Six Surprising Scientific Methods to Reduce Anxiety
The nation’s mental health has suffered from isolation, financial worry, and constant negative news. According to the University of Bristol, the number of anxious young people nearly doubled during the first lockdown. Meanwhile, depression among adults has increased by two-thirds since the outbreak began.
If you feel this resonates, know that you’re not alone, and professional support is available. There are simple and quick ways to ease symptoms. Here are six suggestions that might surprise you.
BUTTERFLY HUGGINGYou should note how stressed you are before you start this process. One being the most relaxed, ten being the most stressed.
As though you were hugging yourself, cross your arms and gently tap your hands on each arm. Take a deep exhale and tap 25 times. You can take a look at where you are on the scale. Is it lower than before? You might try it again, or as many times you can until you feel less stressed. (Credit Gina Ross).
The method involves connecting your left and right brains and engaging the cortex, the part of the brain responsible for problem-solving and information processing. Crossing your hands and tapping can slow down the autonomic nerve system, allowing the body to relax.
Loud, out loud, in your head to the music, acapella, loudly or quietly, children’s music, pop music – whatever music you like! Anxiety can be relieved by singing in any form.
Singing activates parts of the brain that are responsible for anxiety. We can’t sing while being anxious. Integrating various brain parts helps create a sense of self-regulation and calmness.
Singing requires a musical form, which is why it takes the right hemisphere (right hemisphere) to perform well. Singing is good for us as it uses both hemispheres, though the right tends to be more efficient.
Numerous studies have also shown that singing can release endorphins, oxytocin, and anxiety-relieving hormones. These hormones are associated with feelings of trust and bonding and help to reduce stress. It can reduce loneliness and make people feel connected and relaxed.
Even better, singing is cumulative. Singing results in lower levels of cortisol which indicates lower stress levels.
FRANKINCENSE Essential Oil
The Boswellia tree’s aromatic resin is used to create Frankincense essential oils. It has many benefits, including reducing anxiety and depression symptoms. It can influence the body’s response to stress so that your brain and body will relax.
If you feel anxious or stressed, rub 2 to 3 drops between your hands (there isn’t a need for any more, it has a strong aroma), and hold them up to your face. Next, take four deep, exhaling breaths. A few drops can be used in your bath, in your pajamas or around your home to diffuse the aroma.
Sitting still is one of the worst things you can do if you feel anxious or stressed. Our nervous system can contract when anxiety or stress is provoked. However, you can open up your body and use your energy and hands to help.
You can dance however you want – solo, with your partner or slow – as long as your entire body moves, not just your legs or hands. You can dance without a mirror to let your body and soul move you, not your consciousness.
It’s even better if you can do it by singing! If dancing is not your thing, you can still do running, walking, cycling, or circuits.
PAT A PET
Spending time with your pet can be a relaxing and calming experience.
Pets can bring joy, happiness, and unconditional love. However, petting them can draw your attention to your touch and focus on your sense of touch. Pay attention to how your pet’s fur feels on your skin. Is it smooth, soft, or warm? This focus’s relaxing effect brings your attention to the present moment.
It also provides us with a grounding experience. Just as connecting with nature reduces stress, so can connecting with another living thing.
Another great way to divert attention from the limbic brain (where anxiety lives) to the cortex (the brain’s cognitive area) is to count, do sums, or multiply.
You can choose a color, a texture, or a shape wherever you are. Wood, glass, or another shape. Count 10 items from that category around you. You can count the number of green objects around you if you pick the color green.
Alternatively, you can choose two numbers higher than ten and add them together. This will work for any task that requires concentration and thought in maths or problem-solving. Activating the cortex allows you to integrate different parts of your brain and increase neuro connectivity, supporting calmness, wellbeing, and wellbeing.
The brain can hijack the connection to the cortex when we feel anxious or overwhelmed. Many of these tips are meant to connect different parts of your brain that we know related to a feeling of resilience, calmness, and grounding.
These are not meant to replace any psychotherapy, counseling, or psychological therapy. However, they can be used as an accompaniment and support for those who need them. If you feel overwhelmed, seek professional help from a therapist or GP.