This is the final part of our four-part series on healthy living practices! Last post we talked about how food and exercise can impact our mental health for better or for worse. This week we will be introducing two different practices that can help you calm down when you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
Create A Calm Down Ritual For Yourself
When struggling with anxiety, it can be difficult to calm down in the moment. Finding the willpower and the concentration to take deeper, longer breaths can even be challenging. A calm down ritual can be beneficial when you experience anxiety. A calm down ritual is a deliberate plan that you implement when you need extra help calming down.
By already having a plan, you know what your heart, mind, and body need when you find yourself feeling anxious, and therefore, it is so much easier to implement.
Your ritual can be as simple or involved as you need it to be. The most important thing is finding what works for you. It could be a short mantra that you repeat in your head while doing some breathing exercises until you’ve calmed down. A more detailed ritual could be as elaborate as lighting a candle with a calming scent in a safe space, fixing a cup of herbal tea, and listening to soft music while you sit in your favorite spot, covered by a weighted blanket. Your ritual is dependent on what works for you and what can fit into your life.
Ideally, you want a simple ritual that you can do anytime, anywhere—for example, going for a quick walk, focusing on your breathing, listening to music, or a guided meditation. While a quick walk or deep breaths can help sometimes, it isn’t always enough. Sometimes you need something more involved and to be in a space where you feel safe to calm down and move through your anxiety. In those cases, remind yourself that you have a routine you can do to help you calm down as soon as you get home.
With that said, think about some of the things you do already that help you calm down and reduce anxiety. Here are some examples of helpful aids in calming down: essential oils, a hot bath in Epsom salt, new meditation techniques, or yoga poses. See if you can add two different methods to calm down ritual. One should be short and mobile, and the other a little more involved but helpful. If what you try works well for you, practice them regularly, so they become an actual ritual and, as a result, a default solution when you’re feeling stressed. If something doesn’t work, or feel right, keep changing it until it does. It may take time to figure out what works best for you, so try not to feel discouraged if it isn’t the perfect fit the first time.
This is your ritual, and the only person it has to work for is you.
The Huge Benefits Of Meditation To Reduce Anxiety
Meditation was mentioned as a practice to add to your calm down ritual so let’s talk about it! Meditation is a great tool to help you calm down and get back to thinking clearly when you’re feeling particularly anxious. When your central nervous system is over-excited, it can be a great aid in calming down quickly. It is even more powerful when it comes to prevention and can help prepare you for whatever challenge you have to face.While meditation will significantly benefit you, it may not be a cure-all. That being said, meditation is simple and something anyone can do. Give it a try!
For most people, listening to a guided meditation and simply practicing it daily is enough to see results. There are many ways to start meditating. The easiest way to get started is with a short, guided meditation. You can find online recordings, CDs, and even phone apps that will get you started. After you find a resource that you like for guiding you through meditation, sit or lay down comfortably, listen to the recording and follow the instructions. Don’t worry if your mind starts to drift; meditation is a practice that might take some time to get used to doing. Bring yourself back to meditation when your thoughts wander. It is surprisingly hard to focus on nothing but meditation, so start with short sessions of 10 minutes or less. Once you get comfortable, you can extend your meditations as needed.
The key to reaping the benefits of calming down those random thoughts and worries through meditation is daily practice; that is how you rewire your brain.
We hope these tips for calming down were helpful for you! Let us know if you create a calm down ritual for yourself and how it works for you. Remember, by taking space to calm down when you feel anxious, you are creating a new way for your brain to process anxiety. Any new practice takes time, so be kind and patient with yourself through the process.