This is part of CNET's # adulting series of stories designed to help you figure out how to live, work and play now that you're all grown up.
Here is a partial list of reasons that I am currently afraid of:
- The current political climate
- Nutcracker with guns and bombs
- Impending environmental catastrophe
- Founding of a new company
- A water leak in my basement
- The printer does not print – again
In other words, I have to handle a fairly wide range of things, just like everyone else. The thing is, all that stuff seems to be overwhelming right now, as if I'm surrounded by a headache, a headache, terrible news of terrible news, and then I slept a bad night, so I'm super tired, and that leads to Unhealthy diet that just adds to the existing worries about my weight and, wait, the burning in my chest, acid reflux or something more serious, and suddenly, AHHHHHH!
Whoa. Someone has to calm down. And I'm not the only one: According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, "anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US, affecting about 40 million adults in the US over the age of 1
But, wait – adults should have coping skills, right? They grow up and learn to meet the challenges of life calmly. Unless the challenges pile up and seem insurmountable as well as frightening, our "adult" coping skills can subside.
Fortunately, there are ways to calm down. What follows is a mix of things I've learned myself and tips from professionals.
Stop, drop and breathe.
If you're seriously stressed this minute, to the point where you actually feel panic (or something similar), focused breathing can help. "When we feel anxiety or feel stress, our body interprets it as if we were in physical danger, and when we breathe deeply, we can counteract the natural response to physical stress and help our body and brain recognize that it is not there is physical danger and we can relax. " That's what clinical psychologist Angela K. Kenzslowe offers, offering a simple remedy: breathe two or three times deep (from the diaphragm, not from the chest) until you get four. (That's four seconds of inhalation and four seconds of exhaling.)
If you need a little more help, you can try an app like Breathe2Relax (Android | iOS), which offers guided breathing exercises based on your stress level. The user interface is a bit awkward, but you get a lot of information and instructions on the exercises. It is a free app.
Get Off Your Screens
Every day, most of us experience an onslaught of mostly unfortunate news. Coming from our televisions, laptops, phones, and tablets, it's tirelessly delivered through countless apps, news sites, and social media. And when you bounce back and forth between devices, it's very easy to get into a tornado of negativity. Negativity leads to anxiety.
The solution: pull the plug. "Taking a break from the technology is a great way to give your brain the much needed downtime to inject creativity," Dr. Chinwe Williams, associate professor at the Counseling Psychology and Social Sciences College, Argosy University. "Deliberately releasing your smartphone [also] can lead to a deliberate and meaningful engagement with others."
Take a walk
A good way to break away from screens and, as a result, calm your mind is on a hike. Studies have shown that endorphins are released after just a 10-minute walk, improving your mood. And as mentioned in "10 Surprising Benefits of: A 10-minute Walk," walking increases awareness (see below): "Walking clears the mind, it also strengthens our consciousness, and when we go outside, we activate all of ours Senses. "And those senses help fight those things that have made us anxious.
"Join in on what you enjoy [any]," adds postpartum specialist Thai-An Truong. "Take a walk with the dog, dance, work in your garden, take a hike, go outside and connect with nature."
This is the great – probably the best way to not only calm down in a moment of anxiety, but also to lower the overall level of stress. That's the consensus of a few dozen psychologists who responded to my inquiries about this story.
For example, Ginnifer Morley, a licensed psychotherapist in Boulder, Colorado, says meditation "rest the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight), that's what overreacts when we have severe anxiety or panic attacks." She recommends guided meditation and notices that a calm and focused external voice is the key to relaxing a brain that is "everywhere". Your choice: Stop, Breathe & Think, which is available for Android, iOS and as a web app.
There are countless other apps that allow you to learn mindfulness meditation, including 10% Happier, Calm, Headspace, and – my personal favorite – Buddhify.
Skeptically, does meditation really work? One of my favorite podcasts, Science Vs., has recently dealt with the topic, yielding some interesting results: Although science does not really have much concrete evidence of the many benefits that meditation promises, practitioners have come a long way – including many scientists, who conducted the studies – swear by it.
Practicing Aversion Therapy
Okay, you are calm now, but what about the next time? David Brudö and Niels Eék, co-founders of the Remente App for Mental Wellbeing, suggest training for themselves so that there will be no next time. You recommend this simple antipode: "Put a rubber band on your wrist and grab it every time you feel stressed, the idea is that your brain unconsciously begins to avoid the stimulus (in this case, stress). to prevent the unpleasant cracking of the rubber band. "
Have you found other ways to calm down when life goes crazy? Share your tips in the comments!