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Aerial photography Anxiety Dealing with a Crisis Distress Tolerance letting go of fear Stress

7 Anxiety Relief Techniques That Work

How to Quickly Reduce Stress in a Crisis

Take a moment to look at situations in a stable, rational way and adjust your perspective. Instead of investing your emotions in anxiety and stress, stop, pause and direct your responses to be calm and solution focused. Accept reality without fatiguing or exasperating yourself. Radical Acceptance is an anxiety relief technique to accept reality, even when it’s challenging and downright painful. During my work as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse and Counsellor, I teach others to learn necessary habits needed to relieve stress and anxiety, and maintain healthy mental health habits. The human condition has an ability for joy, love and happiness, but we all face challenges, disappointments and uncertainty along the way as a part of our life journey.

Take Charge and Shift Your Mindset

In this complex and unstable world we need to have tools. Our prehistoric brain highlights fear, anxiety and negativity and works against us. Take charge through daily practice of re-framing thoughts and shift your mindset. Productive thinking boosts self-esteem and puts the clutter of negative thoughts in the trash where they belong. Our primal survival instincts get triggered, scanning in our environment for danger. Then we scare ourselves with irrational fear thoughts such as if the worst came true we would fall apart. We think when we go through a trauma or loss we are alone, but this is not true, our primal nature is to support one another with compassion. Use that same skill to have self compassion towards yourself. This lowers cortisol the stress hormone, and increases resilience during stressful events.

Acknowledge Painful Feelings

Recognize fear thoughts and replace them with safe and comforting thoughts by firmly directing your mind. Change and loss is natural and can lead to personal growth. Uncertainty can mean you’re on the right track and are opening yourself to new opportunities. When you use your imagination during a tough change or painful event to see the good and imagine that you’re creating something better in that space, you are changing the neural pathways in your brain. Acknowledge difficult and painful feelings as they come up and know this will change.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where stands in times of challenge and controversy” Martin Luther King

Focus on How This Change Brings You a New Perspective

A challenge is an opportunity when you look at it with a brand new perspective. If you are going through a tough change, find the good that came from it. When you visualize a positive outcome and move forward, it does not mean you erase the memory from your mind. You are now focusing on how this change brings alternative possibilities. It may have given you the gift of wisdom, knowing you’re resilient or an increased understanding of yourself. Acknowledge the fear and the courage it took to move forward. Looking for the good does not negate what happened to you. With your eye on a positive outcome you can gain perspective, and this will shift you into a better state of mind.

Develop True Grit During Tough Situations

When you put pressure on yourself to achieve a goal, your brain does its best to step up to the changing conditions. By changing habits, for example, you are perturbing the equilibrium of what was normal. Instead of going into high anxiety after a change, practice calming skills such as deep breathing, which connects you with your vagus nerve. Your reactive brain wants to go back to being the same and fear drives it. Welcome personal growth challenges under pressure to develop resiliency and develop a sense of true grit when the going gets tough. Train yourself to stay calm with forward moving energy. This provides stability during a sudden change or threat in your environment. You can learn how to be productive even during a crisis. This is something that takes practice as our brain is reactive. If you allow it to overreact with challenges, the flood of cortisol and adrenaline can deplete your energy. 

Put the Challenge into Perspective with Others

As humans, we can reassure and support others. Engage your community with empathy by putting things in perspective, as this regulates emotions. Respond compassionately to somebody in distress. Without getting anxious with them respond with caring and connection. If you dive right in and become upset with them experiencing negative emotions, this can cause overwhelm. Respond with genuine warmth and concern expressing compassion. Sometimes bearing witness to their pain with empathy is all that someone needs. Put the challenge into perspective and offer decision-making skills. With practice you can nurture other people in their time of need by offering them the gift of your wise self with your supportive words. Helping others with warmth and compassion releases the neurotransmitter oxytocin, which is a hormone that promotes feelings of love, bonding and well-being. 

Persistence,Courage and Strength

We need determination and endurance in life. Sometimes we need to tolerate pain and frustration, and during this time we need persistence and courage. Practice feeling strong by ignoring past hurt, perceived failures and let downs. Forge ahead and stop giving power to the past. Redirect yourself and focus only on the positive goal you wish to accomplish.

The Heart is the CEO

Remember that the heart is the CEO, and can quickly bring you to a state of ease. Instead of trying to master your worry thoughts ruled by the cognitive part of your brain, learn to re-calibrate to a belief of safety and refuge through regulating your heart rhythm. In my experience, this is the deepest and most permanent way to feel better. When you do heart focused breathing, you put your heart in a coherent state with thoughts of joy, love, appreciation, gratitude, compassion and forgiveness. This is a higher level of thinking which puts your heart rhythm in a smooth even wave. If you stay in a lower level state of anger, despair and anxiety your heart rhythm is in an incoherent state or in a jagged wave which can cause stress-related disorders.

