• jordandunin

5 Ways to Naturally Control Anxiety

2020 was a difficult year where we all felt our stressors creeping up on us. Anxiety can perpetuate negative thoughts which can alter the way we feel. Leading us to become more susceptible to illness and injury. Whether you suffer from a medically diagnosed anxiety disorder or not, 2020 was the year we all felt it.

Although we all lead different lives and are exposed to different stressors, there are little things that all of us can do throughout the day to manage our anxiety. Here are 5 ways to feel more energized and stress free in 2021:

1. Create a Gratefulness Journal

We all have something to be grateful for and the power of gratitude trumps the feeling of lack every time. As soon as you wake up in the morning, grab a pen and paper from your nightstand and write out at least 5 things that you are grateful for in your life right now. Don’t be generic, but dig deep and explore what you are truly grateful for in your life. You may surprise yourself and find that you are grateful for 20 amazing things in your life. Write those things down. As you write them down, think about why you are grateful for what you have written and mentally picture it. Create a story in your mind where you experience what you wrote down. You can be grateful for anything in the past and present. But, even more importantly, you can be grateful for what is to come in the future.

Every morning try to grow on what you are grateful for until you become truly grateful for everything on the page in front of you. Our world is filled with abundance, so even if you are suffering from an illness that takes up all of your energy, you have something to be grateful for. You can be grateful for the continued opportunity to get well and for feeling even a little bit better every morning. You can even be grateful for the lessons that your illness has provided for you that you might not be able to see just yet.

The power of the mind is incredible. Even if you are only thinking positive thoughts 51% of the time, that will tip the scales in your favour. Use the power of gratitude to release your anxiety for the upcoming day and to become present.

2. Set Healthy Habits and Track Them

A lot of us have a to-do list that we prepare in efforts to be our most productive. Our to-do lists can include activities such as grocery shopping, or completing a task for our boss. Think about a habit tracker as a to-do list for positive habits in your day. The more positive habits that you accomplish, the more on track you will be to having a successful and inspiring day. Try to stay away from analysis paralysis and just keep moving throughout your day. A habit tracker will not only keep you accountable, but it provides motivation for you to be your best self every day. Some example of healthy habits to add to your habit tracker in 2021 are:

  • Write in gratefulness journal

  • Meditate

  • Exercise

  • Read

  • Drink 2 litres of water

  • Learn something new

  • Take a walk

Write out 10-20 activities that you would like to accomplish in your everyday life in a habit tracker similar to the one below that I created. Mark off when you complete an activity every day, and by the end of the month you will see if you are on track to becoming the person you want to be.

3. Exercise Regularly

Exercise forces you to become present and to focus on the activity that you are performing in the moment. Engaging in movement diverts you from the very thing that you are anxious about. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous, and you don’t have to be a professional athlete or body builder to move your body. Think about the last time you exercised, were you thinking about anything other than the motion you were performing? The answer is most likely no, or else that could be pretty dangerous.

Diving even deeper, a Harvard study shows that getting your heart rate up changes brain chemistry, increasing the availability of important anti-anxiety neurochemicals, including serotonin, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and endocannabinoids.

So, just by moving your body, you are allowing you mind to naturally calm itself and become more at ease.

4. Meditate

For those of you who don’t meditate, it is time to start in 2021.

If you think that meditation is a waste of time or that it isn’t right for you, I challenge you to meditate for 5 minutes a day for a week.

Meditation is incredible powerful as it brings you to the present moment similar to exercise. But, instead of having you focus on something else such as an exercise, meditation forces you to focus strictly on the present moment. There are many forms of meditation, but for the purpose of this blog, I want you to focus on guided meditation.

Head on over to YouTube and search for a 5 minute anxiety meditation. Throw on a set of headphones and listen. It is that simple, and over time your body will get to a deeper and more relaxed state. Any time you feel anxious, take a few deep breaths, sit down, and meditate. Once you become comfortable with meditation, you will be able to take your body from an anxious state to a relaxed state through the power of breathing.

5. Make Sleep a Priority

You may be thinking, “I can’t get any sleep because of my anxiety.” And that you’re stuck in a loop of restful nights and stressful days. It’s time to make sleep a priority.

Here are a few helpful sleep hacks that will get you to sleep and help you stay asleep.

  • Write down the things causing you anxiety and allow yourself the freedom to get to them tomorrow. Since they’re written down, you won’t forget what they were.

  • Create a to-do list for yourself for the following day. This will allow you to clear your head and wake up ready to be productive.

  • Limit alcohol, water and food intake before bed.

  • Limit screen time before and in bed. Plug your phone in, set your alarm and go to bed.

  • Create a sleep schedule and stick to it. Early to bed and early to rise. This will set your circadian rhythm which is your sleep-wake cycle.

  • Do a guided meditation for sleep in bed.

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