With the recent developments in British politics – not to mention the numerous atrocities overseas and a barmy US election – you’d be forgiven for feeling deflated.  Living in these turbulent times when there is a sense of national despair looming often evokes strong feelings of anxiety or even fear. I don’t know about you, but personally I’ve found it a bit difficult to ‘keep calm and carry on’. Yes, feelings are meant to be felt. They are, after all, a feedback mechanism for letting you know when your perspective of a situation could do with a tweak. However, getting ‘stuck’ or overwhelmed can become a real struggle. To help you shake off those blues and get some mojo back, I’ve shared my list of top tips for reducing anxiety; those things we all need a reminder of when overwhelm takes over…

1. Adopt a Positive Acceptance Mindset
Anxiety largely comes from fear of an imagined future situation (a negative outcome). By accepting these fearful thoughts as the most likely outcome, you position yourself as a helpless bystander. ‘I have no power, I feel helpless’ – these are typical thought responses when your environment seems unreliable and volatile. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. An alternative is to accept the current situation as it is, to allow some space to reflect and take action. By taking action you are simultaneously taking responsibility for yourself and your feelings (taking back control, if you will), and choosing a new positive response. Attention is re-focused on building a positive future, where benefits and opportunities take center stage (rather than fears and anxieties).

2. Find a mantra
Try to catch yourself out and avoid negative self-talk; “What happens if {insert disaster]?” or “I’m so {insert negative}”. These statements focus on what you don’t want to occur. So the saying goes ‘where attention goes, energy flows’. Watch where you’re sending your energy! Find a short, simple, positive mantra to repeat. If you want to be confident, use that word in your affirmation. If you want to be calm, use that word. Use the words that reflect what you want to happen. Be specific, repeat and smile as you do it! E.g. ‘I can handle anything that comes my way’ or ‘I am calm and balanced’.

Elizabeth GIlbert Quote Image Reducing Anxiety

3. Schedule in some quiet time
Breathe Deeply – try a yogic breathing exercise, or simply count your breathes. Practice Yoga – again, hugely stress relieving and calming. Get a massage. Listen to music. Meditate – seriously powerful.  It’s extremely important to stop for a few moments each day to enter into a state of mindfulness and presence. This creates a feeling of being grounded, where the mind is clear and calm.

4. Eat well
Eat lots of super mood foods (nuts, dark green veggies, legumes, berries, citrus). I recommend Maca Root Powder (available online or at your local health food shop). It’s rich in magnesium and iron, and contains tonnes of powerful plant nutrients called phytonutrients. Limit Alcohol, Sugar & Caffeine – to keep your energy and heart rate stable and calm. Keep energy-boosting healthy snacks to hand to avoid emotional eating and energy slumps.

There is a saying in Tibetan: ‘Tragedy should be utilised as a source of strength’. No matter what sort of difficulities, how painful the experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster. – Dalai Lama

5. Get more sleep
Often, those with anxiety have trouble sleeping. However, when stressed, the body needs extra sleep and rest. Create a relaxing bedtime ritual for yourself. If you can keep to a regular bed time schedule your body will naturally get used to slowing down at this time. Wind down slowly and take a break from technology a few hours before bed. Design a calming sleep environment, free from noise and distractions. Buy yourself some luxurious, comfortable bedding. Be firm with yourself, tell your subconscious that you will have a deep sleep and wake up feeling rejuvenated.

6. Sweat Often
Exercise Daily – the most powerful anti-depressant! Exercise releases key brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. Set easy daily exercise goals, go for consistency. It’s healthier to go for a 15-20 minute walk everyday than to do a crazy fitness marathon at the weekend.

These pains you feel are messengers, listen to them. – Rumi

7. Get Outdoors
Do your mind/body/spirit a favour and go to the park! Nature is powerful, and exposure to the green outdoors has a huge impact on our wellbeing. A study (2009 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health) found that people who live within 1km of green space experience less depression and anxiety than those living further away. Exposure to nature and fresh air, and increased vitamin D and exercise helps to reduce stress, improve cognition, and improve our memory. There are tonnes of studies detailing the positive impact of nature; schedule a weekend trip to the countryside, or do a few laps of the nearest park.

8. Look for the balance
After a ‘terrible day’ or ‘stressful situation’, a few days/weeks/months down the line we often look back and can see the silver lining. Instead of waiting, look for the balance now. Ask yourself; How can I grow from this? What can I learn? How will this challenge make me stronger? What are the positives? What can I be grateful for?

Elizabeth GIlbert Quote - Tips for Reducing Anxiety


Remember: You are what you think. Keep your focus on all those beautiful moments full of love, hope and positivity!

Love Ruth x

P.s. The main quotes are from the lovely Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and has this marvellous TED Talk on Creative Genius

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