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Five exercises to manage stress and anxiety


Now, let’s say I’ve obtained my inhale-exhale occurring and I’ve introduced myself again to earth sufficient to journal, that is what I do. I divide my worries into issues I can management (my foolish little job) and issues I can’t (the melting ice caps). For the issues I can management, I road-test them with 5 questions. I often do that in a desk, however it may be completed as an inventory, in a voice notice, and even over a chat with a detailed good friend/canine.

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    List out your nervousness as particularly as attainable. For instance: I’m anxious about posting my artwork on-line.

  2. Then, checklist a easy technique (or two) to get round among the doubtlessly unfavourable penalties of this nervousness. For instance, after I’m over-committed I discover getting organised with calendars and to-do-lists sufficient to supply delicate reduction.
  3. From right here, you write out the seemingly end result of your scenario. If you’re anxious that you simply’ll die in a aircraft crash, the seemingly end result is that you simply gained’t. While we rationally know this, it’s typically good simply to spell it out.
  4. Next, you ask: what nervousness does this nervousness exchange? It’s good to recognise that your present worries is perhaps higher than the options their presence guidelines out. If you’re fearful about whether or not or not your children will develop up in a home you personal, one nervousness this displaces is the nervousness that you simply would possibly by no means have kids in any respect.
  5. Finally, ask: how is that this nervousness attempting to guard you? If you’re anxious about shedding your job, the nervousness is perhaps attempting to guard you from the looming (very actual) issues that include a scarcity of money. If you’re anxious about having an excessive amount of work, the nervousness is perhaps attempting to guard you from stress. The function of that is that it frames nervousness as a protecting coping mechanism. Whether that is true or not, it might present a little bit of reduction.

And for all the concerns I can’t management, I’ll nonetheless undergo a lot of the above questions, however I’ll additionally do not forget that if I wasn’t born, all of these issues I’m worrying about would nonetheless exist. For some motive this calms me down a bit of and I can get on with my day. For now.”

Dr Rebecca Ray

Clinical psychologist and creator of Small Habits for a Big Life

“Calm the body and you go a long way to calming the mind”, says Dr Rebecca Ray.

“Calm the body and you go a long way to calming the mind”, says Dr Rebecca Ray.Credit:Nicola Holland

“Anxiety visits me most often when I’m overwhelmed, usually of my own doing by taking on too many tasks. The pattern has been with me since I was in school and stems from a deep-seated belief I once had that my worth equates to my productivity. While I no longer hold that belief, the pre-existing neural pathways associated with it still exist in my brain, and if I’m not careful, I can fall back into that productivity measurement.

My favourite tools for managing anxiety always start with the body. Calm the body and you go a long way to calming the mind. At the moment, I need ways to release the tension that rises sitting at my home office. I lie on the floor with a yoga bolster down the length of my back and my arms stretched outwards. This helps to open up my chest and shoulders, relieving tension in my back and neck. Sometimes, I’ll stretch my legs out straight, and other times, I bring the soles of my feet together to open up my hip joints. In settling into this position, I then pop my headphones on and turn on a 10-minute guided meditation. When I first tried combining meditation and relaxing in this position, I couldn’t quite believe how quickly I could shift the anxiety into a sense of grounded relaxation. It’s now a favourite ‘hack’ of mine to become calm quickly.

If you’re in a setting where it’s inappropriate to lie on the ground, sitting on a chair, and gently rolling your neck and shoulders also has wonderful benefits.”

Hugh van Cuylenburg

Founder of The Resilience Project

What does Hugh van Cuylenburg do when he’s feeling stressed. He tells someone he trusts how he’s feeling. Then, he excercises.

What does Hugh van Cuylenburg do when he’s feeling confused. He tells somebody he trusts how he’s feeling. Then, he excercises.Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui

“While I wouldn’t consider myself an overly stressed person, I’ve noticed the older I am getting – I’m now 41 – the more I experience anxiety. When I reflect on the events or moments that cause it, they are invariably the same three things. In no specific order, they are:

  • When I have a big show coming up;
  • When I feel I have too much on my plate with work;
  • When my kids are struggling.

