by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghApril 30, 2021 anxiety, Anxiety and Stress, anxiety therapy pittsburgh0 comments
Anxiety management in a healthy sustainable way!
Here is the ultimate listicle of healthy ways to reduce and manage anxiety symptoms beyond meditation and exercise because while both of those do work, they might not be in everyone’s tool bag. Here are 10 simple and effective therapist verified ways to help.
- Blow bubbles! This works two ways, one who can be anxious when they are looking at a shiny bright bubble? But seriously, bubbles require us to blow our air out, when we are blowing out we activate our parasympathetic nervous system. It is also speculated that anxiety and panic can be induced by a CO2 sensitivity, this is helped anytime we blow out slowly. So go ahead, let your inner child emerge and blow some bubbles!
- Try a hot bath! Hydrotherapy works, this is all about vasodilation, when we take a warm bath our blood pressure increases but what goes up must come down so we float into a state of deeper relaxation after, if you can take your bath with candlelight and a good book, even better!
- Count down from 100 backwards. Many anxiety management techniques help us to focus on something other than the anxiety, counting backwards works well!
- Scanning techniques, focus on what you see around you, you can even use the alphabet, start by looking around for something that starts with the letter A, then B. Some people respond best to this by writing out their answers too.
- Listen to soothing music, sound can be very therapeutic because our heart rates do respond to auditory stimulation. If you listen to something below 60 BPM (Beats per minute) you will naturally bring down your heart rate too.
- Progressive muscle relaxation is a system of focusing on each muscle group and squeezing them, holding the tension for 10-20 seconds, then relaxing. You start at your toes and slowly move up to the crown of your head. After working through each muscle group you squeeze every muscle and then relax. This is effective because we are best at relaxing after being active!
- While most of us want to harness our calm without any pharmacological intervention, that is not always possible. Some mental health and medical diagnosis respond only to medical treatment. With that in mind, some forms of stress can be aided by using herbal remedies, herbs such as hops, valerian, and lemon balm are especially calming. Consult your local herbalist for more tips on herbs!
- Do some gardening, soil and contact with the earth works on multiple levels to help us relax, it doubles as physical activity and we also know that nature therapy via time spent outdoors has excellent stress reducing benefits. Go ahead, plant a flower or tree, not only with you enjoy its beauty but you will get a relaxing dose of wellness while you are at it.
- Lower your heart, literally. I know we aren’t including exercise but a low impact yoga stretch called child’s pose can be achieved by getting onto your knees, then bending forward from your waist to lay your head and shoulders on the ground. Your heart gets a welcome rest when you are inverted this way and your heart rate automatically goes down!
- Phone a friend, this is especially helpful for women who are experiencing anxiety, women get a stress reducing benefit from talking to supports about their stresses. Feeling overwhelmed, talk it out!
Stephanie Wijkstrom, MS, LPC, NCC Stephanie Wijkstrom, MS, LPC, NCC