5 Tips to Reduce Your Anxiety in 10 Mins or Less
Anxiety can be a crippling mental disorder. Its severity varies greatly, but as a whole, the term ‘anxiety’ refers to a feeling of unease such as worry or fear. Feelings of anxiety are normal – humans are evolved to feel this way in any kind of a ‘fight or flight’ situation. However, chronic or prolonged feelings of worry that exist without cause could be a sign of anxiety disorder.
Sufferers feel as though they can barely get on with their day to day lives. There are many sub-categories of anxiety disorder, including panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social phobia or other phobias such as agoraphobia.
Of course, in the long-term, you should be seeking help for your condition through medical professionals and support groups. However, the panic attacks that may accompany the disorder can be scary, and these often need a short-term solution.
Different techniques work for different people when it comes to reducing feelings of anxiety quickly. Really, it’s just a matter of finding what helps you personally. In the meantime, here are our 5 tips to help you reduce your anxiety in 10 minutes or less.
1. Focus on your breathing
Anxiety can cause you to take quick, shallow breaths. This makes things so much worse, as your brain can’t function well when it isn’t properly oxygenated. It also contributes to muscle tension.
Whether you are experiencing an anxiety attack or simply feeling a little anxious, there are different breathing techniques that you can practice. Close your eyes and try out the “4-6-8” technique: Breathe in through your nose for 4 counts, hold it in your lungs for 6, then breathe out through your mouth for 8. Feel the tension exit your body as you do this, and keep going until you feel calmer.
The deep breathing engages your diaphragm, and is a really good way to feel calmer. This brings us onto the next tip – triggering the body’s relaxation response.
2. Trigger your ‘Relaxation Response’
First characterized by Harvard researcher Dr. Herbert Benson, the ‘relaxation response’ is the opposite of the fight or flight response. In complete contrast to its antagonistic counterpart, this response decreases muscle tension, slows the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and decreases the level of stress hormones.
If you want to activate this response, you essentially have to practice a little meditation, though this is bit more difficult than it might sound. You need to breathe deeply, focus on relaxing, and try to quiet your mind. At first you might find this difficult, but if you keep practicing mindfulness then you’ll find that it will come easier and easier.
3. Be present
Anxiety often causes people to worry about what might happen. These fears are often irrational, since there is no need to really fret over ‘what ifs.’ In order to avoid this, it’s important to live in the moment and be present. We understand that this is a lot easier said than done – but it is possible!
First of all, when you’re feeling anxious, you need to accept that this is the way you are feeling right now. Anxiety is a natural emotional reaction, and it’s nothing you should be blaming yourself for. Often, stressing over the fact that you feel anxious is only going to make things worse! This is not to say that you should allow yourself to feel anxious all the time; You should accept anxiety as a reality in this moment, but still try to talk yourself into calmness.
Next, you need to realize that your brain is playing tricks on you. Anything that you’re feeling might be a trick of the mind. Some people experience pain along with panic attacks, but this pain is not actually real. It’s simply a matter of questioning your own thought process. When you are stressing about the future and what might happen, you need to pause, take a deep breath, and ask yourself, “Is that worst case scenario I just came up with really likely to happen?”
Once you have told yourself that what will happen will happen, and that everything will likely be fine, you need to really focus on the present moment. Pay attention to what is happening right now rather than what might happen in the future. And if you aren’t doing anything, then set your mind on something meaningful. Start getting your chores done, go meet up with some friends – do anything that allows you to get out of your head. If you do things even though you feel anxious, you’ll realize that there was nothing to worry about in the first place.
4. Write out your worries
Expressive writing can be a great option for anxiety sufferers. Set aside a fixed amount of time each day to write about how you feel and about what is bothering you. This process has been shown to help people with a range of mental conditions, anxiety included. You could try doing this every night before bed, keeping a journal to help you work through your anxiety.
It’s worth noting, however, that experts recommend avoiding writing about particularly traumatic events immediately after they happen. This solidifies the memory of the trauma and can be the opposite of constructive. If you have suffered trauma, wait a month or two before trying out this technique.
5. Reduce Anxiety with CBD oil
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the compounds found within the cannabis plant. Although some cannabinoids such as THC have an infamous reputation for their role in the ‘high’ experienced by marijuana users, CBD is actually a non-psychoactive compound that will not give these effects.
Due to this, CBD is currently being tested as a potential aid for a variety of symptoms and conditions. So far, the results have been promising, and one of the symptoms CBD is being used for is anxiety.
According to Virginia Thornley, a board-certified neurologist in Sarasota, Florida, CBD has some similar effects to antianxiety medications and antidepressants. It is widely known that a lot of these pharmaceutical drugs can have some pretty nasty side effects (and may even lead to addiction), but CBD has thus far been deemed safe by researchers, including the World Health Organization. The most likely side effects of CBD are dry mouth, nausea, and diarrhea, all of which are minor and easy to fix.
Several studies have shown the anti-anxiety effects of CBD. For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse published an article on this, stating that animal studies displayed less behavioral signs of anxiety when administered a CBD treatment. Symptoms of anxiety such of increased heart rate were also improved.
Furthermore, a 2011 study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology studied CBD and its effects on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The participants were administered with either 400 mg of CBD or a placebo, and the results showed that those who took CBD experienced reduced anxiety levels as compared to those who took the placebo.
This scientific evidence suggests that CBD could be used for anxiety. Most people take CBD oils, which are administered as drops under the tongue. CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream quite quickly when administered sublingually, meaning that you could use a few drops when you feel particularly anxious and you might feel symptoms melt away. Alternatively, you could use CBD oil daily as a means of mitigating your anxiety.
Reduce your anxiety in 10 minutes or less: Final thoughts
If you suffer from some form of anxiety disorder, you are certainly not alone. There are plenty of ways to get help, and you will be able to get better.
That said, sometimes you just need a short-term fix for those sudden bursts of anxiety. In these scenarios, there are several different things you can try, including writing your feelings down, deep breathing, or even trying CBD oil. With regards to the latter, more concrete evidence is needed to prove that it fully works, but anecdotal reports suggest that it could be a good tool for reducing some of the symptoms of anxiety.
Whatever it is that works for you, we wish you luck on your journey with anxiety.