There are two things that I do to manage this anxiety. It’s amazing how effective they are for me. But I have to do both of them, in this order.

  1. I tell someone that I trust, often my wife, how I’m feeling. Not so that she can solve the problem for me. In fact when she does try to solve it, I can get frustrated. I just need her to listen. It means that I articulate what’s going on inside my head – and that helps me get it out of my head.
  2. I exercise. Simple as that. Often, feeling anxious elicits quite a physical reaction because our body releases stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. When you exercise, you flush those away and get a dose of happy hormones (endorphins and dopamine). But that’s a bit of a boring explanation. Here is a better way to describe why exercise helps me. When I go for a half-hour run, I spend the first 10 minutes thinking about the thing that’s causing anxiety. For the second 10 minutes, all those anxious thoughts seem to disappear. Then in the last 10 minutes, my mind thinks very clearly and pragmatically about whatever is causing the anxiety and I seem to come up with solutions or possible approaches to whatever the issue is.”

Kemi Nekvapil

Coach and creator of Power

For coach and author Kemi Nekvapil, it’s presence and the power of questions that help her deal with anxiety.

For coach and creator Kemi Nekvapil, it’s presence and the facility of questions that assist her cope with nervousness.Credit:Prue Aja Steedman

“Although I’m a good driver, I do not enjoy driving. I’m also hopeless at geography; I never know where I am. This means that sometimes I become incredibly anxious about driving long distances to new places.

When that happens, I use the power of presence and of questions. Firstly I take ownership of the fact that I’m anxious about getting lost. Then I take slow breaths because the fastest way to shift anxiety in my experience is to slow down my breathing and be present to the situation.

Next, I ask myself a question. ‘What am I anxious about, exactly?’ If the answer is ‘taking a wrong turn’, I remind myself that I am not in the outback, and I’m not going to perish if I’ve taken a wrong turn. If the answer is ‘being late for the meeting’, I call the person I’m about to meet to let them know, which lessens my anxiety.

This process can be used many anxiety-inducing situations. It may be when you’re about to have a difficult conversation, deliver a presentation at work, make a big purchase or move out of home.

  1. Identify you’re anxious
  2. Breathe into it
  3. Question what the anxiety is
  4. Take action to lessen it.”

Cass Dunn

Clinical psychologist and host of podcast Crappy to Happy

Cass Dunn: “I will sometimes repeat a mantra to myself like, ‘In this moment, I am fine and I am safe. In this moment, everything is OK’, to remind myself that the imminent disaster I’m worrying about in my head is not happening right now.”

Cass Dunn: “I will sometimes repeat a mantra to myself like, ‘In this moment, I am fine and I am safe. In this moment, everything is OK’, to remind myself that the imminent disaster I’m worrying about in my head is not happening right now.” Credit:@cassdunn_xo

“When I experience anxiety, it’s usually when I feel overwhelmed by deadlines. I start getting those heart palpitations and sweaty palms, worrying about how I will ever get it all done. The first thing I always do is take a few slow deep breaths to calm my nervous system and bring my attention back to this moment. Then I remind myself that what I’m worrying about is not happening right now. I will sometimes repeat a mantra to myself like, ‘In this moment, I am fine and I am safe. In this moment, everything is OK’, to remind myself that the imminent disaster I’m worrying about in my head is not happening right now. The anxiety is usually a result of your mind projecting into an unknown or made-up future. And even if the worst-case scenario were to happen, it’s not the present.

You can apply this to your specific situation. For example, if it’s financial stress, you’re not being evicted from your house right now. If it’s work deadlines, no one is firing you from your job right now. Right now, everything is fine.

The next really useful thing to do is to keep your attention focused only on what is immediately in front of you. Don’t let your mind spiral out to all the things that are coming up. So if you have four big assignments due in the next month, don’t think about all of them – just focus on the one you’re doing today or that’s due this week.”

Support is offered from Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

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