20.1.17

5 Ways To Help Reduce Anxiety




I posted last week on Instagram that I was reading Living With Intent by Mallika Chopra. As I mentioned in that post (and in my New Year's Resolutions post), my goal this year is to meditate a few times a week. So far, 20 days in, I have been unsuccessful. I find a million excuses to delay the start of my practice and when I do sit down to meditate, I feel like a complete failure as all I can think about is my shopping cart, what to make for dinner and what is left on my to-do list. Meditation is simply not easy. It's ironic that what seems to be the easiest thing in the world to do (sit still and breathe) can actually be the hardest. And I know I am not alone in this. My goal this year remains to strengthen my meditation practice and to be patient with myself until I reach this goal. Nonetheless, I thought I would share a few other things that I do to stay calm, help reduce my anxiety and improve my mental well-being.

1. Take a bath. I try and take a bath every night, even if it is only for five minutes. Ray always makes fun of me for how short my baths are. But honestly, five minutes is sometimes enough. It allows me to switch gears, relax my body and prepare for bed. I ALWAYS sleep better after I take a bath. I usually light a candle (I love the lavender and stress relief candles from Bath & Body Works) and use bath salts (either the lavender ones from Target or Camille Beckman salts). I put on music (think either Spa music or Iron and Wine) and just zone out. 

2. Take three breaths. I learnt this tactic in a training I did a few years ago. It sounds so simple "take three breaths" but it actually really works. If you ever feel overwhelmed, anxious, upset (and the list goes on) simply pause and take three breaths. This helps you center yourself and refocus. For me, it tends to remind myself that I am starting to feel anxious or overwhelmed and I need to take a step back, look at what is making me feel that way, and think of the bigger picture. 

3. Have tea. This is a weird one, I know. But for some reason every time I make a cup of tea it relaxes me and calms me down. I often forget this and go weeks without having tea. But every time I start drinking it again it reminds me how beneficial it can be. I'm not sure if its the warm liquid or the feelings I associate with having a cup of tea, but whatever it is it definitely helps center me. 

4. Go for a walk. I can't begin to tell you how important walks have been for me in dealing with anxiety. If you can't already tell, I have anxiety (I know, who doesn't). Sometimes its at bay and every now and then I get a huge flare up (usually around something stressful). My husband and I have always loved going on long walks at night with Luca. I can remember the specific incidences that have led to extreme anxiety over the past few years (law school, the bars, moving etc) and the walks we went on and conversations we had that helped me get through it. The fresh air, the time spent simply talking with no distractions and of course Luca's cute face help to relieve any anxiety I am having. We try and go on a nice walk every night. It is really is one of my favorite things to do together. 

5. Go shopping. Kidding (not). Do what makes you happy. Mine happens to be shopping (window shopping, online shopping etc). Normally I just build my shopping cart and rarely actually check out. But this helps distract me for a while and by the time I start thinking about whatever was stressing me out, time has passed and I am able to think more rationally. The other day I woke up really homesick. Then I started to think about all of the things that were stressing me out. By the early afternoon I had worked myself up in a really bad mood. Ray asked me if I would go with him to Neiman Marcus and get a coffee and cookie (they have the best cookies). He said he really felt like it. Reluctantly I said sure. By the time we left Neiman Marcus, I was in an amazing mood. The atmosphere, the people, the cookie(!), helped me get my mind off of everything that was upsetting me. Also being able to walk five minutes to Neiman Marcus from our house made me WAY less homesick, haha. When we were walking out he admitted he really wanted to go there for me (what a sweetie).

I hope these tips help you when you are feeling anxious or stressed. If you have any other suggestions please let me know! xoxo


Photography by Felicia Lasala



2 comments:

  1. Felicia,

    Thank you for sharing these great tips to decrease stress and anxiety. I am happy to say that I do 5 out of the 5 practices that you suggest. However, sometimes I do substitute a nice hot shower instead of a bath because of time constraints. My favorite is having a cup of tea. And when I am having one of those days my husband takes me to the Bistro at Nordstrom for a sweet treat and a cup of tea :) Lastly, listening to music also relaxes me. Give mediation another try. Love your blog.

    xoxo
    Nikki
    www.nikkilivinglife.com

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    1. Hey Nikki, Thanks for the comment! I sometimes take a shower instead of a bath too (serves the same purpose). Love that you go to the bistro in Nordstrom :). I've actually never eaten there. Will have to try it! I am definitely going to keep on practicing meditation xoxox

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