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Managing anxiety with controlled breathing can help you relax and take control of your time.

Take Control of Your Time

When you become anxious that you are running out of time to complete a project, or a job that has a deadline, this calming routine will help to halt any sense of panic and re-focus your mind. Say “stop” out loud and pause from your activity. Breathe in slowly and deeply. Then, imagine that with our exhalation time is expanding. Repeat this with your next two breaths, each time spending a little longer breathing out. Resume your task with a greater sense of calm. Believe you will complete your task or reach your deadline.

Create a Treasure Chest

To quickly restore a sense of peace, it is useful to have a “treasure chest” of positive ideas about yourself into which you can dip for reassurance. Consider the qualities, capabilities, accomplishments and any character traits you feel positive about yourself. Think of those who care about you and remember situations in which your support, advice and/or guidance helped others. Try writing them down. When you are unsure of your self-worth, doubt your abilities, struggle with trying tasks ahead of you, recall one of these positive characteristics or actions from your treasure chest. Recognize that you are worthy and feel proud of yourself for these qualities and deeds.

Soar Above the Earth

Any change in perspective can help us to see minor anxieties in our lives more objectively. Visualize yourself as a bird in a tree. You hop onto the higher branches and take flight, soaring high above the earth. All you see below is a swirl of blue and green, a world without borders or boundaries. Enjoy the experience of your visualization for five minutes then imagine beginning your descent. When you return to earth, minor irritations will seem diminished in the face of the world’s majesty.

Relax With Music

Music with a slow beat has been proven to regulate our brain waves and promote relaxation. However, many kinds of music can be generally calming. Experiment with various genres to discover the music that relaxes you the most. Set the music to play, then sit or lie comfortably and close your eyes. Immerse yourself in the sounds, and visualize the notes flowing over your body until they envelop you. Listen for each instrument, the strum of guitar strings, the soft sounds of the piano. Soon the music will soothe away all your tension.

Find Empathy

Empathy, as defined by the dictionary, is the ability to understand the thoughts feelings or emotions of someone else. Sometimes we may avoid empathizing with others, fearing that our sense of self may be overtaken by their emotional demands. However, empathy is a signal of our own strong sense of self. Today, try making an effort to understand another’s situation. Lend an especially attentive ear, or monitor someone’s body language to pick up on how that person feels, try seeing the world as another might see it. Being an understanding friend or colleague is a positive attribute that will bring you a heightened sense of self-worth.

Two Minute Mid-Day Calm

If you find yourself lacking calmness and clarity, take a two-minute break to de-stress. Stop what you’re doing, turn the phones off, and sit quietly. For two minutes you will do nothing but breathe and relax. Your mind will start chattering, but keep returning to your deep, relaxing breaths. Each time you get caught in busy thoughts, return to your breathing. Your muscles may feel tight, so let the breathing help relax your body. When the two minutes are complete, notice your state. As you return to your day, go slowly and use this calm that you found as a tool for efficiency. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, remember how easy it is to feel reenergized with a two minute mid-day calm.

Have Your Favorite

A great way to comfort yourself after a stressful week is to make your absolute favorite meal on Sunday. Buy all the ingredients you need at your favorite market or better yet, a farmers’ market. When you get home, climb into your comfortable clothing and begin by concentrating on preparing your meal mindfully, focusing on each action and sensation. Introduce some soft lighting, or light some candles, then put on some relaxing music. Plate your dinner as if it were a masterpiece. Enjoy every morsel and with each mouthful feel the week’s tension ebb away.

Rock the Stress Away

Try the following visualization after a long and stressful day - Lie on your back, close your eyes, and visualize yourself lying in a hammock on a beautiful tropical beach. The sun gently warms your face and a light breeze rocks the hammock back and forth while gently blowing your hair. Your breathing slows as you hear the rhythmic sound of the waves breaking onto the shore. With each breath you take the tension in your body begins to dissolve. Lull yourself into a deep and peaceful relaxation for five to ten minutes to feel refreshed or use this technique to help you fall asleep for the night.

Take a Day Trip

A dull and predictable routine can hinder your creative spirit and leave you feeling stressed and bored. A simple change of scenery for a day can have an enormously revitalizing effect. Plan a day trip for friends and family to your nearest park, lake or hiking trail. Spend some time collecting leaves, wildflowers, bark or attractive pebbles. When you return home, distribute these natural objects around the house, or decorate a shelf or a room with them as a reminder of your pleasurable day out. Especially look for a touchstone, a rock or stone that is smooth to the touch. You will find they soothe and relax you.

