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5 Do-Anywhere Yoga Hacks to Calm the Anxious You

5 Do-Anywhere Yoga Hacks to Calm the Anxious You

Anxiety is the base of stress, tension, and discomfort. It is also a silent killer. Don’t fall prey to hypertension and elevated blood pressure, along with susceptibility to heart diseases and lifestyle disorders. Enrich your yoga practice using these stress-relieving exercises to calm your senses and soothe your nerves. Anxiety can be overpowering and modern life is full of challenges. Yoga can help you to overcome these.

Yoga can help with the physical stress and tension of a heavy workday. Mental stress and creative blocks can surface in the workplace or the social gathering you attend. Stress and tension can lower energy levels and lessen physical aches and pains. It can even lower insomnia and relieve sleeplessness. Yoga hacks can dispel tension in seconds.

Here are 5 Do-Anywhere Yoga Hacks for a peaceful mind and a de-stressed body.

1. Pranayama in Lotus Pose

How you are feeling: Tense, anxious, and uptight with the feeling of stress building up.

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Yoga hack: Engage in the ancient art of pranayama or meditation in the Lotus position. This is an easy and simple pose which you can easily perform under the cover of an office desk or in a quiet corner by yourself. You need to locate a comfortable chair or opt for a flat surface. Your back should be supported and upright while you can close your eyes to concentrate better. Let your facial muscles relax and release the tension in your jaw and abdomen. Then, fold your legs in Lotus pose and breathing deeply, start counting. Inhale for 7 counts, hold the breath for 3 counts and then release your breath in 7 more counts. While you complete each cycle of the breath, try to prevent thoughts from building up in your mind. Let each thought come and go without your reacting to any of it. Keep the spine straight and at a right angle to the ground while performing this asana.

How it Works: Padmasana is one of the most basic and subtle poses of the ancient art of Yoga. Calm your nervous system and ease the tension by letting your body breathe out toxins as you align yourself using the Lotus pose.

2. Calm Yourself With the Child’s Pose/Balasana

How You Feel: You lack the ability to focus or concentrate well and are easily distracted.

Yoga Hack: Opt for the Balasana anywhere you go without being noticed by using your chair as a prop. There should be a comfort factor here as you need to reach out the arms ahead of you on a flat surface. So, sit facing your desk, and ensure that you are seated more towards the edge of the chair so that when you bend forward your tailbone gets enough space to stretch out. Ensure that the forehead presses the floor of the desk and the arms are placed against your sides next to the ears. Close your eyes to concentrate better, with your mind focused on the spot between your eyes. You need to close your eyes to focus on the Third Eye and ensure that your attention remains focused here.

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How This Helps: The Balasana helps to restore and rejuvenate the body enabling the mind to slow down. Adding pressure to the forehead improves vision and perspective, permitting you to rise from this posture with clarity and focus.

3. Combat Stress With the Seated Chair Twist

How You Feel: If you are feeling anxious and tense, with thoughts crowding your mind and pent up tension from tasks undone, you can try the reclined twist in the comfort of your workstation or social event to get instant relief from stress.

Yoga Hack: You can do this easily anywhere. All you need is a chair. The gentle twists of the asana beats stress and anxiety-inducing thoughts. Start by being seated in your chair, legs together, gaze in front. Next, turn your head towards the right while turning your upper body to the left. If your chairs come with arms you can hold them for support. Maintain this pose for 5 short counts. Come back to initial position, take another five counts and do the same for the other side for the same amount of time. This pose helps to release tensions in the back and shoulders. It also helps to counter distracting thoughts.

How This Helps: This pose helps to relax tension that may have crept up the lower back and shoulders, helping to quiet the mind.

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4. Relieve Stress With Kapalbhati

How You Feel: If you are feeling low levels of motivation and high levels of fatigue, this yogic breathing exercise can work wonders for you.

Yoga Hack: Find a comfortable seat for this yogic breathing practice. You need to just assume a comfortable seated position and raise your arms above your head. Then inhale in a way that adds to the comfort of the body and pump out short breaths. Breath out in a sharp and vigorous way to eliminate toxins. The inhalation takes place naturally and you need to count up to as many breaths as you can without feeling lightheaded. Slow your breath towards the conclusion of this exercise.

How This Helps: This exercise oxygenates the human body and enhances digestion and circulation as well. Rejuvenate tired cells and feel a sense of revitalization after practicing this exercise.

5. Fight Anxiety With the Mountain Post

How You Feel: Anxiety can strike at any time and you have to find ways to combat it. Use this Mountain Pose to find a subtle and easy way to counter it.

