Heart is pumping, hands are shaking, you become hot and sweaty, even feel like you can’t breathe. Trust me I’ve been there too. Anxiety is no fun and hard to control.
Whether brought on by a specific experience or if it comes up out of nowhere, it can be so difficult to calm down your mind and body. However, if you find yourself in an anxiety prone situation, it’s great to have a toolbox of tactics to fight off those nerves.
These are not medical fixes or doctor prescribed treatment, simply tips from a fellow yogi to help you get calm, cool, and collected. Here are the three ways I have found most helpful to reduce anxiety.
1. Breathe, Darling
Usually when we become anxious, our mind is racing and we aren’t thinking straight. I have found my yoga practice most help for the many breathing practices I have learned. Your entire body needs breath to function properly, so it’s important to keep an easy breathing practice in your toolbox.
Personally I like to do a three part breath. This helps you to focus on taking long even breaths, calming your mind and entire body.
Try this: Use one long inhale to breathe first into your throat, then down into your lungs, then all the way down into your belly, all in the same inhale. Hold your breath for a moment. Now exhale first from your belly, then your lungs, then your throat.
Repeat this as many times as you need until you feel relaxed.
2. Try Using Imagery
If you are in a spot where you can lie down, do so and close your eyes. If not, find a comfortable place to sit. Imagine a place where you would be calm. Most people have one place and time where they have been sublimely happy, and keep that place tucked away safely in a little box in their mind.
Focus on this place, the sights and colors, the smells, the sounds, the temperature, or the feeling beneath your feet. Allow yourself to escape to this place for as long as it takes. Give yourself the time to check out and find peace.
3. Settle Into a Calming Yoga Pose
If you are someone who needs movement or physical action to release their anxious nerves, there are a plethora of Yoga Poses you can try. My recommendation is Child’s Pose.
Child’s Pose is a fantastic resting pose. It allows your brain to rest and is known to reduce stress and fatigue. I like to settle into the pose, close my eyes, focus on breathing, and imagine that I have created a quiet little cocoon for myself.
Try turning your head from side to side, massaging your forehead on your mat, which feels wonderful! Or you can release a little extra stress by deeply exhaling. Push your breath out through your mouth making a gentle “hah” sound.
Anxiety can be overwhelming. It can come on all of sudden out of nowhere, or build up from stress over time. How ever anxiety becomes present in your life, the most important thing is to know how best deal with it. Accept the fact that anxiety is ok, and don’t make yourself feel guilty or shameful. Instead, become proactive and powerful using tips like these to reduce it.
How do you deal with anxiety? We’d love to hear any tips or tricks you have in your toolbox!