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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 September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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