It’s impossible not to be feeling anxious at the moment. So I wanted to share my top well-being tips and techniques for creating energy and calm in the mind and body. The criteria I set myself was that they had to be free, require no ‘kit’ and be easy to do.
You don’t need to do all of them all the time, just find the ones that work for you then try and do those a few times a week. Small and often is better than big and never. I’ll keep adding to this list so share any favourites with me.
They’re in no particular order – although the first two are my personal favourites!
1.Breathe – Calm breaths puts the breaks on our anxiety. Invest the time to practise slow and steady breathing when you don’t need it so that when you do you’ve trained yourself to manage your natural stress response. Here’s a link to my favourite breathing techniques
2.Move – we all know that movement is great for body and mind. Understand your energy level and then pick a class, movement or activity that makes you feel good and nurtures your body. If you’re feeling full of beans then go for a run or dance round the house, feeling in need of a stretch then go with that but try to create time to move for at least 15 minutes a day every day
3.Eat well – eat a colourful plate, with sensible portions and eat mindfully rather than while distracted – not just to eat less but to actually enjoy every mouthful.
4.Affirmations – A positive short statement in the present tense that you repeat to yourself first thing in the morning loudly and proudly. It should focus your mind on a positive behaviour or mindset you want to create (usually countering one you don’t currently have) so for example: ‘I am happy’, ‘I am in control’ ‘ I will succeed’.
5.Gratitude – we’re programmed on a primal level to look out for danger and negativity to protect ourselves. A technique to reprogramme our minds to focus more on the positive is to take a few minutes out every day to reflect on the day we had looking only for small almost insignificant moments where actually we can find something to feel grateful for. A parking space, a smile from a stranger, a compliment etc.
6.Reframing – if you’re ruminating on something that has happened or might happen – strip out the emotion and look just at the facts. Become an observer – treat the scenario like you’re just a commentator going through the facts and see if you can find a different way to look at those facts minus the emotions.
7.Walks in nature – this works on many levels – you create energy, positive chemicals release, you’re exposed to Vitamin D, your problems feel insignificant around ancient trees and you absorb yourself in your environment not your mind
8.Journaling – not writing a diary but simply getting your thoughts out of your head. Unacknowledged thoughts way heavy on our minds. So pick up a piece of paper and get your thoughts out.
9.Watch the self-talk – ‘Talk to yourself like you would a friend’ is one of my favourite tips.
10.Set yourself up for a good night’s sleep – Create a routine, avoid bright light (can you brush your teeth with just the hall light on), avoid your screen and see if you can fit in a 30 second gratitude practise before bed.
11. Set yourself up for a good day – make your bed (you’ve achieved something before you’ve even left the bedroom), choose what you do wisely with those first few minutes that will set the tone for the day. Write down your goals before you look at your phone so you know what you want to achieve and then appreciate it when you do!
12.Connect – we are social creatures, nurture your connections friends, family and community – also helps to create a sense of belonging. Find time to talk and also listen. Hug (if it’s appropriate) physical contact also releases chemicals for the giver and receiver. Pets count too!
13.Get to know yourself and prioritise yourself – know what brings you energy and calm and protect this by setting boundaries and saying no. You’ll be more useful to everyone else if you prioritise you and your needs as well.
14.Give – reward chemicals are released when perform acts of kindness for others. You benefit, they benefit. It’s a win win.
15.Meditate/mindfulness – this doesn’t mean sitting still and shutting out all thoughts for an hour. You can meditate or be mindful through gentle or dynamic movement focusing on how your body feels and your breathe. It’s simply about being in the present moment in a state of awareness rather than worrying about the past or the future. If during your practise of mindfulness you do drift into your thoughts, come back to your breathe and remind yourself – ‘you can’t stop the waves but you can surf them’.
16.Have fun – make time for doing things that are simply being done for no other reason than to be fun.
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