3 Tips to Reduce Anxiety in 2023
As someone who used to battle with anxiety on a daily basis I now like to do everything I can to help others who are also suffering with anxiety (or their mental health in general) and this is the reason I blog so regularly on this topic.
Through doing some recent training with the fabulous Holly Matthews I have learned some new and wonderful techniques for calming anxiety and that is what I am going to share with you today. For more in depth information on anxiety, mindfulness and tips on generally becoming a happier person I highly recommend Holly's book .
When your body is anxious the autonomic nervous system elevates and this starts to affect bodily functions and cortisol and adrenaline increases. This causes the heart rate to speed up and and gives your body a surge of energy and strength which causes the 'fight or flight' reaction. Believe it or not, shaking your body and moving your arms and legs can help to regulate your nervous system and calm your body when it is overstimulated. This technique is also known as therapeutic or neurogenic tremoring and it involves shaking your body to realise tension and trauma, this in turn relieves muscle tension and calms the nervous system. This then manages the stress levels within the body.
I don't know about you but when I have my music on full blast and am singing along I instantly feel a lot better! Singing has actually been proven to lower cortisol and relive stress and tension. Studies show that when we sing, endorphins and oxytocin are released by the brain and this in turn lowers stress and anxiety levels. So if you start to feel anxious, stick some music on and start singing along!
Vagus Nerve Exercises
The vagus nerve (also called the pneumogastric nerve) is the longest nerve in the body and is responsible for lots of organ functions, including digestion, heart rate, breathing, cardiovascular activity and reflex actions (coughing, sneezing, swallowing and vomiting). The vagus nerve plays a role in the autonomic nervous system and is believed to also form a link between the gut-brain axis. Following an anxiety or panic attack it is important to calm yourself and your vagus nerve and doing these exercises enables this:
- Cold exposure: Sticking your face in cold water, running your wrists under cold water and even taking cold showers or ice baths.
- Massaging your shoulders, your neck and your feet can stimulate the vagus nerve.
- Gently rubbing the part behind your ears, the top of your ears and the sides of your neck can also help to stimulate the vagus nerve.
I hope that you have found these tips useful and if you have any extra tips to add then feel free to let me know so that I can add them to future posts.
Why not have a read of our other anxiety blog posts?: A full guide on Anxiety, 5 things you can do for someone with anxiety, How to stop a panic attack,
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