A few minutes of practice per day can help ease anxiety. “Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress,” says psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, a Chicago health and wellness coach.
It’s simple. Sit up straight with both feet on the floor. Close your eyes. Focus your attention on reciting — out loud or silently — a positive mantra such as “I feel at peace” or “I love myself.” Place one hand on your belly to sync the mantra with your breaths. Let any distracting thoughts float by like clouds.
#2 Breathe Deeply
Take a 5-minute break and focus on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth. “Deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure,” psychologist Judith Tutin, PhD, says. She’s a certified life coach in Rome, GA.
#3 Be present
Slow down. “Take 5 minutes and focus on only one behavior with awareness,” Tutin says. Notice how the air feels on your face when you’re walking and how your feet feel hitting the ground. Enjoy the texture and taste of each bite of food. When you spend time in the moment and focus on your senses, you should feel less tense.
#4 Engage your senses
Engaging your senses is another way to refocus your attention and help you let go of worry. The key is to find out which sense is most helpful for you to engage. While some people find listening to music calms their minds, others experience maximum stress relief by looking at family photos.
Experiment with a variety of activities that engage your senses. Put scented lotion on your hands, give yourself a quick hand massage, eat a piece of your favorite candy, or squeeze a stress ball. With practice, you’ll learn to recognize which types of sensory activities provide you with the most stress relief.