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Ultimate Guide: Self-Help Tips To Deal With Anxiety

Ultimate Guide: Self-Help Tips To Deal With Anxiety

Feeling overly anxious can be a massive hindrance to your daily life. It’s especially hard to control because once the anxious thoughts are implanted in our minds, the fears, ‘what ifs’ and worst-case scenarios can start to spiral out of control. Our sleep gets disrupted, our health can deteriorate and it can stop us from living our lives the way we’d ideally want to. In a word, anxiety can be paralysing and it can grow from small thoughts and doubts to big fears.

Learning to deal with anxiety can be hard but if you feel that you’re at a stage where you want to do something about it yourself then this guide will take you through some daily tips that you can do to relieve your anxiety and gain back some control for your life. Dealing with anxiety isn’t about just thinking positively, it’s a gentle process to train your mind to be more calm and to rein in the feelings of fear which are only created in your head.

Worrying is very hard to stop because it’s probably been a lifetime pattern of thinking that’s become almost automatic. If it’s something you’re prone to doing and have done for a long time, it may have just become a mechanism that you use to almost protect yourself – you’ve unconsciously trained your mind into immediately seeing the negatives and the problems in a situation rather than the positives. Gaining new perspectives as well as changing lifestyle habits and adopting techniques can help you on the way to curbing your anxiety issues.

Stage 1: Getting Perspective On Your Worries

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    Your beliefs are only in your head. It’s important to realise this because most of what’s going on in our minds aren’t reality. If you have fears and doubts they only exist because you’ve allowed them to and that doesn’t mean they’re real on the outside. If you really start to train your mind to think that irrational thoughts are just that, then you can start to ignite a different way of seeing your problems. Curbing anxiety starts with the mind, your perspective and the way you choose to see everything so here is the best place to start.

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    • Ask Yourself ‘Is It Possible To Solve The Problem’?

    There’s a difference between worrying and problem-solving. When we worry we believe that we are dealing with the problem because we temporarily detach from the emotions when we worry about it therefore it actually becomes a type of distraction. In this space we aren’t finding a solution we are just prolonging it in our minds. Instead of worrying, try intentionally thinking of a solution. If you find a solution then you diminish the worry you created in the first place.

    • Gaining Perspective

    Combating anxiety issues is mainly down to perspective. Worrying allows us to get a screwed up version of the problem and can even create a problem that wasn’t there in the first place. It’s really important to distinguish between solvable and unsolvable problems to reduce your amount of worry. Most of our problems can be solved possibly easier than we think so consciously trying to gain new perspectives and shifting our mindset will help deal with anxiety issues in a constructive way.

    • Challenging Your Anxious Thoughts

    The problem with suffering from anxiety is that we tend to believe our thoughts are fact. Challenging your thoughts is a way of not letting your mind give in to them and gaining some control. It’s good to get into the habit of examining your worries and anxieties and questioning them – we are so used to letting these thoughts runaway that they are never confronted and dealt with. Ask yourself some questions like what’s the likelihood of what I’m scared of actually happening? What evidence is there that makes this worry true or not true? Is there a better way to perceive this problem – a more positive one? Really try to challenge your thoughts and get your mind to think differently about them.

    Stage 2: Lifestyle Changes To Deal With Anxiety

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      There are many changes we can make in our daily lives that can contribute to less worry and anxiety. Creating and obtaining a healthy lifestyle can set us up to deal with anxiety better and more effectively. What goes on in our mind can transcend to the rest of our body and can start to take its toll.

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      • Creating An Exercise Routine

      As for a lot of stress and anxiety issues, exercise is a wonderful and necessary way to combat them. It’s so effective that in some cases, it has known to calm a person’s anxiety entirely. Releasing endorphins and getting the blood and oxygen pumping naturally clears your head of thoughts and allows your brain to relax. Getting rid of the tension caused by too much worry and stress will only serve you when it comes to the way you deal with thoughts of anxiety. After a good cardiovascular workout the benefits continue for hours and feeling good and positive from the workout will decrease significantly the negative thoughts and ideas that generate in your head.

