With the holidays quickly approaching AND 9 months into a pandemic; we have had to change things up A LOT. Big holiday gatherings, parties, and traveling are now going to be small, at home with only virtual get-togethers. I think we can all agree that some of us are feeling the stress or maybe even feeling anxious.

Here are Eight 60 Second Anxiety Relief Tools for all.

  1. Breathe- Research shows rapid and shallow breathing are often part of the stress response. Reverse the response with deep, slow breathing. Try breathing in deeply through your nose and then exhaling fully through your mouth. Continue this practice for one minute. This type of breathing sends a message from your body to your mind that there is no present danger, you can go from fight-or-flight to rest-and-digest mode.
  2. Drink Water- Approximately 55 to 75 percent of our bodies are composed of water. Water helps deliver vitamins and nutrients to their proper destinations, helps eliminate waste, and helps our system function properly.
  3. Hug a Loved One- A hug, or even holding hands with a loved one, can melt stress away. Studies show the release of stress hormones such as cortisol and releases good hormones such as oxytocin (a.k.a., the “cuddle” or “love” hormone responsible for social bonding.)
  4. Be Mindful- Research shows that 47 percent of the time, we’re actually thinking about something other than what we’re doing. This research also reveals that thinking about the past or future is more likely to trigger anxiety than focusing on the present. Try this: Focus on the present by asking questions about your five senses. What do you feel, see, hear, smell, and taste right now?
  5. Witness Love- An interesting study asked participants to view pictures representing love and support. Then, researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure how the brain responded. It turns out viewing pictures of others being cared for can soothe anxiety. And for those who are especially anxious, the pictures of love and support can be even more effective.
  6. Reframe Stress- A little stress in your life is okay. In fact, there is something known as eustress (good stress), and studies show that awareness of this type of stress can help lower levels of cortisol and even boost productivity. In other words, your mindset regarding stress influences how your mind and body react to it. Tell yourself that a little stress is actually OK.
  7. Keep it Real- From an evolutionary perspective; the stress response is a built-in protection mechanism. Stress or worry is what kept the cave person attuned to the saber-toothed cat lurking in the bush. And to make sure we were really paying attention, the mind often exaggerated the object of the worry (e.g. mistaking a stick for a snake). This tendency to magnify what might go wrong remains with us and is a common cognitive distortion. Research shows that one of the best ways to bring yourself back from a distorted reality is self-disputation. When you have an anxious thought, ask yourself this question: Is my thought really true?
  8. Laugh- The benefits of laughter are well documented. In fact, there is an entire field dedicated to the science called Gelotology. Here are some of the major findings from the field: laughter can relax muscles, improve respiration and circulation, stimulate the production of endorphins (natural pain killers), and decrease stress-related hormones. In the short laughing is a great elixir for stress and anxiety.

*Research from www.gozen.com

This past week, the children made “Calming” Glitter Jars during Art class. Calming jars are a useful mindfulness tool for either at school or at home. They help with calming the body down, relieving worry, stress, and anxiety.

We encourage you and your family to make these at home together!

Come back next week for more information on the topic of Positivity/Engagement and Meaning with the focus of Self-Compassion and Resilience!

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