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14 easy tips to calm your mind

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Anxiety can disrupt the day to day harming the physical and emotional of many people. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), Brazil is in first place in the ranking of the most anxious countries in the world (1). Some anxiety exercises can help to slow down the mind, bringing more quality of life. Check out the exercise instructions given by psychologist Jaciara Michelle Gaspar (CRP 08/28341).

Psychological Exercises for Anxiety

Anxiety can hinder even the simplest tasks, can’t it? According to psychologist Jaciara, “the symptoms and consequences of anxiety are diverse and, in some cases, persistent and intense, causing discomfort and damage to the routine of people who feel and need to deal with these symptoms on a daily basis.”

See below some psychological exercises recommended by the professional that can be used as a strategy to minimize the effects of anxiety and improve quality of life:

1. Learn to stop

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Jaciara explained that many people are not used to taking breaks and end up spending a large part of the day preoccupied with work, studies and household chores. Thus, the psychologist indicated an exercise that “aims to learn to stop, to be aware of the now and to be aware of the activity being practiced”.

So, have you noticed where you are? Did you stop to analyze what’s around you? If not, stop for a while and carefully observe the place around you, how your position is, and try to notice what thoughts are in your mind.

2. Get off autopilot

For Jaciara “many of the daily activities are done in a mechanical and automatic way”, that’s why she indicated to think and analyze all the activities performed to try to understand which of them were performed with awareness. “Make a list and answer: what were you doing while performing certain activities? Which ones did you make consciously and really present?”, recommended the psychologist.

3. Be aware of your body positions

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Notice how your body is at the moment you feel you are anxious, try to analyze your body’s signals during that time. According to Jacira, this exercise “teaches how to train your awareness and attention to body signals (shivering, sweating, shortness of breath, accelerated heartbeat, muscle tension and others) to react more adequately when they happen.”

4. Do a day-to-day activity carefully

The routine makes people not pay attention to those daily activities, such as brushing teeth, taking a shower, washing the dishes, eating a meal and others. So Jacira recommended choosing one of these activities to do with mindfulness for a week. “Notice what you needed to do this activity. What sensations did you feel? How long did it take to do it? Have your thoughts gone away? How many times has this happened? If that happens, turn your attention to the activity, without charge”, completed the professional.

The objective here is to improve the performance of activities, being very attentive to the stimuli around, observing what is happening and how your emotions are. The professional’s recommendation is to choose a new activity each week to practice this exercise.

5. Observe the environment

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The psychologist explained that “thoughts, sensations and emotions can arise, stay for a while and then disappear, don’t try to make them disappear, just watch.” For this, try to be curious about the environment you are in and notice the details of the place. If this is not possible, Jaciara gave a tip: “you can also imagine with your eyes closed and describe what I could see and what your feelings and sensations were”.

Exercise is a great way to “observe the environmental stimuli that often go unnoticed and can interfere with emotions and feelings”, completed the psychologist.

Breathing Exercises for Anxiety

According to Jaciara, “breathing is an automatic function of the human body and it is also one of the main complaints of anxiety. In this way, many exercises use breathing to try to help “you reconnect with the sensations in your body and know the changes caused by external stimuli”. Check out some exercises recommended by the professional:

6. Diaphragmatic breathing

Simple, this exercise can be done at any time of day and anywhere. Whenever you think it’s necessary, set aside a few moments in your routine to do this practice, until you feel comfortable again:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position and place your hands on your stomach;
  2. Inhale through your nose counting from 1 to 4;
  3. Hold air for a count of 2;
  4. Release air through your mouth counting from 1 to 6;
  5. Repeat a few times and observe the sensations in your body.

7. Attention to breathing

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Everyone makes the inhale and exhale movements without realizing it, after all, breathing is automatic. Often bringing attention to such a simple act can be of great help to alleviate anxiety, check this out:

  1. Watch the movement as you inhale and exhale;
  2. Pay attention to the sensations and movements in your belly as air enters and leaves your lungs;
  3. Pay attention to your posture and how it helps or makes it difficult to breathe;
  4. Make gradual changes in your position if you feel the need to improve your breathing;
  5. Thoughts can come and take your attention away from the present moment, when you realize that, bring your attention back to the breath.

8. 3-minute breathing space

Focusing on the here and now can seem like a daunting task. But, following a few steps of posture, breathing and concentration, you can practice this exercise and can always do it when anxiety arrives:

  1. Choose a sitting or standing position to perform this exercise;
  2. Start with an upright, comfortable posture. Direct your attention to the experiences of the present moment;
  3. For the first minute just notice what thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations you are feeling;
  4. Refocus your attention on breathing and abdominal movements;
  5. Track all the way the air goes in and out of your body;
  6. If at any time your mind wanders, calmly lead it back to the breath;
  7. Be aware of possible tensions or discomforts while breathing, keep breathing, and see if they improve with practice.

9. Sitting breathing exercise

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Another very interesting exercise is to focus on breathing while sitting, it helps you get a better feel for your body, which is great for bringing you into the now and alleviating anxiety:

  1. Settle into a sitting position, with your back straight and comfortable for you;
  2. If you are sitting in a chair, keep your feet flat on the floor and your legs relaxed, not crossing them;
  3. Close your eyes. Pay attention to the sensations of the parts of your body that touch surfaces (chair, floor, pillow);
  4. Now direct your attention to the sensations caused by your breathing. Keep observing how you breathe and if there is any change in rhythm and intensity;
  5. You don’t have to try to control or change your breathing, there is nothing to fix;
  6. Let it happen naturally. Pay attention to whether your breathing starts to happen in a more calm, rhythmic and conscious way.

10. Relaxation lying down

If you want a better and more peaceful night’s sleep, the tip is to turn off the lights to make the environment more comfortable and cozy and do the following step by step:

  1. Lie with your back and legs straight and leaning against a comfortable surface;
  2. Count the seconds it takes to inhale and exhale;
  3. If you can, set a rhythm for your breathing. This may take a while and you don’t need to try to control it, try to gently breathe in a time that is pleasant for you;
  4. Count from 1 to 3 for air to enter through the nose and release at the same time.

Physical Exercises for Anxiety

Putting your body in motion is also a great option for alleviating anxiety symptoms. The exercises are simple, easy and can easily fit into your routine for you to practice whenever you feel like it.

11. Simple Physical Exercises for Anxiety

Great to do every day, this video contains four exercises that help bring you into the now. They are light, but they demand energy, concentration and still burn some calories. See more details in the video.

12. Dance to end anxiety

Some songs can liven up the atmosphere and make anyone dance. How about combining music with physical activity to say goodbye to anxiety? Check out a choreography in the video to move the body and bring thought to the present.

13. Yoga for anxiety

If you prefer lighter practices, then go for yoga! You can practice this activity at any time of the day. Remember to be in a clean, bright and very comfortable environment. Also, use a mat and make sure there are no noises around to help with concentration.

14. Yoga for anxiety and stress

In this video, yoga teacher Pri Leite teaches some really cool techniques and positions to relieve everyday stress. Just like the previous exercise, in this one you also need to be in a very calm environment, ok?

Pay attention to signals from the body and mind. Also, never fail to seek professional help, as only he can assess the symptoms and indicate the best way to deal with anxiety. Take the opportunity and learn about the physical symptoms of anxiety to learn more about the subject.


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