When we are feeling stress and anxiety it’s mostly because our mind has drifted away in to a “what if scenario” of a real or imaginative situation. Since our mind doesn’t know the difference between reality and imagination, it takes the images (thoughts) as facts and is preparing itself for survival: fight, flight, or freeze. So, the aim is to bring your mind/ attention to the here and now, where there is no real imminent threat and then your mind will send that message to your body and bring on calmness.
Here are three quick scientific tips on how to manage stress and anxiety, when you start experiencing symptoms of stress and anxiety (increased heart rate, shortness of breath, dizziness/ lightheaded …)
Tip one – colour mindfulness:
Mindfulness is a great way to bring our attention to here and now. The colour mindfulness exercise is very easy and effective way to do so.
- Look around you and start counting everything that is: black
- Once you have counted everything that is black, look around agin and count everything that is: white
- Once you have counted everything that is white, look around agin and count everything that is: red
- Once you have counted everything that is red, look around agin and count everything that is: grey
Keep going with different colours till you fell your attention is in the present, while stress and anxiety disappear.
Tip two – Grounding technique
The grounding technique literally helps you to get grounded in the here and now by using your 5 senses.
Using your 5 senses:
- 5 Sight: name and describe 5 things you can see right where you are (e.g., a blue velvet chair, a large window, ….)
- 4 Touch: touch 4 things, name them and describe them (e.g., a cold spoon, a smooth white tabletop ….)
- 3 Hearing: name 3 different sound that you can hear right where you are (e.g., the sound of cars on the road, people chatting, …)
- 2 Smell: Smell 2 different things and describe them. (e.g., coffee smells earthy and comforting, vanilla
- 1 Taste: Taste one item of food and describe it. (e.g., this chocolate has smooth texture is sweet and is hard, this coffee is warm with a strong smell that is satisfying ….)
Tip three – three breath techniques (psychosomatic)
This exercise focuses on the interaction between the mind and body, where it activates the parasympathetic nervous system where it slows the heart and breathing rate, lowers blood pressure and promotes digestion. The body enters a state of relaxation and this relaxation breeds recovery.
- Take a deep breath through your nose (filling your lungs all the way up) and hold it for 5 seconds, then breath out very slowly through your nose.
- Take a second deep breath through your nose (filling your lungs all the way up) and hold it for 10 seconds, then breath out slowly through your nose.
- Take a third deep breath through your nose (filling your lungs all the way up) and hold it for 20 seconds, then breath our slowly through your nose.
These three quick scientific tools a great to help you manage stress and anxiety in the moment. If stress and anxiety persist, please see your doctor or mental health specialist, for more support.