There’s no denying that the world is speeding up and it’s starting to take its toll. Being constantly plugged in means we never have much time to ourselves. Our attention is relentlessly pulled in multiple directions. It’s impossible not to be overwhelmed and this inevitably leads to increased levels of anxiety. Prolonged periods of anxiety and stress compromise our entire system and in extreme cases, can lead to mental and physical illness. The bottom line is that this is no way to live full-time and cultivating strategies to combat anxiety should be a priority. Here are four tips to begin to point you in the right direction.
Include a calming activity in your morning ritual
It doesn’t matter what it is. Find what works for you. It could be physical exercise, a few breathing exercises, a few gentle yoga stretches or a meditational practice. Set aside at least half an hour for this practice. The energy you’ll get back will make waking up half an hour earlier worth it. Starting your day right should be your highest priority. Without setting this time aside you are bound to be less focused and productive and yes, much more anxious which only further hinders your ability to get through the day effectively. In the beginning this may require some discipline, but over time you’ll get so used to the feeling of calm your practice evokes that you’ll crave it if you miss it. It will become as natural as brushing your teeth, and the payoff is so great you’ll never look back.
Reconnect with nature
Most of us live in concrete jungles, moving from an office to an apartment and back again. (If this isn’t your life, you’re one of the lucky few). We’re not designed to live in such segregation with nature. Find a way to reconnect with the natural world. This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to relieve anxiety and stress. Visit a park and walk bare feet on the grass. Introduce some pot plants to your balcony, soaking up the fresh feeling of dipping your fingers into the soil. We feel closer to ourselves when we interact with nature and when we are more aligned with our true natures, we are less anxious.
Get it out! Process your emotional input
We’re so used to putting our brave and capable faces on that we bottle up our emotions. We suppress and suppress until the emotions eventually boil over, catching us ill-prepared. It’s important to find a way to get our emotions out. Talking is always good. Some people prefer writing in a diary or drawing. Find what works for you and make it a priority to digest your life experiences at least once a week. Making this commitment means taking responsibility for your emotional world and learning not to project it onto others. When we take the time to process, we are much less likely to carry unconscious, festering baggage around with us and that is the stuff that ultimately increases anxiety levels.
Be kind to yourself
When we’re persistently pushed to perform and be better, we tend to get very hard on ourselves. We live in a society that wants us to believe that we are never good enough so that way we keep buying things to improve ourselves. So we get caught in cycles of desire and self-deprecation. Constantly knocking yourself over the head because you feel you need to be better creates massive anxiety. We burn ourselves out trying to live up to impossible standards. The old cliché is true. If you can’t be kind to yourself, you can’t be kind to others.