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How to Reduce Stress and Anxiety in the Moment

by Mayuri Gonzalez

Sometimes stress gets the best of all of us all, including me!

There are days when I don't even wan't to look at my to-do list or email inbox, because I know that it will just leave me with the feeling that I can never catch up. It's easy for me to feel stressed, worried or frustrated, feeling as though there is always too much to do, and too little time.

No matter how hard I may try, and how great my intentions may be, I just find that some days are quite challenging and stressful. Sound familiar?

When you are stressed or anxious you may feel as if your whole system is short circuiting. You may feel heart palpitations, have a hard time concentrating or focusing, you may have shortness of breath, a fidgety body, and obviously all of this wreaks havoc on your physical and mental health. What you are sensing is your sympathetic nervous system engaging to get ready to handle something important that is coming or is at stake for you.

Choose to Soothe In the Moments that Matter Most

Below I've shared my favorite simple and short practices I turn to in stressful moments or when I am worried, frustrated, or tense. They really work and most of them don’t take more than a few short moments. Instead of staying swallowed in the stress, anxiety or overwhelm, we can can choose to soothe ourselves in the moment instead. Don’t wait and remain triggered when stress hits. You have the power to shift your state each and every moment.

You can also use these techniques as a daily practice, setting aside a few minutes per day to practice active relaxation. This allows the resting state of your mind and body to be more at ease, which allows us to respond more thoughtfully when the next challenge arises.

5 Simple Techniques to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

1. Relax your tongue and your jaw. Parasympathetic fibers involved with digestion fill the mouth. You an also rest a knuckle on the lips or right above the lips below the nose. This can have a very soothing and calming effect and is good to try when you are having a hard time falling asleep.

2. Langhana breathing: The parasympathetic nervous system handles exhaling, so begin to slowly lengthen the duration of your exhales. For example, you can inhale to a count of 4 and exhale to a count of 8.

3. Even breathing: Breathe in a way that your inhales and exhales are equally long. You can count mentally up to 5 for each inhalation and count mentally to 5 for each exhalation.

4. Relax your diaphragm: Place one hand on your stomach, just below your rib cage and breathe naturally and smoothly. As you inhale, allow your body to expand like a balloon. As you exhale, let your belly glide inward gently towards your spine. (This is a wonderful practice to try if you are experiencing anxiety.)

5. Walk it out: Get out of your head and into your body and take a break from your internal worries. In moments of stress, take a 5-10 minute walk and observe the environment around you; enjoy the trees, flowers, birds, gardens, sky, or window shop strolling past storefronts or houses or buildings in your neighborhoods. Notice how moving your body can impact your mental and physical state.

I hope that these 5 tips are helpful!

QUESTION: How do you manage stress? I’d love to hear your go-to strategies in the comments below.

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