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3 Anxiety Reduction Tools That Will Work Today (#2 May Surprise You)

3 Anxiety Reduction Tools That Will Work Today (#2 May Surprise You)

Are you looking for anxiety reduction ideas that really work? Anxiety and stress are related to sleep deprivation, dissatisfaction at work and in relationships, physical ailments such as headaches, and many more struggles that are common today. If you are coping with stress or anxiety, you may be searching for ways to improve your mood, experience more joy and hope, and feel more comfortable or confident in your day-to-day life.

Long-term strategies like psychotherapy, mindfulness practices, and prioritizing overall health are quite effective for managing anxiety and reducing its negative impact. While it’s vital to invest in yourself with ongoing processes like those listed above, there are also ways to relieve anxiety and stress that you can use to get results right now.

These three tools can be used today to relieve stress and improve your quality of life.

1. Get Into The Moment for Anxiety Reduction

Anxiety and stress take you hostage with thoughts about the past or future – taking you out of the present moment. You may notice that you try to control things by over-planning, over-analyzing, or obsessing over details.

Time thinking about the future will disconnect you from what your needs, thoughts, and feelings are right now. This is stressful for your brain and body to maintain. Bringing yourself back to your awareness of the present moment allows you to feel in control of yourself, rather than spinning in circles trying to plan a way to control something in your external world.

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Here is a three-step challenge that you can use now to orient your mind and body in the present moment:

1. For a moment or two try to do nothing but breathe.

2. Look down at your body. Notice the color of your clothes, the comfort level of the chair you’re sitting in, and the way your chest moves as you breathe. Take your hands away from the computer, and rest them on your lap.

3. Look around you. Notice the detail about the things that are in your space. Try to observe without judging anything as good or bad. When your mind starts to wander, bring it back to focusing on this article – and this article alone.

2. Practicing Forgiveness for Anxiety Reduction

Have you heard that a grudge hurts you more than it hurts the other person? It’s better for your own health to forgive someone else instead of holding onto anger. Practicing forgiveness is also a way of releasing fear, anxiety, and stress! Forgiving someone else is allowing yourself to have a new experience – not necessarily of that person (let’s face it, sometimes we need to cut ties), but of the world and people in general.

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Anxiety wants you to make negative assumptions about people and future experiences, convincing you that you’re being protected from more pain by assuming the worst. Forgiving will keep you open to new and better things.

Anxiety and stress are also linked to perfectionism. You may be convinced that you’re being responsible and dedicated when in fact you are carrying a heavy burden of doubt and negativity around with you as you try to accomplish tasks. Forgiving yourself sets you free from the burden of perfectionism, allowing you to accomplish more with more joy.

Here are two ways to practice forgiveness right now:

1. Take a moment to think of someone or something that you have been unable to forgive. Even if it’s not yet true, say aloud “I forgive you.” Practice it a few times, and try again tomorrow, until you are able to release yourself from the pain.

2. Think of a time that you tend to be critical of yourself. Is it difficult for you to allow yourself to make mistakes? Write yourself a note saying that you accept and forgive the mistake. Again, say it aloud to yourself: “I forgive you.”

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3. Use Laughter and Joy for Anxiety Reduction

Laughter releases healing chemicals in the brain that bring relief. It also opens up the possibility to have a new experience in the moment. Novelty experiences, even small ones, are vital for daily stress management. Laughter can also help you experience an emotional connection with another person and help you create a positive memory.

In addition, connection with others is a key component to relief from anxiety symptoms, partially because experiencing frequent fear and stress can be isolating. Connecting through laughter (even via text message!) may break you out of a negative thought process. So, how can you bring some laughter, humor, and connection into your life today?

Here are three ways you can bring humor into your life right now:

1. Do something kind for a friend or acquaintance. It can be anything from sending a link to a funny video, writing a letter of gratitude, or taking time out of your day to help her. Look for the humor in a situation that might otherwise cause you to worry.

2. Do something today that is completely outside of your comfort zone. Put on music and dance, sign up for a martial arts class, or start up a conversation with a total stranger. Did you jump in and practice each example, or were you embarrassed, doubtful, or afraid?

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3. Anxiety may try to stop you from giving these tools a legitimate try. Go for it anyway! You may surprise yourself with what you are able to experience and achieve.

How will you incorporate these tools into your life today?

Featured photo credit: Ryan McGuire via gratisography.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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