing Breaks

relax-meditate

Have you ever been so stressed out that you almost forgot to breathe? Instead you are breathing like you are out of breath from running a race.

When we get uptight, we speed ourselves up. Alarms go off in our body because our mind is telling the body there is danger. Just like we speed up our body, we can also slow it down when the fear isn’t useful. One of the ways to calm anxiety is to remember to breathe. 

Obviously breathing is automatic, but so is rapid breathing when you perceive a threat. If there is real danger, it would be useful to speed up. But when there is no danger, being sped up makes you feel worse.

“Fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real. But Fear is a choice.”~Will Smith, After Earth

Anxiety Triggers the Alarm

Anxiety is a fear fantasy we create by distorting reality with our own perceptions. While our perceptions may be half true, they are a distortion. Anxiety only focuses on the negative and narrow view points.

Imagine how you would feel when you tell yourself these fears:

  • I’m not good enough.
  • I’m the only one that can do it right.
  • No one chooses me.
  • Everyone leaves me.
  • People only like me for what I can do for them.
  • Everyone lets me down.
  • I will never find someone to love me.
  • Something’s really wrong with me.
  • I can’t live without him/her.

Your anxiety triggers the alarm, and you start protecting yourself from perceived danger. You may withdraw, lash out, overwork, become a victim, or focus on someone else as the problem. So anxiety not only impacts how we feel physically, but also plays out in our relationships with others.

Taking a Breathing Break

The good news is you can develop new pathways in your brain. You can start taking breathing breaks to over-ride the anxiety alarms. With repetition, you will boost your brains fear over-riding power as well as your confidence.

Here are some ideas for practicing breathing exercises:

  • Sit or lie in a comfortable position
  • Close your eyes
  • Focus on how your breath feels to move in and out
  • Inhale through your nose
  • Exhale through your mouth
  • Allow your exhales to be longer than your inhales
  • Pause gently between breaths
  • Let your stomach rise and fall slowly
  • Feel yourself sinking and relaxing

Let the simple and powerful rhythms of your breathing calm you down. You can’t be anxious when you are sending signals to your body to relax. Let your breathing lower the alarms going off in your body and your mind will follow.

While the goal isn’t to eliminate all anxiety, it is calming to find ways to interrupt the anxiety already in progress. You can’t overdose on deep gentle breathing, so repeat these breathing breaks as needed.

How do you over-ride your anxiety alarms?

—————————————————————————————————

Have you checked out the new Liberating Choices Bookstore for more resources on: marriage, relationships, parenting, health/wellness, simplicity?

Photo Credit: “Relax” by Lululemon Athletica

10 Ways to Fuel Your Energy (Instead of Draining It)

drop-energy-person

Do you move through your day, running on empty, until you crash? There isn’t a drop of energy left at the end of your day, not for you or your loved ones.

The more drained our energy, the more we lean on others to fill us up. We think it must be someone else’s fault for draining our energy. While this may be half-true, how do we leave some energy in reserve?

Instead of expecting others to take something off our plate or reaching for a quick pick-me-up (like chocolate), wouldn’t it be great to create more lasting energy. The kind of energy that sustains you through the day instead of fizzling out after a quick jump start.

10 Ways to Fuel Your Energy:

I run my engine on high, so I can check many things off my to do list. But I pay a price and so do those around me. Thankfully, I can turn this motivation onto myself and find ways to fuel my energy instead of depleting myself dry. Here are ways that help me stay energized instead of going until I’m drained:

1. Relax Midday: Don’t wait until the end of the day to slow down. Give yourself 30 minutes in the middle of the day to be still: breathe, listen to music, read a novel, or take a nap.

2. Sleep Enough Without Lingering: Get enough sleep for you (7-9 hours each night). The more you linger in bed past sleeping “enough”, the more lethargic you may feel.

3. Exercise At Peak Time: Find the time of day that you feel most energized after exercising: morning, afternoon, or evening. If you move your body and increase your activity during your best time of the day, you are sure to build energy reserves.

4. Eat Your Best Foods: View food as fuel for our mind and body. Choose foods and drinks that give you the most lasting energy.

5.  Create Thinking Space: Create space in your day (or week) to tune into yourself. Journal, write, meditate, or do whatever brings clarity.

6. Reduce Tension Level: Develop ways to release built up tension you hold in your body. Choose not to hold onto anger by finding another way to think about the situation.

7. Hurry Less: Being in a hurry and expecting others to hurry is draining. Prioritize by sorting out what is urgent and what can wait. Enjoy the ease of a slower pace.

8. Learn to Single Task: Learn how to focus on one task at a time. Instead of having a crowded, energy zapping head, being fully present is fuel.

