I am generally a very happy-go-lucky person (I like to think so, anyway).
But on off days, I can really struggle with anxiety, to a point where it’s past just being stressed. I get snappy, extremely panicked, and it’s just generally not very fun for anyone involved.
I think it’s harder today than it was even 10 years ago to find how to relax, since we live in such a stimulating world. Honestly most of the time you’ll find me with a TV show in one window, facebook in another, and a game of some sort in another, all going at the same time. Sometimes I’m even writing a blog post or something while all of that’s going on.
We get bored really easily, because we’re so used to being entertained that I think we’ve lost the art of finding peace and quiet. Because of that, it’s easy to push problems and worries into the back of your mind and not really face them. In life it’s important to take a step back, re-evaluate, and then proceed. But usually we just plow through without ever stopping for some rest.
Now that I’m going away to school, though, and I’ll be living with three other girls and don’t have my mom and dad to take care of me, I’ve been kind of forcing myself to tackle it for once and for all, and find ways to prevent the major panic before it becomes an issue.
So here are some steps on how to relax when you feel stress or a panic attack coming on.
1. Face it.
Honestly, most times I get anxious, panicked, or really stressed it’s about something that isn’t being dealt with. That or it’s something that I’m waiting on an answer for. In the first case, just sit down, and think for a second. What’s going on in your life right now? Are you taking time to actually talk through, think through, or fix what’s going on? If you can’t fix it, or you’re waiting to see what happens, find some way to come to peace with it instead of worrying about it 24/7. That is a guaranteed way to suck any life away in no time flat.
2. Eat Healthy Foods
This isn’t as much about eating good food as much as it is not eating bad food. If you’re stressed, depressed, or just generally in a bad mood eating a whole tub of ice cream will do nothing but bring self-hatred later. If you eat a bunch of berries or an apple instead of a bag of chips, you feel more alert, too, and less sluggish. ‘
3. Get Those Endorphins Going!
Go out and exercise! I know everyone says this, but it really really helps. Even just a 20 minute run help you clear your head, and will make you feel more energized, and able to tackle the underlying problems behind the stress and anxiety.
4. Do Some Yoga
I know yoga is technically exercise, but it helps you in a different way. For me personally, if I need to clear my head and get out pent up anger and frustration I’ll run. But if I need to calm down and just relax, I’ll do some yoga instead (which is really funny to watch since I am the least flexible person you will ever meet!) You don’t have to be perfect–you don’t even have to be good at it! Just go onto Youtube and find a 10-20 minute yoga lesson. It’ll help, I promise.
5. Take a Shower/Bath
Seriously. There is nothing more relaxing than taking an ice cold shower. I’m serious. When you’re stressed out, tensed, and have a pounding headache, it feels so good to jump into a cold shower. If you have some extra time, and are in need of some serious relaxation, run a hot bath, light some candles, and read that book you’ve had on your shelf for months!
6. Relaxing Music
Listening to music that is mainly instrumental or is more subdued really helps me just tune out the rest of the world. What I love to do is just go onto Youtube (yeah, I live on that site) and look for contemporary classical piano and guitar pieces and just listen while I journal or something. (Bonus points if you listen to relaxing music while in the bath!)
This is the biggest one. Whether you feel a huge rush of relief as soon as you say “amen” or not, a regular prayer life definitely helps with battling anything you might be facing. Find what works for you–I personally like to write my prayers down, some people sing worship songs, some pray out loud. But find a way to connect with God and do it on a daily basis. When you’re really making God a part of your every day, he can finally begin to take away those worries, those stresses, and the problems bombarding your life. Too often we, as Christians, expect to put in 20% of the effort and reap 100% of the results. It’s not like that–but if we allow him into our lives fully and completely, then we’ve given him permission to clean out the dirtier parts of our lives, and then we finally get some relief from our worries.