Anxiety can produce a never-ending stream of worrying thoughts in your mind. From the mundane to the ridiculous. Did I turn off the stove? Is that mole skin cancer? Was that bang my cat getting into something or a serial killer coming to get me? What the hell did the end of Twin Peaks mean?
Sometimes those questions have answers — -yes, the stove is off, no, it isn’t cancer, the damn cat needs to stop jumping up there. Sometimes they don’t — -pretty sure David Lynch was just punking us all because he can.
Whether they have answers or not, the questions and worries will keep coming. Once something is settled, a new worry will arise. Or the worry will recycle. The next day you may worry about the stove again. Or maybe you will worry about a different symptom that Dr. Google suggests may be cancer.
All that stress and anxiety can be exhausting. Many of us don’t have the option of turning the anxiety off. There is no switch for that. For some of us treatment does not work. For others, treatment is not accessible.
There are some small things you can do to help support your need to relax. It will not remove the anxiety, but it will make it a little bit easier to bear.
Breathe and Let Go of Tension
Focus on your breathing. Force yourself to breathe slowly and deeply. There are many breathing techniques out there. Choose the one that helps you feel less tense. Some people like to meditate. Whatever works for you as long as you are breathing deep and slow.
While you are breathing, take stock of your body. Are you holding tension anywhere? Shrug out your shoulders. Roll your neck. Do some simple stretches to relax your tense muscles.
Some light exercise can help you relax. Do some easy yoga poses. Just the simple ones, not an hour of hot yoga. Do some basic stretches. If you like fresh air, go for a short walk.
Don’t overdo it. This is meant to relax you. Not tire you out.
The music you enjoy can help you relax. If you like to listen to soothing music, lower the lights and give yourself 10 minutes of peace. If you enjoy upbeat music, crank it. Even dance if that is your thing.
You can also just listen to nature sounds or white noise. Experiment and find something that soothes you.
I recently learned about binaural beats. I’ve been using ones for focus this week. It has made a huge difference in my writing speed. This weekend I plan to try out the binaural beats for relaxation.
Find distractions that relax you. Personally, I love to read and a good book can be a great distraction for me.
I also play games on my tablet. For those of you into video games, take a few minutes to lose yourself in Call of Duty, Sims, Minecraft, or whatever your thing is.
Pets are also great distractions and can give you a few minutes of calm in an otherwise stormy day.
Anxiety can be difficult to live with. Be kind to yourself and find small ways to ease your tension. Your mind and body will welcome it.