      • Relaxation At Home

      It’s important to create a haven where you can ideally relax and escape from your worries and anxieties. Doing the things that relax you like a hot bath or shower, listening to calming music or reading books is crucial if you’re an overly-anxious person. Taking time out to sit quietly and do the things you love and make you happy will have a great effect on calming your mind. Often we forget to do these things or we bring home the anxieties of the day continuing the cycle. If you can try to break that cycle and just put time aside in your sanctuary even for 30 minutes to an hour, your body and mind will reap the benefits.

      • Eating Healthily

      There are many foods that can help and hinder your anxiety. Make sure you avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar which are anxiety-inducing and can increase periods of worry. Many foods high in anti-oxidants help enhance your mood especially cranberries, blueberries and blackberries. Also include any food high in magnesium as lack of magnesium can trigger anxiety – oily fish, nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables are a great addition. Caffeine-free tea like Oolong contains GABA which is an amino acid that helps with calming the nervous system and promotes sleep. It’s important to get a wide variety of healthy foods and supplements that promote a nutritious body and mind that will help you deal with anxiety more efficiently.

      Stage 3: Mindfulness Techniques To Deal With Anxiety

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        Since our mind is the number one culprit in worry, anxiety and stress, it makes sense to target the mind and create a calming influence on it. Suffering from anxiety means that we are not living in the present moment but rather worrying about something in the past or the future. It’s important to focus on the present – the here and now – to gain perspective. A calmer mind will equal calmer thoughts so it’s really important to focus on learning mindfulness techniques. These techniques are a wonderful way to train your mind to think differently, and again, can give you greater perspective in your world and the outer world.

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        • Practising Meditation

        There is so much research about how effective mediation is when it comes to anxiety and the stress that it causes. Regular mediation practice has been found to calm the body and the mind, reducing blood pressure, improving immune systems, enhancing mood and therefore reducing depression – so many benefits from just a simple routine you can do on a daily basis. Meditation will train your brain to focus which is a great skill to develop when you suffer from anxiety; it will reduce the stress you feel around problems and allow you to see problems more clearly.

        • Breathing Techniques

        Breathing techniques are a great way to counteract stress and anxiety. When we’re stressed and anxious we tend to make shorter and sharper breathes which results in an imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body. When we breathe deeply and calmly, we are sending more oxygen to the brain which allows us to relax, calm down and see things more clearly. When you find yourself feeling particularly anxious then stop and breathe deeply letting the breathe out slowly – doing this several times will help you reset.

        • Yoga And Mindful Walking

        Two great mindfulness practices are yoga and mindful walking. Yoga incorporates mediation with good stretching positions that are beneficial for your mind and body. It helps you to be mindful and relaxed helping to calm your thoughts and worries. Another great habit to have is mindful walking which involves taking a walk and focusing on your breathing, how your body is moving and taking in your surroundings. It’s a great way to train your mind to think about the present moment rather than be living in the worry of the past or the future.

        Stage 4: Further Practical Techniques To Deal With Anxiety

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          Sometimes you just need techniques that you can pull on when you’re feeling the anxiety levels rising up. These are handy to have when you feel overwhelmed.

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          • Repeating Your Worry

          This may seem counterproductive but experts say that repeating your worry over and over will cause you to get bored of it. When we adapt to something we become more comfortable with it so when you find yourself feeling anxious about something in particular then deal with it head-on by thinking about it and thinking about it and thinking about it! Eventually your brain will get sick of it or bored and the thought will start to become less and less.

          • Setting Aside A Particular Time To Worry

          Let’s face it, we are never going to get rid of our ability to worry. It’s quite ingrained and all of us worry to some degree. The problem with having anxiety issues is that we tend to worry all the time. They crop up here there and everywhere; our brain wanting to stew over them there and then. This can take its toll on our mind and our body causing fatigue and tiredness which just adds to stress and more worry. Try setting up a particular time to process your worries preferably at the end of the day. Write them down when they come up and set it aside to think about later. The beauty of this is that you’ll find a lot of your worries won’t exist anymore by the end of the day – and if they still do then your worry time can deal with it.

