Lifestyle and Productivity
Get enough sleep
Our body and mind need sleep in order to rest and refresh. Sleep deprivation is one of the primary causes of anxiety. An average person requires eight hours of sleep every day. When your brain is sleep deprived, it may not be able to respond to emotional events appropriately. Go to bed early and make sure that you get seven to nine hours of sleep every night to maintain a healthy mind.
Take a power nap.
For many, short and frequent “power” naps help a lot. A quick nap, around 15 to 20 minutes, will often refresh and revive your body and mind.
Awaken 10 minutes earlier and set the stage for a successful day
Life gets a lot easier when you plan out your day. Get a head start by waking up 10 minutes earlier. Then, create a rough plan in your mind about how you plan to spend your day. Sometimes it is helpful to jot down a list and take it with you. Check off each event as you finish it and then you’ll have a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day.
Over-analyzing things can quickly lead to mounting stress. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Let it go! If you find yourself worrying over things you have no control over, distract yourself. Go outside. Check out the sky. Are the stars out? Is the wind blowing? Will it be warmer as the day progresses? Play your favorite song. Look at pictures or photos that make you smile. List all the little things you can be grateful for and focus on those.
Feelings are just feelings, not facts
Everything you feel isn’t necessarily correct or factual. Negative feelings bubble up sometimes with little warning. Remember fear is often F(alse) E(vidence) A(ppearing) R(eal). Remind yourself to go one step at a time. Be confident and replace the negative feelings by focusing on something you enjoy. Practice by noticing things around you that give you a sense of wonder and beauty. A painting in the hall…the cat sleeping in the sun…your dog’s cheerful greeting. Anything that creates positive feelings for you will work. Then when the negative stuff seeps up, counter it with a positive memory.
Clear your mind.
Like your closet, your mind can fill up with unnecessary and unwanted stuff, so it’s important to get things straight and organized. Practice mindfulness by focusing your attention on the present. Slow down, breathe to a slow count of 5, make a to-do list, keep a journal, take a walk, or immerse yourself in a favorite pastime. Do less and focus on only one thing at a time as much as possible. Delegate when you can, ask for help if you need it.
Organize and get rid of clutter!
Just like the clutter and chaos in your mind can cause trouble, messy clutter in your home and/or workplace can create stress and feed frustration. Clean out, then recycle and repurpose anything you no longer need. Create the space you need to breathe and feel comfortable.
Invest in yourself
Invest in yourself and learn something new. Are you creative? As a child, did you love to draw or play the guitar? If so, pick it up and do it again! Read, take short courses and learn from others. Invest time and money on you and do it with joy and happiness. Just have fun with it and don’t push yourself too hard in the process.
Have you ever smiled even when you were feeling bad? That’s highly unlikely. Make yourself to smile more. Make a mental file of people, places, and things that make you smile. Pull something out of this mental file when you are feeling overwhelmed. The positive energy will transfer to your surroundings and echo back to you. In this study participants demonstrated that forcing a smile resulted in feeling more relaxed and an overall greater positive attitude.
While this is practically a no-brainer, it’s still important to note that exercising is an excellent way to get rid of stress. Find the type of exercise that suits you and makes you happy doing it. Some people find walking or jogging very relaxing while others like to dance or lift weights. Find a physical exercise that suits you and raise your heart rate around 20-30 minutes every day. Simple ways to increase exercise are to take the stairs, and park farther away so you have to walk further. Look for opportunities to walk and move at home, school or on the job.
Avoid low blood sugar
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is a major cause of episodic anxiety. Start off your day by having a good breakfast (try to avoid foods that are high in sugar like processed cereal or even smoothies). Eat small frequent meals every few hours throughout the rest of the day. Make sure you have enough protein in your diet and be sure to limit sugary snacks and sodas.
Get inspired – quotes, motivational videos or positive affirmations
Surround yourself with positive affirmations and inspiration. Find quotes that help you feel better by inspiring you and post them where you can see them easily. Watch motivational videos and listen to inspirational music. Find (or create!) your own favorite positive affirmations. Hang them on your mirror or your workstation and read and repeat them several times a day. Or just make them your desktop or phone’s wallpaper to keep yourself inspired and motivated at all times.