O.A. Insights: How I shift away from an anxious mindset to a positive one
Hey there again friends, O.A. Insights is back! These short little blog posts come at you once a week about a variety of topics - questions I've heard from you time and time again (or just simple things that are on my mind!).
This week's topic is an interesting one. I've heard tons of times: How are you so positive? (Have you seen me when I'm hungry?!). Or more importantly - how can I stop anxiety in it's tracks?
Trust me - I've had my share of panic attacks and anxious thoughts arise for me actually quite often. The thoughts range from scary and often unrealistic things like the integrity of my health, to very real things like how am I going to pay rent next month?!
In all seriousness, anxiety is a real, scary issue especially when you're in the thick of it. There are a couple of techniques and tools that I use to ride the waves of anxiety and steer my mindset into a more positive direction.
Here are a few of my go-to practices for anxiety and stress.
stress & anxiety tools and techniques:
- the power of breath: when I was experiencing panic attacks often, I turned to the power of my breath - a tool that we always have at our disposal. my favorite breathing technique is called square breathing or box breathing (here's a video on it). deep, focused breaths are proven to decrease anxiety. now, i spent time on various breath work techniques in the morning (like kapalabhati or nadi shodhana), which seem to help my mindset proactively throughout the day.
- the power of reflection: for me, writing and thinking through why I feel a certain way is always helpful. while I keep a daily journal about a variety of life topics, whenever i feel especially stressed or anxious i turn to my journal. it's almost like talking to a third person - it gives me the space to understand if this anxious thought holds true - or is just becoming bigger as i think about it more and more. everyone has a different way of reflecting - for some it's through cooking and others art. find yours.
- the power of movement: i have always been an "athlete" - in any sense of the word. when i was younger, i would often go on a run when i got into an argument with my mom or then-boyfriend. it was another form of reflection. but, movement incorporates a different element - it actually releases happy chemicals in your brain. so, when i'm feeling anxious or stressed, i go for a run or sign myself up for a group class. it helps melt the tension away.
- the power of plants: we all know that food has an extremely important impact on our moods (our gut is directly connected to our brains!). i've found certain herbs and plants extremely helpful in reducing anxiety. i try to incorporate ashwagandha (an adaptogen) into my diet every single day. i've found it has had a strong impact on my stress levels throughout the day. i also know that many are using cbd (the *not high* portion of the marijuana plant) to have similar affects. do what suits you!
- the power of community: connecting with real people is key for me in reducing anxiety and stress. humans are social creatures - and in today's world where everything is done via email and on our phones, it's more important than ever to seek out community in all that we do.
o.a. insights is a new, short-form weekly blog series from on adulting that covers anything and everything in my life - from what i do each day to the products in my wardrobe. look out for more each friday!