8 Steps to improve your mental Wellbeing 🧠💗
We all feel anxious from time to time. When faced with an important test, or a major life change, anxiety may be a perfectly normal response. For a person suffering from an anxiety disorder, however, anxiety is more than an occasional worry. Severe or chronic anxiety may affect your relationships, school performance, or job. Generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder are among the most common anxiety disorders.
Here are 8 steps that may help your mental wellbeing, but remember if you feel great distress it is always better to consult an specialist.
- Remember to breathe: Stop for a moment and focus on breathing deeply. Sit up straight, then take a long breath through your nose, hold it for the count of three, then exhale slowly, while relaxing the muscles in your face, jaw, shoulders and abdominal area. This will help slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure. Practice your deep breathing from time to time so that it becomes second nature to do it when under stress.
- Take a mental step back: Anxiety tends to be focused on the future, so instead, try to focus on the present. Tamar Chansky, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Freeing Yourself from Anxiety, suggests that you ask yourself what is happening and what, if anything, needs to be done right now. If nothing needs to be done now, make a conscious decision to revisit the situation later in the day, when you are calmer.
- Follow the 3-3-3 rule: This is a simple way to change your focus. Start by looking around you and naming three things you can see. Then listen. What three sounds do you hear? Next, move three parts of your body, such as your fingers, toes, or clench and release your shoulders.
- Reach out: Telling a trusted friend or family member how you are feeling is a very personal decision, but those who are close to you can be a tremendous resource for handling anxiety. Don’t hesitate to ask for what you need. If you need someone to go with you to a movie, or for a walk, or just to sit with you for a time, speak up. No matter what, it is always comforting to talk to someone who cares about you.
- Physical activity: Not a long distance runner or athlete? This is probably not the moment to start extreme training. Remember though, that all forms of exercise are good for you and help ease the symptoms of anxiety. Even gentle forms of exercise, such as walking, yoga, or tai chi, release those feel-good chemicals. If you are not able to do those immediately, do some stretching exercises at your desk, or take a short walk outside during lunch.
- Be kind to yourself: Sometimes you just need to do something to help you feel better. That may mean getting a massage, or a soothing facial. To relax quickly, put a warmed heat wrap around your neck and shoulders. Close your eyes and relax the muscles in your face and neck. Sometimes it helps to simply disconnect from the noise of the world. Even if you only have five minutes, turn off your phone, computer, television and let the world turn without you for a little while. Silent time is soothing.
- Laughter: Anxiety is certainly no joke, but laughter has some surprising benefits. Similar to deep breathing, the act of laughing increases oxygen levels and helps with muscle relaxation. Laughter just feels good and lightens and shifts our focus. Watch a comedy or call that friend who always makes you laugh. You’ll be glad you did.
- Creativity: If you have a creative streak, use it. The arts offer an outlook for all of those anxious feelings. If you are artistic, take a few minutes to draw or paint how you are feeling. Keep a soothing picture of a beach or your “happy place” where you can look at it and take a mental vacation.
We live in a modern fast-paced world and taking a break even for a few minutes can make a great impact on our daily emotional state
Contact Lifeline for support if you or someone you know is experiencing a personal crisis or have suicidal thoughts. You can call them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from anywhere in Australia.
Lifeline 24-hour crisis line 131 114