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You have read in the previous posts What do you mean by anxiety? and Why managing anxiety is crucial? about cause and effects of stress and anxiety on your mind and body.

Finally, we are going to do something about the stress and the anxiety we are facing in these unpredictable times.

The points mentioned are the techniques that I have tried personally and have been benefited from them. You can choose the best for yourself.

1. Guided Muscle Relaxation

This is one of the most beneficial relaxation methods I have come across. The analogy which I usually love to use as an example is, sometimes when you notice some construction work going on around your house or maybe in your own home, there is that machine that makes a lot of noise, God I hate that! When it starts, it bothers me a lot! Then after some time, I get busy with my daily chores and that sound is still there in the background, now I hardly focus on that, but it is still there. And when that machine stops, I feel a sudden relaxation and remember that there was some noise I didn’t like, and it finally stopped.

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Something similar happens with a guided relaxation.

When you start practicing it regularly, suddenly you realize that background sound which in our case is anxiety or stress, it just stops bothering us.

Initially, you might need audio to start. Here is an audio by Therapy in a Nutshell from YouTube that you can use:

But, after a while, you won’t be needing it. Even if you are in the middle of something or you might be experiencing some stress, you can relax even without that audio, provided, you practice it frequently, even on the days when you are feeling good. It is about practice.

2. Reduce your news consumption

Don’t watch the news first thing in the morning. Whenever you wake up, try not to watch anything that might cause stress. You might read a couple of pages from a book or might watch a YouTube video to start your day with positivity. Also, whenever you feel that some news on television or your family or even friends are discussing something that is bothering you, ask them to change the channel or stop the discussion.

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Awareness is crucial but stressing yourself over that is no good. Limit your news intake to 2-3 hours maximum every day. Don’t watch any news two hours before bedtime. We have talked about how your sleep is of utmost importance, and you don’t want to engage your sympathetic nervous system before bed. I am hoping these terms are making sense to you now.

3. Laughter – The Best Medicine

Never underestimate the power of a good laugh. I watch at least one episode every day of any series that I like so that I balance out my day. Even twenty minutes or more of laughter gives your dopamine levels a great push, and you feel mentally refreshed all day. I would recommend watching anything hilarious right after the news. It works like a palate cleanser and cleanses your mind!

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4. Exercise – Everyone Needs a Tune-up

This is the most common way of getting relief from your anxiety or bad mood in general. Workout of any kind or yoga can help you deal with bad days. I consider yoga a bit higher level of practice because it is exercise combined with mindfulness. Just fifteen-minutes of yoga everyday can give you long term benefits. Here is a Yoga video for beginners by Fit Tuber on YouTube to get you started with this divine practice.

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5. Music – Refreshes Your Soul

A great way of dealing with anxiety and bad mood. Listening alone is good, but if you sing and do it more often, you are going to have better mental health than the people who are not very close to music in general.

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6. Dance – Express Yourself Through Movement

This can also come under exercise for some people, sure you can see it that way too, but even if you don’t exercise regularly and you love dancing, then you got yourself a deal.

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7. Reading – Opening New Dimensions

This is one of my favorite things to do. Develop the habit of reading at least once in two days. Not only it calms you mentally but also opens up your brain to see possibilities in the times when you feel it is all over. Reading good books can make you so much lighter mentally and so much intelligent emotionally that you cannot even imagine. For those who don’t really like reading, you can go for audio books which are available on a lot of online platforms.

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8. Meditation – Calms Your Mind

Meditating daily for at least five minutes a day can make you so much more productive throughout the day.  It is not so easy initially, mainly because there are thousands of thoughts that don’t just go away like that but don’t give up. Just keep trying, you will see results gradually.

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9. Journaling – Let It All Out

This is also one of my favorite relaxation techniques. When was the last time you wrote down things on a paper or notebook? If you don’t recall, then it’s time to try this out.

Write whatever comes in your mind in a diary or a fancy term, journal. It is okay to write anything that you are feeling. It is good to write down your thoughts every day, and especially when you’re anxious. Just write it down. Don’t think about what you’re writing. Just do it and let it all out on the paper. I have been journaling from the last couple of years. I didn’t like it in the beginning because I didn’t like the diary cover! So, to make it more interesting, I used a black sheet to cover my journal, and I wrote: “Tom Marvolo Riddle”(some Harry Potter thing) at the back. I fell in love with writing in that diary.

So, if you’re finding it hard to write every day, then you can also try out your innovative ways to get started with journaling.

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In The End. . .

All the mentioned techniques are not new. Understand that you see them everywhere because they work. They worked for me in the toughest of the times I faced till now. Even now I cannot say my life is perfect and I don’t encounter problems. When I am writing this on my laptop, I am having issues with my landlord, am switching to a new project, I just got the result of the mock I gave, I didn’t score as I was expecting and the list goes on. But, now my reaction to the problems have improved to a great extent. I am a lot calmer and composed and dealing with things one at a time.

If you find yourself practicing any of the above techniques or just one or two things for a week or more, then do share your experiences at mentallythesober@gmail.com.

Next post will take you into the deeper levels of taking care of your mental health and how you can take care of that on your own in these times.

Happy Reading!