Take a moment to take care of yourself with a mindful moment for mental wellness!
Holding something cold forces us out of our head (stops ruminative, racing thoughts that are anxiety-driven) and into the moment (where your entire attention is on your hands), giving your brain a break from whatever stress you are swept up in.
TRY IT: Try holding an ice cube when you’re feeling anxious!
Anxiety is something most of us have experienced at least once in our life. Public speaking, performance reviews, and new job responsibilities are just some of the work-related situations that can cause even the calmest person to feel a little stressed.
This five-step exercise can be very helpful during periods of anxiety or panic by helping to ground you, your child, or a loved one in the present when your mind is bouncing around between various anxious thoughts.
Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. It could be a pen, a spot on the ceiling, anything in your surroundings.
Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. It could be your hair, a pillow, or the ground under your feet.
Acknowledge THREE things you hear. This could be any external sound. If you can hear your belly rumbling that counts! Focus on things you can hear outside of your body.
Acknowledge TWO things you can smell. Maybe you are in your office and smell pencil, or maybe you are in your bedroom and smell a pillow. If you need to take a brief walk to find a scent you could smell soap in your bathroom, or nature outside.
Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like—gum, coffee, or the sandwich from lunch?
Five Steps to Feeling Calm (use this as a guide for yourself or to teach your child
1) Spread your hand and stretch your fingers out like a star. You can choose your left hand or your right hand. Pretend the pointer finger of your other hand is a pencil and imagine you are going to trace around the outline of your hand and fingers.
2) Start at the bottom of your thumb and slide your finger up your thumb, pause at the top, and then slide your finger down the other side. Now slide your pointer up your second finger, pause, and slide down the other side. Continue tracing your fingers up, pause, and down. Slide your finger slowly, watch your finger move and notice how it feels. Keep going until you have finished tracing your fifth finger (pinky).
3) Now you are ready to add some breathing. Breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Remember to keep it slow and steady.
4) Place your pointer finger at the bottom of your thumb, and breathe in as you slide up. Breathe out as you slide down. Breathe in as you slide up your second finger, and breathe out as you slide down. Keep going until you have finished tracing your fingers and you have taken five slow breaths.
5) How does your body feel now? Do you feel calm or would you like to take another five?
1) Go for a walk around the block
On your daily walk take in as much beauty as you can. Take a moment to appreciate your body without judgement.
2) Breathing exercises
Breathe in for 4 seconds while you focus on the word: peace. Breathe out for 4 seconds while you mentally release the worry you’ve been holding onto.
3) Daily yoga app
Yoga doesn’t have to be about exercise. It can be about pain relief and taking a moment to center yourself. Give it a try with one of the many free apps!
4) Record yourself a message
It may surprise you how easy it is to keep your intentions strong when you leave yourself a reminder of WHY you set them.
5) Gratitude List
Write down just 5 things a day you are grateful for. Positive reinforcement is healthy for your brain! Positive reinforcement feels good, so it causes the brain to release dopamine. This triggers the reward pathway and the neural pathway for the behavior/action/thought. When both pathways are triggered together, it strengthens them even more. This is why positive reinforcement works
Sometimes our anxiety goes beyond what we can help ourselves and it is ok to ask for help. There are several resources like NAMI that can connect you with agencies like NewPath Child & Family Solutions.