Most people, at some point, have experienced anxiety about something in their life. Maybe a job interview was super nerve-wracking or a public speaking event had you feeling nervous. Those are all pretty typical anxiety-inducing situations. Sometimes stress really helps people be on their A game, but other times it's more of a hindrance. That's why it's important to know some of the smart, anxiety-reducing habits that every grownass woman should know so she can calm herself down in high stress situations and shine like she's supposed to.
According to the Anxiety.org, anxiety is the body's way of reacting to stressful situations, danger, or unfamiliarity. It's a natural reaction that helps people stay alert and focused. For many people, anxiety episodes come in waves that are attributed to a certain stressful situation. For others, their stress is on all of the time and sometimes without a rational trigger. "It is a problem when your anxiety begins taking a toll on your mental and physical health affecting work and relationships," social worker Kimberly Hershenson tells Romper. "When your mind is racing and negative thoughts are going on a loop, sleep becomes impossible."
You may be able to deal alone with a few anxiety-reducing tools or you may need more specialized help from an expert. Either way, learning these nine anxiety-reducing techniques are essential to your journey towards ultimate grownass woman zen.
1. Slow Down
"We are being bombarded by information left and right every single second, asked to do more, be more, cram more into our brains," Kimberly Jonas, Reiki master, essential oil therapist, and alchemist of BodyMantra, tells Romper. "It’s up to us to pace ourselves, find the tools that will allow us to sustain."
As the controller of your own life you can set the pace and decide what speed is comfortable for you. Do you say "yes" to another work project? Do you accept this dinner party invitation? Can you handle another thing on your plate? Only you can decide with an honest answer.
2. Breathe More
It sounds so simple, but when you're racing through life, breathing can be the hardest thing to do.
"We have the power to thwart the burnout and overwhelm with the simple act of slowing down and breathing," Jonas says. "No better practice than a five minute pause to stop what you’re doing, close your eyes, and take a series of deep, cleansing breaths." She adds that breaths instantly reset your system and help you move through your day from a place of equilibrium and not frenzy.
3. Have A Meditation Practice
A meditation practice is good to have even if you're not a total yogi. Thanks to technology, anyone can learn how to meditate without leaving their home.
"Search guided meditation on YouTube or download a free app such as 10 percent happier (which teaches you meditation techniques) and meditate even if it's for five minutes," Hershenson says.
4. Use Positive Affirmations
"Often a vicious cycle of stress, anxiety, fear and negative self-talk can quickly develop, we can lose sleep, feel powerless, out of control and fatigued," Leena Guptha, dean of graduate studies at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, tells Romper. "Using positive affirmations repeatedly can have a calming effect when we are stressed or anxious."
So what are affirmations? You can borrow some of mine which include:
I am a total badass.
I love the shape of my arms and my eyes.
I am exactly where I need to be right now.
Guptha says affirmations are great because they can help combat anxiety and turn our thoughts into those of calmness, peace, and confidence.
5. Remember To Dance
"There is nothing that a good dance can’t cure," Jonas says. "Whether it’s in your living room, a class at the local gym, or hitting the dance floor with friends on a night out, dance has the power to take your mind away from distraction and overwhelm."
Additionally, Jonas says dancing can dislodge negative emotions and bring you back to what's important in life. She also added that you don't have to look like a professional dancer to dance. Just move from your soul and dance in a way that makes you feel free.
6. Make A Daily Gratitude List
"Making a daily gratitude list before bed by writing down 10 things you are grateful for," Hershenson says. "Focusing on what is good in your life as opposed to what is 'going wrong with your life' calms you down before going to sleep."
It doesn't even really need to be that deep. She says it can be anything from your family, legs to walk on, or reality TV. Whatever it is, just write it down with no judgement.
7. Spend Some Time In Solitude
"Doing something just for yourself every day is crucial to mental stress," Hershenson says. She recommends having a daily routine of some kind that allows you to be alone. It could be as simple as having tea or coffee while reading the newspaper or doing a 10 minute stretch.
8. Practice Self-Acceptance
Practicing self-acceptance is all about recognizing the control you have in life. It's also about accepting that sometimes, you don't have control. Hershenson recommends you "make a list of what you can control in the situation causing you anxiety (your reaction) and what you can't control (your boss' behavior)." Then try to "focus on what you can control to make change and accept what you cannot control."
9. Reach Out To Someone
Sometimes, anxiety is more than a few episodes here and there. Sometimes, it takes over your life and that's when you might need a little help.
"Let others know how you're feeling so you don't have to cope with anxiety alone," Hershenson says. She recommends reaching out to a friend, family member, or a therapist if you recognize that the anxiety is too much for you to deal with alone.