What to Know about Stress to Get Rid of Anxiety
There are two kinds of stress: eustress and distress. Eustress is the “good” stress. Someone may experience this when they are about to get married, before going on stage to perform or riding a roller coaster.
Some of you may even feel eustress from watching a horror film! That’s not me. Watching such films actually cause me distress, the “bad” stress. Examples of this include: going through a divorce, experiencing the loss of a loved one, being late for an important meeting and dare I say, living through a pandemic. Prolonged moments of distress and heightened moments of distress cause anxiety.
Once distress causes anxiety, it prevents one from moving through the world and executing important life related tasks. With data stating that 60-80% of doctor office visits are related to distress, it is important that we decrease our distress before it turns into anxiety. But you may be saying, “Well Kadeem I am anxious now! What can I do?” Don’t worry boo. I got you! I am about to list the four ways you can get rid of anxiety and take healing in your own hands. Here we go!
1. Breathing to Get Rid of Anxiety
If you have breath, you have life. However, most of us don’t breathe efficiently on a day to day basis to enhance our life. We just take it for granted as it is something that happens automatically. However, if you know how to manipulate the breath correctly, it has an abundance of healing powers. It can even help to get rid of pain! But for the purposes of this article, let’s focus on anxiety.
There are two main breathing techniques I teach my clients for anxiety. One is called square breathing or box breathing. It requires you to inhale for 4 counts, pause for four counts, exhale for four counts, then pause for four counts. You repeat this process over again, for at least seven times. This helps to calm the mind and emotions. It is also useful for insomnia.
The second technique I teach is based on the principles of pranayama. I call it the rapid, deep clearing breath. It includes breathing in through your nose quickly while putting your head back, then breathing out through your mouth forcefully and putting your head down towards your chest. This is repeated in succession ten times in a row. Then you pause for about 30 seconds, and do the deep breathing exercise once again. You would repeat this process three times in one sitting. As a meditation teacher on the app Insight Timer, I have a guided version of this you can follow. Feel free to check it out.
2. The Relationship between the Environment and Anxiety
Have you ever experienced a moment when you walk into a room and the tension is so thick you could cut it with a knife? You know what that means? Tension, stress and anxiety is not only held in the body, but it can also be held within a space. So if you are feeling stress or anxiety, another easy way to release it is by changing your environment. This can be a radical physical change such as going from your home to a nice tropical place on vacation or a less radical one as in going from your workplace to just stepping outside for some fresh air…or even less radical as moving from one room in your house to another.
There are many ways to change your environment. I have even had clients mention they found creative ways to change their environment by literally moving the furniture around in their room from one location to another. This is a perfect way to change your environment if you are unable to leave your situation as it helps to move around any stale energy and infuse it with fresh energy.
3. Improving Posture to Get Rid of Anxiety
When you see the body posture of someone who is depressed and sad, how do they look? Usually with their head down with their upper body hunched over, correct? And if you look at the body posture of someone who is happy, confident and successful, their chest is up, smiling and maybe even their arms are up high in the air or on their hips. No matter where you go in the world, this is the universal language for showing these two very different emotional states. What does this tell us? Yes, although your emotions can affect your physical stance and posture, your posture can also affect your emotions.
So if you are feeling anxious, just switch your body posture to that of someone who is happy. My suggestion is to roll your shoulders back, stick out your chest, put your hands above your head or on your hips and smile. Hold this pose for a minimum of sixty seconds — three minutes would be optimal.
4. Change Your State
Now I don’t mean you literally change your state from let’s say Cali to New York (like I did in December, 2020!). This change of state is more about changing your emotional state. When you are anxious, you need to do something, be a part of something or watch something that creates the opposite emotional state within you.
Do cat videos make you smile? Does gardening make you relaxed? Does dancing make you feel alive? Great, then do them all! The key here is to do something that interrupts or breaks the anxious state.
Think about it for a moment — how many times have you had a moment in which you may have been talking about a particular topic with someone, someone changes the subject and when you try to go back to the topic you were talking about before, you forgot what the topic was. You know why that happens? That is called a pattern interrupt.
However, this interrupt was a mental pattern interrupt. This same phenomenon exists for emotions too. So watch those cat videos to your heart’s content!
Now I know I said I had four steps, but I have a bonus one for you! This last step I am calling: Skill
Find Someone With Skills
None of us can go through life on our own. We can always use some sort of help in something. So if you are struggling with chronic anxiety, then it may be time to see someone with skill in this area. This can be a therapist, doctor and/or seeing a holistic wellness practitioner to help you. (Here comes my shameless plug!) As someone who is a wellness practitioner with training and certifications in aromatherapy, energy healing, meditation, sound therapy and hypnotherapy, I can offer deep, personalized sessions that are suited specifically to your case. So feel free to reach out to me to see how I may be able to help and be of assistance to you. Until then, use the tools listed in this article. I have seen these work wonders for people, especially if they layer on the techniques, as opposed to using them individually.