Relax your shoulders. Unclench your jaw. Unclench you hands. Just breathe.
How does that feel?
More often than not, when our anxiety levels are high, we notice all of the above. Mental health is often manifested into your physical health.
Our bodies are so clever - our fight or flight mode is easily activated to help protect us and defend us from danger like tigers. Our palms go sweaty. our digestive system shuts down, even our skin changes in acidity so when the tiger goes in for the kill, we don't taste appetising. But how often are we really facing tigers in our everyday life?
Dealing with anxiety is not just a mental health issue. It's so physical too. When we get an intrusive thought, the mind listens & sees this as a danger. Our body then reacts to this by creating these physical symptoms, known as fight or flight.
So how do you deal with it? It's okay to feel anxious sometimes - acknowledge it, sit with it and endure it. It's all about your tactics and coping mechanisms to execute and quickly move on. Here's how we do it and how you can too:
1. COLD SHOWERS
Have a cold shower first thing in the morning. I know what you're thinking - that sounds like your worse nightmare! But jumping into a cold shower helps lower cortisol levels almost straight away. While under the water, practice a breathing exercise. 4 SECONDS OF BREATHING IN, 6 SECONDS OF BREATHING OUT. Stay in the shower until you don't feel the cold water anymore.
Cold showers help reduce stress levels, by imposing a small amount of stress on your body, which leads to a process called hardening. This means your nervous system gradually gets used to handling moderate levels of stress. The hardening process helps you to keep a cool head, the next time you find yourself in a stressful situation.
2. MOVE YOUR BODY
This is as natural as it gets. Move your body at a pace that will release endorphins. If you're a little bit more FitazFK, try something that is more impactful or that will help you work up a sweat.
If you don't know where to start, try a 15 minute walk or get started with one of our guides here.
3. EAT HAPPY FOODS
Fill your tummy with the right fuel for your body and mind. Our go-to is overnight oats. Multiple studies have revealed oats increase your mood to a happier life. They're a proven anti-depressant in itself. Oats are scientifically proven to help your brain receive more TRYPTOPHAN which is a happiness hormone.
Want to perfect your overnight oat recipe? Click here.
4. GIVE BACK
Think about someone else. This is the MOST important. Depression and anxiety we believe come from a similar place. It usually hits us when we are concentrating on us.
You often find yourself asking questions like
"How are we affected if XYZ happens?"
"What's going to happen if I don't do XYZ?"
"Oh I shouldn't have sent that email, now XYZ is going to hate me.."
You get the point. But fk all that off for a day and concentrate on how you can help someone else. It might be focusing on one person that's going through a hard time, or it might be as simple as contributing to 5 people's smile before 5PM.
These tactics might not work for everyone, but we can guarantee there is something in here for you. What are some of your go-to tactics to manage your thoughts?