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Yoga Hack: You can either do this seated or standing, whichever feels comfortable. Rather than just standing by and tolerating the stress, stand in yoga asana called the Mountain Pose. If you are standing, start with your feet hips width apart, shift weight back onto the soles of your feet and rest so that each corner of the foot is placed in contact with the ground. Feet should be planted so you don’t move despite a push or shove. Now bend your knees and stack bone atop bone. Puff up the chest and tuck your chin at a slight angle. Draw legs upward and maintain tension in your hips. The largest muscles in the legs should be able to take the weight off your joints (and your mind). If seated, you still do the same, except that your feet are together.

How This Helps: Feel energized, symmetrical and aligned through this pose. It clears the mind and chases away anxious thoughts and feelings.

Besides these tips and advice, you must remember to sleep well and have a good diet. There are many companies that offer special furniture (like bunk beds) for better sleep; avoid all those energizing beverages and junk food; your body will definitely start feeling better and more relaxed.

These yoga asanas are perfect for relieving stress and anxiety. Let go of harmful emotions such as fear and anger so that you can feel your sense of balance and peace all around you. Use these yoga hacks to combat worries, and tension levels and work towards relaxing the body and healing the mind.

Featured photo credit: himalayanyogainstitute via himalayanyogainstitute.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

Creating your productivity ritual — a routine that helps you to maintain a peak level of energy can get you the best out of your days.

Part of creating your productivity routine involves removing activities that drain you (what I call “kryptonites”), and that includes your bad habits.

Like it or not, bad habits are bad for you — mentally, physically, emotionally and even socially in some cases. While some bad habits are harder to quit than others, it doesn’t change the fact that you need to get rid of them. Here are 13 bad habits to quit right away:

1. Stress Eating

I used to be a serious stress eater. I would eat whenever I felt unhappy, stressed, disappointed, anxious, or even… happy! My eating had nothing to do with being hungry, and everything to do with using food to fill my emotional voids.

While eating would comfort me, this feeling was momentary and would disappear right after I was done eating. Instead, what I had left would be the same emotional void that triggered me to eat in the first place (be it unhappiness or stress), a 2,000 excess calorie intake over what I should have eaten for the day, and anger at myself for having stress ate.

I’ve since overcome stress eating. I have healthy eating habits and a healthy relationship with food today where I no longer use food as a tool to fill my emotions.

If you are a stress eater, don’t fret — here’s how to manage your stress better:

How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success)

2. Nail Biting

Not only is nail biting unhygienic, it is also socially repelling, leads to dental problems like malocclusion of the anterior teeth,[1] potentially cause stomach problems,[2] and lead to severely deformed fingernails in the long run.

People who bite their nails tend to have shorter nails than the average person; their nail plates also experience scarring and may eventually become absent.[3]

Understand what triggers your nail biting behavior and replace it with another neutral to positive habit. Make habits to break habits.

For example, if you bite your nails when you are stressed, go for a walk or listen to music instead the next time you feel stressed.

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3. Hanging out with Naysayers

We all know these people — people who play devil’s advocate to every idea you have and every goal you want to pursue. We are already our greatest self-critics, so it doesn’t help when there’s someone beside us, ever ready to pounce on what we say and tear it down.

Hang out less with these naysayers and spend more time with supportive people who share constructive feedback instead. You will be much happier this way.

Learn how to get rid of naysayers with these 10 Ways to Ignore the Naysayers and Achieve Your Dreams.

4. Being with People Who Don’t Appreciate You

Haven’t all of us been in this situation before? Trying to please people who don’t appreciate us? Bending over backwards to be there for people when they are never there for us?

While we give without expectations of return, we need to draw a line with people who don’t value us because these people damage our souls.

Stop spending time with people who don’t appreciate you, and spend more time with people who do instead.

Unsure who you should get rid of? Learn about it here: 5 Kinds of Toxic People That You Need to Get Rid of Now

5. Smoking

Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally.[4]

In just the United States alone, about 500,000 deaths are attributed to smoking-related diseases annually. A recent study estimated that as much as one-third of China’s male population will have significantly shortened life-spans due to smoking! Gender-wise, male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life respectively — that’s over a decade of life right there.[5]

Not only that, smoking causes pre-mature skin aging (i.e. wrinkles), yellowing of teeth, bad breath, and worse of all — jeopardy of the health of people around you, including your loved ones. Studies have shown that non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk to many of the health problems associated with direct smoking.[6]

Smoking risks

    6. Excessive Drinking

    All of us know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for us, but do you know how bad it really is?

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    According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking too much — be it on a single occasion or over time — can seriously damage your health:[7]

    • Brain problems: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, making it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
    • Heart diseases: Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle, Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat, stroke, high blood pressure
    • Liver diseases: Steatosis or fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis
    • Pancreas problems: Pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
    • Different types of cancer: Mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, breast

    If you drink a lot, perhaps cutting it out right away will be tough. Cut down the number of glasses you drink each time, followed by the number of times you drink a week.

    If need be, seek help from an AA group — you aren’t alone in this. Change starts from today.

