How Does Practicing Deep Breathing Help With Anxiety?
You may not notice, but when you’re anxious or stressed, your breaths tend to be shallow and very irregular. By practicing deep breathing, you can send an increased supply of oxygen into your body and to your brain. Taking longer, slower breaths from your stomach stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system (the part of your body in charge of your rest-and-relaxation response) and promotes a feeling of calmness. This may have the added benefit of increasing your focus and attention span and even potentially reducing pain.
Practice inhaling and exhaling for 3-6 seconds each, depending on what time span feels good for your body and your lung capacity. While this deep breathing exercise might feel unusual at first, be mindful of physical changes in your body. You might notice a more relaxed feeling.
How Does Physical Exercise Help With Anxiety?
Did you know that physical activity releases endorphins? Endorphins are chemicals naturally produced by your body. When released, these feel-good chemicals create a positive feeling in your body and work with the receptors in your brain to reduce your perception of pain.
You do not have to invest in equipment or a gym membership or create a highly-structured exercise routine either. Incorporating more physical activity into your life can be highly beneficial. Going on a walk around your neighborhood, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator are great ideas. While at least 30 minutes of exercise, up to three to five times a week, may make a significant difference, having 10-15 minutes of physical activity per day can make a difference too. Exercise is also recommended for another practical reason: focusing on an exercise or physical activity can serve as a useful distraction from anything causing you stress or anxiety in your life.
How Does Journaling Help With Anxiety?
Journaling can be very useful in managing anxiety, as the process itself demands that we slow down, gather our thoughts, and deal with them one at a time. Through writing down our thoughts and feelings, we can receive clarity on what concerns us, as well as identify patterns and the emotions that accompany our anxiety. In the process of journaling, we can recognize any anxiety-causing triggers, become aware of and challenge any unhealthy thought patterns, and formulate ways to resolve issues. Studies have shown that journaling and practicing gratitude improves mental health and increases positive emotional feelings.
When Should I Seek Professional Help?
If you feel as though your anxiety is interfering with your relationships and your goals, is getting exacerbated by continued alcohol or recreational drug use, or feel increased thoughts about suicide or death; it may be time to reach out and seek professional treatment.
Dr. Keise and her team at Insyte Psychiatric will use talk therapy or a combination of therapies to help you achieve your mental health goals. Schedule an appointment to talk to a specialist with years of experience helping people take control of their depression and their lives.