9. Work Within Boundaries: Balance work and play by being productive but also enjoying life. Put limits on when and how many hours a day you work and stick to them.

10. Say No To Over-Committing: If agreeing to an additional commitment drains you just thinking about it, it’s okay to say no. If the commitment energizes you, jump on it.

Filling up our tank with sustainable sources of fuel helps us build an energy reserve instead of depleting it. When we take better care of ourselves, we have more energy to enjoy what we value most.

Observe the days when you have more (or less) energy. What helps you increase your energy for life?

—————————————————————————————————

Enjoy reading this post? Subscribe via email and download a Free E-Book (Take Charge of Your Worry: 10 Ways to Manage Anxiety Naturally).

Photo Credit: “Universe in a Drop” by Hartwig Koppdelaney

6 Must Haves to Relax Without Valium

relax-meditate

Do you ever feel so anxious that you think others can see your pounding heart? Surely they can see you are coming unglued and ready to jump out of your skin. Yet most of the time anxiety is not seen by others, but experienced internally either in our mind, body, or both.

While you may feel your heart beating loudly like a drum in your chest, others have trouble quieting their spinning thoughts. Anxiety can also feel like your stomach is flopping around or moving into your throat. You feel jittery without the caffeine and dizzy from breathing so fast.

Speeding your body up in an emergency is very useful, but feeling anxious when there isn’t a threat is very uncomfortable. The anxiety has no where to go and no way to get utilized.

At this point, many pe0ple turn to substances or to prescription medications. There is nothing wrong with taking prescribed anti-anxiety medication, such as Valium. These medications can give you a jump start to getting a handle on your anxiety in tough times.

Don’t let anyone or anything rob you of your self-confidence. We all have the ability to learn ways to calm ourselves, even without the help of medications.

6 Must Haves to Manage Anxiety Naturally

You probably already know what helps you relax and calm down even if it doesn’t bring complete relief on a consistent basis. Keep making mental notes of what helps you calm down. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Eat Nutritiously: Nutrition will be determined by the individual needs. For me, eating a balance of carbs, protein, fruits and veggies helps me keep my mood and energy on even ground. I know my body well, and it must have adequate protein with minimal sugar and dairy. Listen to your body and learn what makes you feel the most balanced (not numb).

2. Drink Mineral Water: Drink refreshing water that comes from natural springs. These are the places where minerals such as calcium are naturally found in the water source. Eight glasses of water a day is the recommended amount for our bodies to function at their prime. Many public speakers drink a glass of water to calm their nerves before they get on stage.

3. Get Objective Coaching: A well-trained coach can help you sort out your fears from the facts. When we act based on what ifs, we live in an inner world filled with anxiety and worry. When the coach offers a neutral perspective, it is your opportunity to see your situation in a new light. A new perspective puts jumper cables to the thinking part of your brain, allowing the emotional side to calm down.

4. Receive Massage Therapy: If you’ve never had a massage from a certified massage therapist, you must try it. Start with 30 minutes, and see how you feel. Receiving a massage will help you release tension you’ve stored in your body for months or even years. Massages can leave you feeling serene, calm, relaxed, and even euphoric.

5. Exchange Hugs: While I’m on the subject of receiving touch to relax yourself, nothing beats a hug from someone you trust and love. Being held in someone’s arms with no expectations or pressure lets you know you are not alone. The touch reminds you that you have someone present while you are going through a tough time. Feel the stress of isolation melt away.

6. Focus on Excitement: Anxiety feels similar to excitement in that you are  revved up while experiencing the sensation of butterflies trapped in your body. Try shifting your focus from what you are fear to what you are excites you. Then you will keep the good feelings without all the dread. Your body will follow your thoughts. If you dread and fear less, it will take less hold on your body.

Many of these ideas are good self-care. Know what it takes to look after yourself and do it. Then add a few great relationships and mind shifts and you’ll be well on your way to telling your worry and anxiety where to go!

standing-book

My free e-book includes 10 other ways to manage anxiety without medication. When you subscribe via email, you will also get two worksheets to help you apply what you learn – one worksheet includes 27 ways to manage worry naturally.

I’d love to hear what works for you to interrupt anxiety.

—————————————————————————————————

Caution: “If you take (anti-anxiety) medications for longer than prescribed or at higher or more frequent doses than prescribed, you may develop a tolerance to and dependence upon them. If this occurs it can be dangerous to abruptly stop taking the medication. Gradual tapering of the dose, under the supervision of a physician, is advised.” ~ Dr. Cheryl Lane, Psychologist, PsyWeb

Photo Credit: “Relax” by Lulumon Athletica