Peace

Spend a few minutes each day creating a state of serenity and peace and you will feel good the entire day.

Feeling good is peace towards yourself and those around you.  If it is harmony you need, then your life will be fulfilled.  There is no happiness greater than peace.  Peace is letting go of those things you cannot change.  We all have the opportunity to practice peace, in our hearts and minds, in our actions and deeds and in our words and how we behave. Peace is feeling good about yourself and others.

Breathe deep and find the peace in you.

Create a Safe Haven

Find a special corner in your home to create a safe haven from the pressures of everyday life. Choose somewhere quiet. Place some fresh flowers there, or any other natural objects that soothe your senses, such as stones or leaves. Add some soft cushions, a candle, and perhaps a photograph from a vacation that was particularly relaxing. Try to spend five to ten minutes alone in your haven each day – sit down, breathe deeply, and allow yourself to be bathed in a sense of peace. If possible, create a similar space at work and take periodic breaks throughout your day. If not possible, take short walks with a touchstone, photo or calming item that brings a sense of relaxation. 

Learn to say No!

Learning how to decline a request is an important life skill. Many of us have a difficult time saying no, even when we’re overwhelmed with things to do. We may say yes from a desire to please, but in the end we often feel resentful, frustrated and angry with ourselves. Remember you have a right to decline any request, even if it’s reasonable. 

Try taking some time before you answer. Let them know you need to think it over or check with family or your boss.

Say “Thanks for calling and I’m grateful you thought of me but I can’t take on any more tasks.”

Always remember, you are saying no to the task, not rejecting the person. It’s called self-care. 

Program Your Nose

Take advantage of the power of scents to trigger intense, vivid recall of a particular mood or memory. Such as walking into an elementary school and getting that whiff of crayons. Hopefully, it brings up positive memories. You can program your mind and body to respond to certain scents. First practice a relaxation exercise such as deep belly breathing or a short relaxing meditation. Once deeply relaxed, take some sniffs of a pleasant scent, such as lavender. Gradually you will learn to associate relaxation with that scent. Once your mind has got it, you can quickly evoke a sense of relaxation or well-being just by taking a whiff of the scent alone. The next time you are in a stressful situation, take a whiff of the scent to calm yourself down. 

Human Touch

Did you know the simple act of human touch can boost your immune system? According to research, holding hands, getting a massage, hugging, having sex -- all lower the body's immunity-weakening cortisol levels. Getting a 45-minute massage will bolster pathogen-fighting white blood cells and reduce inflammatory cytokines, which have been connected to autoimmune diseases. Having sex, hugging and holding hands cause our bodies to release cortisol-lowering oxytocin, making them awesome immune-system improvers. Some experts recommend eight hugs a day to take your oxytocin benefits to the max. Want better health? Schedule a massage, hold hands with a loved one, and always give and receive hugs daily! 

Distract Yourself

Are you struggling with the stressors of life? Feeling undervalued or unappreciated? If you find yourself tense from brooding on problems, try immersing yourself in an activity, such as gardening, cleaning out the closet or the garage. This will help you to relax and will replace any feelings of powerlessness over your troubles with a sense of achievement. Set a realistic goal for yourself – for example, weed one flower bed or clean one room in the house. Finish that do-it-yourself project you’ve been meaning to get completed. Focus entirely on the task at hand. Distracting yourself from life’s difficulties can relieve stress and accomplishing a project will help you feel better about yourself. 

Value Yourself

Focus

We all experience unbelievable sadness at times.  There’s so much going on in the world around us including war, death, starvation, and the list goes on.  it’s easy to become overwhelmed just by watching the news or dealing with day to day issues.  Try taking a moment to reflect on something new and good that happened to you today.  It doesn’t need to be big.  Did you see the sun rise, someone smile, a new flower, or the sun set?  So many things (large and small) in the course of the day are pleasant.  Was it difficult to conjure up this picture?  At the end of the day remembering our litany of stresses is easy, but remembering the good things is often more difficult.  Try changing this focus on the negative with recalling the positive as well.

Worry

Are you a worrier? There are times that worrying can actually be helpful when it moves you into action to solve a problem. But constant worry can send your anxiety levels through the roof, creating issues with daily functioning. Allowing yourself to get caught up in the “what ifs” and “I should haves” will take a toll on you emotionally and physically. First, determine if you are worried about something you have control over. If you do, move into action, if you don’t, try staying focused on the present moment. Pay attention to your body, your breath and your changing emotions. Keep a worry journal or schedule a worry period. Being mindful and staying in the moment won’t get rid of worrying completely but will help you focus on the here and now.