    7. Eating Junk Food (Including Diet Soda)

    Junk food — they are everywhere in our society today. From McDonald’s, to KFC, to Burger King, to 24-hour takeouts, junk food such as fries, highly processed burgers and sodas has become a staple in our society today.

    If you think, “Hey, but junk food is tasty!”, think again:

    A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny suggests that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a way similar to addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.[8]

    “After many weeks with unlimited access to junk food, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure.”

    And you wonder why you seem to crave fast food when you just had some the day before?

    While it may not be possible to remove junk food completely from our diet right away, we can reduce our junk food consumption starting today. Instead of soda, opt for a fruit juice (fresh juice, not the carbonated kind) or mineral water. Instead of fries, switch to mashed potato, a salad, or rice (many food outlets allow for this today). Instead of a fried meat patty, go for a grilled one.

    Where possible, opt for healthy food joints like salad bars and delis as opposed to fast food outlets. Every little step goes a long way.

    Here’re some healthy snacks ideas for you: 15 Healthy Snacks You Should Always Have At Home

    8. Eating Too Much Red Meat

    There has been conclusive evidence that consumption of red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer; and suggestive evidence that it increases the risk of oesophageal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and endometrial cancer.

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    In addition, some studies have linked consumption of large quantities of red meat with breast cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma, bladder cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer![9]

    Personally, I’m a vegetarian so I don’t consume red meat, but for those of you who consume red meat, do watch out and limit your intake — better still, cut it out of your diet. World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting intake of red meat to less than 300g (11 oz) cooked weight per week, “very little, if any of which to be processed.”

    Of if you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, check out this guide: 5 Practical Tips For Starting a Vegetarian Lifestyle

    9. Watching Too Much TV

    I stopped watching TV since eight years ago and I have never regretted it. Every once in a while I will switch on the telly to see what is on, and then I will switch it off because it’s just the same boring shtick over and over again.

    Watching TV, particularly well-written dramas, can be a good way to unwind. However, remember that TV isn’t your life.

    Spending three hours every night watching TV will not change your life for the better. Rather, using that time to reflect on your life, take stock, and take action on your goals will.

    It’s not easy to remove TV from your daily routine right away, but follow these 6 Steps To Remove TV From Your Life.

    10. Being Late

    Not only is being late being rude to others, it also means that you’re always rushing from one place to another, playing catch up in your agenda, and having to apologize to every person you meet.

    Stop being late and not being punctual, but practice being early instead. Target to arrive 15 minutes earlier before any appointment and bring along something to do in those 15 minutes (or longer if the other person turns out to be late). Then you can stop playing catch up and stay ahead in life.

    Learn more tips about how to be more punctual here: How to Be On Time Every Time

    11. Being in Bad Relationships

    Are you always dating the wrong guys/girls? Do you end up with jerks all the time? Well, you may not be able to stop yourself from meeting bad partners but you can certainly stop yourself from furthering contact with them, spending time with them, or even… entering into a relationship with them.

    I used to invest myself in this guy who was nothing but toxic for me. After a good five months of experiencing nothing but getting burned over and over again, I realized that he was a total waste of my time and I deserved better. I decided to cut him off, and it was soon after that I met my soulmate.

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    Learn about why you shouldn’t stay in a bad relationship and how to deal with it if you’re in one: Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear

    12. Leaving Things to the Last Minute

    Burning the midnight oil isn’t fun — it’s exhausting.

    Those of you who got through college by burning the midnight oil would have learned this the hard way. Not only is it damaging for your body, it is also mentally draining as you’re constantly in a hyper-tense mode, feeling anxious about whether you can finish your work on time.

    Start today on a new note. Rather than react to your deadlines, be proactive about them by planning ahead, identifying what needs to be done for the week, and getting things done in advance.

    By staying ahead of your tasks, you can also use your extra time to plan ahead in your life and get more things done.

    Take a look at this guide and learn how to stop procrastinating: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

    13. Focusing on the Negatives

    In every situation, there are two ways you can react: zoom down to the problem areas and crib about how things aren’t the way you want, or celebrate the areas that are going well and work on making everything better.

    Many of us see the importance of doing the latter but in practice, we do the former. Why though? Criticizing and focusing on the negatives is easy but it doesn’t empower nor inspire us to be better.

    Make a change — for every negative encounter you run into, I challenge you to identify three things that are good about it. Practice doing this for one week, and by the end of the week you’ll find that your first instinct is to think positive, not negative.

    And here’re even more ways to help you stay positive: 11 Tips for Maintaining your Positive Attitude

    The Bottom Line

    So here you find the 13 most common bad habits and their consequences on your mind and body. The good news’ you can quit them all.

    Just spot out your own bad habits and take my suggestions to quit them. Then you’ll find your life a lot healthier and happier!

    Need more tips to break your bad habits? Check out these articles:

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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