          • Making Peace With Time

          The problem with anxiety is that time can feel like it’s running out or slowing down. Things can feel like an emergency or that you’re waiting forever for something to happen or not happen. Try to make peace with time in that most of our worries either never materialise or float away eventually. Remember how many times a problem never turned out to be a problem; that emergency was never an emergency. Stop and ask yourself if you’re really going to be worrying about this in the next hour, day, month or year? By doing this you can put less significance and importance on what’s causing you the anxiety.

          Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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          Jenny Marchal

          Freelance Writer

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          Published on March 8, 2019

          How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

          How Adding Flow Yoga to Your Workout Routine Boosts Your Gains

          When we fall into a workout routine, our moves become automatic, and the body quickly adapts. This is called muscle memory.[1] While teaching your body how to properly execute squats, push-ups, or crunches is a benefit, overly relying on these moves to consistently grow gains won’t yield the kind of results you want. That’s because the muscles work in the same way every time.

          Simply put, they’re not being “surprised,” so they get lazy.

          Supplementing your routine with flow yoga is one way of surprising your muscles, especially if you are new to the yoga practice and have never tried the postures. It’s like taking a new road home when you drive, deviating from your usual route. Science has found that by doing so, you’re creating new neuropathways in your brain.[2] The same is done in your muscles when you try a new routine.

          How is this done? Let’s dive right into it.

          How Flow Yoga Boost Your Gains in Your Workout Routine

          Think about your current workouts:

          If you lift weights, you rely on external tools to engage your various muscle groups. Over time, your shoulders, legs, or biceps will come to expect the weighted plates or dumbbells, in the repetitive sequences that you remember.

          In flow yoga, we use the body as the weight. Add gravity and hundreds of different postures and combinations, and you have a workout that uses the same muscle groups, but in many different ways.

          A pose such as plank is a full-body workout, with every muscle engaged to keep the body in one long line. While it’s a stationary pose, it requires muscle control and activation, with no room for passivity.

            A Flow sequence, on the other hand, requires your muscle to switch from one pose to another swiftly, providing you with a more balanced and wholesome use of your major muscle groups.

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            Not only do these poses and routines re-energize the body in a refreshing way, they also allow you to learn something new, which is powerful for the mind.

            Bottom line? Complementing your exercise regimen with flow yoga is like hitting the shuffle button on your workouts, using your muscles in ways that “surprise” them, which in turn boost their growth and performance.

            Energizing Flow Yoga with Added Cardio

            Flow yoga is also known as “Vinyasa.”[3] In Sanskrit – the sacred language of the practice and its Indian roots – Vinyasa is roughly translated to “one breath, one movement.”

            This guideline, first and foremost, enhances your breathing, and teaches you how to go from our typical shallow, chest-only breathing, to a more deeper, belly-chest breath that uses the entire lung system.

            Not only is this beneficial for a myriad of healthcare reasons (combat allergies, eliminate toxins, reduce stress, ease anxiety), it also greatly impacts our muscles,[4] and therefore our workout.

            Flooding your muscles with rich oxygen will only keep them healthy, while the cardio benefit will get you warmed up to take on the more challenging postures in a flow yoga class. This prevents injuries and cramping.

            The best example of energizing cardio in flow yoga is the Sun Salutation sequence. Each pose is completed on an inhale or an exhale, until the sequence is finished. One full sequence may be repeated several times, encouraging you to take fuller and deeper breaths. The cycles warm up and loosen the body and prepare the muscles for stationary poses that are held longer.

            Here’s how to do a Sun Salutation Flow:

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            Due to the Sun Salutations, the muscles are not thrown into a challenging workout, but rather primed and prepared with energizing breath.

            Why is this important, you ask? Because happy muscles are warmed-up muscles.

            The Best Thing About Flow Yoga

            The best thing about practicing flow yoga? You’re building strength and flexibility.

            Strength and flexibility are like the Mecca of a wholesome workout routine. Before we get into why this is important, let’s break these two down individually to see how they stand up on their own:

            Meet Strong Stan

            Strong Stan is at the gym, doing bicep curls with massive dumbbells. His muscles have peaked in size, and he proudly displays them.