Shift Out of Your Primal Fear State

At any point in time we are in our primal fear state which is the fight flight zone of the sympathetic nervous system or we are in the healing and powerful state of the parasympathetic zone of the nervous system. This means we connect with the benefit of the restorative vagus nerve. Our primal brain limits us with fear, insecurities, doubts, worries and anxieties, as this is the cognitive part of our brain which is a lower level state. When we are overthinking things and getting into a worry loop, this can be mentally draining and effect health. At any point in time we have the choice to shift out of this primal fear state into the higher and healthier state of our heart’s intelligence, connecting with joy, creativity and inspiration.

Call to Action

1) Make it your personal challenge to stay calm despite misfortune and set an intention that you are strong and serene. This prevents our amygdala or our emotion centre from irrational over response. Accept life’s uncertainty and develop a calm response pattern overtime. Stay solution focused and calm when waters get turbulent in life. Equanimity takes training and practice, as our primal brain is normally reactive to keep us safe from harm.

2) Find music with a strong rhythmic beat. Music is a right-brain exercise, where nonverbal creativity, intuition, and perception live. Immerse yourself in a challenging and creative project. Distress and stress are a left-brain activity with solving mental tasks, problem solving and analyzing. The left brain can get fatigued, stressed, and strained. Engage your right brain with creativity to relieve distress.

3) Have compassion for others and use this same skill to have self compassion towards yourself. Treat yourself with kindness and understanding. This lowers cortisol the stress hormone, and increases resilience during stressful events. Compassion releases the neurotransmitter oxytocin, which is a hormone that increases well-being.

4) Sit where you can be uninterrupted for 3 minutes. Close your eyes and visualize yourself calm through mental rehearsal. Imagine what a composed person looks like and have an image of yourself as calm. The breath has both emotional and physical benefits. Oriental meditators believe breathing is the secret to longevity as it eases the strain on both the heart and vital organs. Learn to breathe and stay composed during unpleasant events and emotional upset. Easy, rhythmic breathing patterns can get you through challenging times.

5) Ride the wave with 4×4 breathing until the distress has passed. Breathe in for the count of 4, hold for the count of 4, exhale for the count of 4, hold for 4. Comparable to a wave, the emotion will appear intense, reach its peak, then pass and dissipate. 

6) Seek and find positive experiences for brain health, even in the middle of hardship and pain. Wonderful facts are still around you, even when life is difficult. With practice this builds strength, resilience, and boosts feel good brain chemistry such as serotonin. This benefits brain structure and health.

7) Whenever you are in your monkey mind with your thoughts are racing out of control understand that you are in a primal state and notice your negative inner dialogue. Say to yourself “OK, I am in a primal unhealthy state and I am now going to my powerful higher level state.” Put your hand on your heart, do heart focused breathing and know that your higher level of intelligence lies in the intuitive voice of your heart. Remember, your heart provides wiser counsel than the inaccurate primal chatter of the brain when under stress.

About the Author

Kim co authored the #1 Bestselling book Emotional Intelligence: Mental Health Matters, which provides a set of supportive tools and inspiring stories to help women conquer negative influences, harness the power of psychological wellness and thrive emotionally.For more information go to:

https://www.awomanofworth.com/kim-mowatt

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Categories
Distress Tolerance happiness Stress

4 Effective Habits of Happiness to Relieve Stress and Navigate Your Mind Toward Health and Well-Being

Make Happiness Your New Foundation

Train your heart and brain to make happiness your new foundation. There will still be challenges, but you will create a new baseline in your heart, brain and nervous system for happiness instead of stress. This new benchmark will increase your resilience and be an inspiration to others. The new habits you adopt make this baseline a possibility with our current knowledge of neuroplasticity. The brain changes according to its experience, and you can take charge and navigate your mind toward health and well-being.

“Take responsibility of your own happiness, never put it in other people’s hand’s” Roy T. Bennett author of “The Light in the Heart”

Acknowledge Your Stressors


Expressing happiness and enthusiasm is an inspiration to others in our fast-paced digital world where there is always something on the horizon. We have round-the-clock news reporting on the ineptitude of governments, storms, wildfires to wars, fatalities and now the coronavirus. Rapidly advancing technology brings with it the pressure to shape up and align ourselves to ever-changing trends on Instagram and Facebook. People are continually in search of likes and validation through social media. There is a long list of stressors that impedes our inner peace.

