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Little Techniques To Calm Anxiety In 2017

Ways to bring zen to your hectic life.

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Finding What Works For You

Life can be stressful. Really stressful sometimes. Below is a list of techniques I find helpful for those "I need zen right now" situations and for long term management. There is no "one size fits all" deal, but the best thing to do is to continue to try, combine techniques to find something that works for you, and/or to talk to a professional.

Write It Out

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I find this technique works best for me when thoughts keep racing around in my head and I can't focus. Taking 5 minutes to write down whatever is in my head allows me put a name to what I'm feeling. I don't think while I write, I just write my train of thought, even if it doesn't make sense or it repeats. Once I write down everything it feels like a weight has been lifted and I can regain focus.

Equal Breathing

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There are a lot of different breathing techniques out there, but in the middle of a stressful situation I find this to work best for me. Starting by counts of 4, I'll breathe in deeply for 4 equal counts and exhale slowly for the same. I'll repeat this for about 3 breaths and move onto counts of 5 and so forth. I'll work my way from 4 counts to about 8 counts. By the time I reach the 8 count my heart rate has slowed and I feel more in control of the situation. I love how this is a simple technique that I can remember and doesn't stress me out more by focusing on exact counts.

Play With Putty

When I was really young, I would hold onto and then tear apart a tissue when I got anxious. My parents tried to give me different things, like giving me a piece of fabric to hold, but I would always resort back to the unused tissue. When I got older, I started picking at my cuticles and twirling my hair constantly. After years of trying to kick these habits, I finally realized that putty really helped. I like that it is quiet enough to have out during work or class and not be a huge distraction. I also found that because you can break, stretch, and squish the putty it helped calm me in various situations, whether I was anxious, angry, or sad.

Develop Routines

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This sounds simple, but it has really worked for me. My nightly bed time routine is one of my favorite times of the day. My main goal is, no matter how the day went, to give myself a little extra love. For me this starts around 8:00pm when most likely I am done with classes and activities. I like to start off by making myself a little comfort food, lately it has been either mashed potatoes or waffles. Then I will light a candle (Flannel from Bath and Body Works is my all time favorite scent) and put on a face mask while I'm eating and working on homework. If I'm not feeling a face mask, I'll at least take off my makeup and wash my face. Normally, I like to be done with work by 10:30pm so I can go to bed. Of course this 10:30pm bedtime doesn't happen every night, but I find that setting a goal helps me stay on task and not become too distracted. Once I'm done with work, no matter what time it is, I will take a few minutes to journal. Then it's off to sleep! Sticking to this throughout the semester has helped so much with my sleep and overall health, which has positively impacted my grades. Win win!

Create A Playlist

I love making playlists for different reasons and occasions. One of my favorite playlists to listen to when I'm feeling stressed out has a bunch of my favorite calmer indie/alternative songs on it. There's just something about early 2000s Coldplay and a few particular songs by Into It. Over It that relaxes me.

Try Something New

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For me this was joining my campus dance club. Running was all I knew and all I wanted to do since I was 5 years old, so dance was a completely new world for me. Luckily, the dance club at my college has dances for all abilities and they are choreographed by students. I was in two beginner level dances this past fall semester and it was the most fun I've had in a long time. Even at the end of semester showcase, where I danced on stage in front of hundreds of people it was so much fun and stress relieving. Being surrounded and supported by old and new friends all while challenging myself was the best part of each week.

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