Look, life is stressful. Work is stressful. Busy seems to be a growing trend. Cellphones ensure we are always connected to distractions, and it's becoming harder and harder to unplug from our stressors to truly be present while we unwind. Having consistent practices to decrease anxiety is a necessary part of a happy lifestyle. If you don't have stress management strategies, you need to find some fast. Accumulated stress can manifest in some pretty ugly ways such as panic attacks, weight gain, depression, and irritability. It doesn't take a long time to decrease stress. In fact, short stress reduction strategies practiced a few times per day can be all you need. Below are 5 anxiety reduction methods you can practice in 5 minutes or less.
- Child's pose. There's a reason child's pose is the restorative posture in yoga. There's something about child's pose that says 'calm down'. Getting into this posture, closing your eyes, and taking a few deep breaths can truly help to lower heart rate and calm your nervous system.
- Scent. Yes, scent is received straight into the limbic system. It's powerful. Lavender, eucalyptus, and frankincense, are a few powerful scents to calm you down quickly. Saje Wellness is one of my favorite brands to purchase healing aromatherapy products. Keeping a rollerball with scent in your purse, lighting a scented candle, and/or using essential oils, are great ways to utilize this strategy.
- Witnessing a sunset. I feel instantly grounded when I watch a sunset. There's something calming about the light, the energy, and the mood as the sun lowers over the horizon. There's a reason my instagram feed is filled with sunset pictures, and research supports the healing power of nature on our brains. Catch a sunset nightly or weekly to incorporate this stress reduction strategy into your life.
- Pause and reflect. When I'm anxious, I often find myself reacting, rushing, and moving at a mile a minute. Simply taking a moment to pause, slow down, acknowledge to myself I've been rushing, and reflect on why I'm anxious can make all the difference.
- Alternate nostril breathing. This strategy deserves an entire blog post of its own because it's that good. This is probably my personal favorite and most effective stress reduction exercise in under 5 minutes. I use alternate nostril breathing regularly when I'm anxious, and I feel calmer after about 3-5 rounds of breaths.
Remember, you don't need a lot of time to reduce your anxiety. I have and use all these strategies on a regular basis along with various longer practices. The most important point is stress reduction practices should be practiced regularly and consistently to prevent an accumulation of stress. I hope this list is helpful the next time you are feeling anxious or ungrounded.