            While he loves to lift weights, Strong Stan often skips stretching or warm-ups. He just doesn’t see how that could help him continue his muscle gains, so he jumps right into a heavy workout.

            While it’s not evident to a passerby, Stan’s muscles are hurting. Without sufficient flexibility or deliberate stretching, Stan’s muscles are shortening and getting tighter. This eventually leads to joint injuries,[5] because un-stretched muscles have limited range of motion.

            Big muscles are a sure indicator of strength, but here’s the kicker – choosing not to prioritize flexibility will keep them inherently at risk.

            Meet Flexible Fiona

            Flexible Fiona is in a flow yoga class, easing herself into a backbend.[6] She effortlessly gets into the pose, and “hangs” out there for a few breaths while the teacher cues the class.

            Even though the teacher instructs the students to engage their glutes and be mindful that this is an active pose, Flexible Fiona opts otherwise, and relaxes into the posture by sacrificing the strength she ought to be building.

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            To many in the class, Fiona’s execution of the backbend would be a success – maybe even something to envy. However, what Fiona doesn’t realize is that her excessive flexibility is actually a detriment to her joints.[7]

            Flexibility has been defined as the “absolute range of motion” by Tony Gummerson, Martial Arts instructor. For people who are naturally flexible, that line of absolute range is often blurry and, in practice, overlooked.

            It’s very easy for Fiona to go above and beyond her range of motion, since her flexibility parameters are much wider than what Strong Stan may experience in a similar pose.

            Because she doesn’t feel the stretch in the same degree of motion as other students in class, Fiona has to push the envelope of her flexibility. This puts too much pressure on the joints that are already overworked, and it overstretches the muscles that are now prone to tearing.

            Your goal is to create muscle and joint balance and wholeness.

            What Strong Stan and Flexible Fiona have in common is that they’re both missing vital pieces of muscle awareness.

            In Stan’s case, heavy and tight muscles crave flexibility. Without it, not only would Stan hit a plateau in his gains because of a sure injury, but he would miss out on having the lean and toned muscles that we all want to have.

            In Fiona’s case, her overstretched muscles are not getting a workout at all. Rather, her excessive flexibility is resting on her joints, which leads to definite injury.

            So what can you do? It’s quite simple.

            You have to give your muscles the opposite of what they’re used to.

            If you’re a Stan and hate stretching, focusing on your flexibility is key. You will lengthen your tight muscles, and you’ll create new muscle memory by practicing routines that are new to you and your muscle groups.

            If you’re a Fiona and hate strengthening, focusing on this priority is vital. Your muscles are used to being passive as you stretch, so shaking up the usual and putting them to work will not only keep you injury-free, but that much closer to the muscle gains you’ve been looking for.

            Fortunately, flow yoga is the whole package, and can be the one-stop-shop for both Stan and Fiona.

              Final Thoughts

              If you’re serious about using flow yoga to supplement your workout routine to boost gains, sign up for a class at your local gym or yoga studio. There are a number of styles of yoga to try, but as we’ve discussed in this article, the Vinyasa style is your best bet to complement a moderate exercise regimen.

              Many studios offer beginner-style Vinyasa classes, where the instructor will explain the basics, and break down the sequences in a pace that is suitable for entry-level students. From here, the student can build upon their practice, and opt for more challenging, fast-paced classes, such as Power Flow or Ashtanga.

              Working out is a lesson in teaching your muscles. The gains that we grow are the result of that experience, and it all comes down to conditioning our body in a way that is healthy, efficient, and balanced.

              With a practice like flow yoga, we can offer supplemental training to our current regimen that will work our muscles in ways that are new, refreshing, and “surprising.” This method will keep our muscles toned and lean, as long as we prioritize the balance between strength and flexibility to ensure that we’re meeting both of these needs. Our muscle gains and body health depend on it.

              More Resources About Yoga and Fitness

              Featured photo credit: Edit Sztazics via unsplash.com

              Reference

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