Strive for contentment despite what happens around you. We have an illusion that circumstances, places, trips, cars, purchases and more money will make us happy. These are short-lived boosts we believe validates who we are. Put your energy into your values, what is meaningful, and gravitate towards what will last.

You Are a Chameleon


A chameleon has perfected the art of camouflage through changing its colour and adapts to its changing environment with resilience. Similar to this old world lizard, our wise and resilient mind leads to genuine happiness through simple daily practices.

Call to Action:

1)Recognize and Reframe

When you notice stress is developing, select methods to neutralize it before it escalates. Redirect your mind to recognize negative thoughts and reframe them. Steer yourself away from crippling beliefs and distorted thoughts that have you confined. These are mistaken ideas which we have created which inhibit us from achieving our goals. Learn to reframe thoughts through effective and positive affirmations. Get hold of these limiting notions and don’t allow your emotions to control you.

Say Stop;Reframe


Notice negative thoughts. An example would be “I can never seem to get this done” to “I am doing this easily and effortlessly.” Say to yourself, stop and reframe. Find a new way, no matter how challenging it is, to find one element of good in your situation. We become what we envision the most. Having fear as a guide impacts thoughts, influencing your abilities. Talk to that fearful person inside yourself; ask him or her to sit this one out so you may take full charge. When you alter your mindset to give yourself happy thoughts, you change your brain chemistry, heart rhythm and improve health and wellbeing.

“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.” Elizabeth Gilbert author of Eat, Pray, Love


It is unfortunate that we work less on lightheartedness and latch onto more stress. Anxiety and stress has turned into our default setting, and we have made that our new normal, becoming accustomed to fear as the familiar voice. Reroute your intellect towards a happier default setting for health and wellness.

2)Understand Fear of Happiness and Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm and happiness can be a source of fear, as we might dread being out of control. Our negativity bias scans for the worst, which causes anxiety. We perceive being too happy and positive might upset other people, or someone may perceive it as abnormal. But this idea is far from the truth. It is our brain’s primal natural tendency and need for safety that keeps pushing us towards familiar negative thoughts. 


Fear of being happy crosses many generations. We search for a hazard to arrive, and over time, projecting this culture of negativity completes a cycle of doom. This doesn’t mean that we ignore adversity, loss and pain. It means educating our upcoming resilient, wise and peaceful generation to have compassion for themselves and others. Establishing happiness as a foundation is a valuable achievement. Learn a set of higher level emotions such as joy, love, appreciation, gratitude, forgiveness and compassion to reduce fear and anxiety.

Photo by Jakob Owens 

3)Understand the Science of How Happiness Affects Your Heart

Heart coherence means your heart, brain and nervous system are in sync, which results in a smooth even heart rhythm and neurochemistry that improves mood. Studies show you can influence another’s heart rhythm by staying coherent yourself. The happier your state is, the lighter the mood is of those around you. Happiness and a genuine smile is contagious. Our relationship to joy is a responsibility for ourselves and others. Fear and negative emotions is contagious and has a ripple effect. Sometimes we have a false belief that if we’re not suffering or anxious, we are falling short and not doing enough. We have many generations of worriers. But by making happy our new normal, we help new generations to develop reservoirs of strength and resilience.  

I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery-air, mountains, trees, people. I thought this is what it is to be happy” Sylvia Plath author of “The Bell Jar”

4)Lean into a Happiness Habit Each Day


New lifestyle patterns such as reading inspirational material, Heartmath exercises, and mindfulness practice resources, help you gain insight into your brain’s neuroplasticity, which can cause lasting change. Repetition is the key to working beyond our reptilian brain that wants to stay fearful, negative and afraid. You have everything within you to recondition your brain to discover joy and happiness.

Get revved up on what you will do next, and focus on an idea that sparks your creativity and excitement. This creates a powerful positive force you can rely upon to keep pushing you forward. Think of this energy as emanating from an untapped precious source. This impacts vitality and health.

Once you are aware of this precious resource within, it becomes our responsibility to use them for the health benefits of our bodies. We often mistake excitement with fear. Transform your fear energy into forward-moving solutions and make whatever task you need to do easier. Make happiness your new revolution. Enjoy every minute of your journey and make your life a beautiful song.

About the Author:

https://www.awomanofworth.com/kim-mowatt
Kim co authored the #1 Bestselling book Emotional Intelligence: Mental Health Matters, which provides a set of supportive tools and inspiring stories to help women conquer negative influences, harness the power of psychological wellness and thrive emotionally.