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May 21, 2020

10 Things that Help Lower our Anxiety (& work Better than that old Face Mask).

*Editor’s Note: Elephant is not your doctor or hospital. Our lawyers would say “this web site is not designed to, and should not be construed to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, or treatment to you or any other individual, and is not intended as a substitute for medical or professional care and treatment. Always consult a health professional before trying out new home therapies or changing your diet.” But we can’t afford lawyers, and you knew all that. ~ Ed.

 

Elephant’s Continually-updating Coronavirus Diary. ~ Waylon

Living life amidst stay-at-home orders makes it easy for me to get stuck inside my head.

I tend to overthink my day-to-day activities; it stresses me out. So, I did some research on methods to cope with my anxieties and help me find peace of mind.

Here is a list of things I found that can relieve tension:

1. Draw a Zentangle.

According to Psychology Today, preliminary studies have shown that sketching Zentangles relieves stress, especially if we draw without setting expectations. All we need is a blank piece of paper and a pen. Then, pick an easy pattern to doodle repeatedly. We can find patterns on Pinterest for inspiration. It’s fun to unleash our creativity and see what emerges from our artwork.

2. Go for a walk.

Sometimes all we need is some room to breathe. Going outside can improve our mood. Walking boosts endorphins and alleviates mild depression. Plus, it’s a perfect way to take some time, listen to the birds sing, and admire the flowers blooming in our community. 

3. Read something new. 

Reading six minutes a day significantly reduces my stress. It’s true! Reading also strengthens our vocabulary and helps calm our minds. 

So, pick up that book. The one we have procrastinated reading, or find an article online about something of interest. One of my favorite magazines is Flash Fiction Magazine.

4. Listen to a guided meditation on YouTube. 

We can find all kinds of free, guided meditations online. Whether we want to rest our mind or energize our spirit, we can find one to fit our needs. All we need is a pair of headphones, somewhere safe to relax, and a charged phone. Web M.D. says that meditating for at least 10 minutes a day can reduce anxiety and improve cardiovascular health. My favorite YouTube channel for meditations is The Honest Guys.

5. Make a chill music playlist on Spotify. 

Studies show that music we listen to “Changes the way you perceive the world.” The songs we listen to have an impact on our mood. Shift that mood by playing music that feels good mentally, emotionally, and physically. 

My favorite playlist to listen to is called Chill Folksy Music, but there are tons of genres on the app. 

6. Put together an easy puzzle, either in real life or on an app. 

Whether it’s a picture puzzle or a crossword puzzle, puzzles are a great way to reduce anxiety. According to Best Health Magazine, Dr. Susan Vandermorris said, “In our hyperconnected world, if we’re physically doing a paper or cardboard puzzle, we are, by definition, disconnected and engaged in a task that’s immersive, away from the interruptions and stresses of day-to-day life.” 

When I finish all my physical puzzles, my go-to app is Jigsaw 3D Puzzle.

7. Do some freewriting. 

All we need is a pen and a piece of paper. Set a timer and write about anything. According to Harvard, “Most studies have evaluated the impact of expressive writing on people with physical health conditions such as sleep apnea, asthma, migraine headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV, and cancer.” If we feel like we need a starting point, we can write lists or find 60 different writing prompts on Get Free Write. 

8. Watch a comedy.

We can lift our spirits by watching a funny DVD, or we can browse Netflix for a stand-up comedy special. Laughter has the power to relax muscles and reduce stress hormones. There’s no wrong way to watch a comedy. YouTube is also full of material that will make us laugh until we cry. One of my favorite channels is Dry Bar Comedy.

9. Call a friend or relative to let them know we are thinking of them.

Tell them how much we love them and miss them. Connecting with someone else can lift our spirits. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Good friends are good for your health.” Staying in touch with friends and family can boost happiness, help to cope with stress, and improve self-confidence. Making someone else feel good will make us feel good, too.

10. Try a DIY craft with what you already have at home

There are tons of DIY crafts to try on Pinterest. Keeping our hands busy can distract us from our worries. CNN reported, “In one study of more than 3,500 knitters, published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81% of respondents with depression reported feeling happy after knitting. More than half reported feeling ‘very happy’.” 

One of my favorites crafts is creating a vision board. A vision board is a poster with images and words representing our goals and aspirations for the year. 

As we try to find ways to cope and manage stress, we must remember that we are not alone. Take the time to practice self-care. These ideas are a great starting point for discovering ways to relax our minds. I hope they motivate others to find the inner peace they deserve.

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