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Read This If You Want To Make Anxiety Your Friend, Not Your Enemy

Read This If You Want To Make Anxiety Your Friend, Not Your Enemy

Having anxiety can be debilitating and can make your daily life a struggle to get through. Fortunately, there are ways that you can use anxiety to your advantage and make it more bearable to get through the day.

Use it to be proactive

Anxiety can cause your mind to always be churning with “what ifs,” and doubts on any and every topic, but you can turn all this internal activity into being productive and getting things done. Channeling your anxious energy into a specific task not only helps you check off tasks on your to-do list, but it also help quell any anxious trains of thoughts by reassuring that you are on top of things.

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Use it as an excuse to exercise

Whenever you feel your stress increase, take this as a sign to get some fresh air and take a walk or go for a run in your neighborhood. Moving around helps decrease your anxiety and of course also keeps your body in physical shape as well. Pretty soon you will get into a rhythm where it will take you little convincing to head out doors, because your body and mind will know the huge benefits from being active.

Use it as a reminder to be social

Usually one of the last things that anxious people want is to be around other people, but having social interaction can help more than hinder if done right. You do not have to go to a crowded event or attend a party filled with a lot of individuals you do not know. Instead spend time with a few close friends and family members. Spending time with loved ones can help take your mind off of whatever you are stressing about and learn to appreciate the present.

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Use it as a sign to take care of yourself

High levels of anxiety can point to areas in your life where you are not taking care of your own well-being, whether it is physical or emotional. Instead of reaching for the ice cream when your anxiety levels rocket, consider nourishing your body with a healthier alternative, like fruit. The same goes for improving your mindfulness with daily meditation or yoga practice.

Use it as a change to reflect on your present life

Anxiety can seem burdensome in your life, but it can also be used as a moment of reflection in your life for overall general happiness levels. Have you not been happy in your current position at work or has something been nagging at you with a certain friendship? It is important to take stock of these seemly insignificant issues in your life, since they can build up and create more anxiety. Try writing down three things that you would like to change in your life currently and then make a detailed plan on how to remedy each one.

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Use it as a way to be creative

One of the benefits of having high anxiety levels is that you can channel that nervous energy into being artistic. Whether you are interested in watercolor or writing, using your anxiety can be the perfect muse to creating something great.

Use it to help others

Constantly having your brain turned on with endless worries can be taxing, but a great remedy to this is using this energy to help others. Whether you are volunteering at your local soup kitchen or helping a friend out, giving your time to others is a perfect solution to taking the focus off of yourself.

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Use it to embrace a new hobby

It is easy to become paralyzed when your mind is racing, but a great alternative is to use this energy and focus on a new interest. It could be something as simple as knitting or gardening, but putting in the effort to learn something will help let your mind focus on something besides worrying.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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