10 easy ways to relieve anxiety

10 Tips to Help Alleviate Your Stress and Anxiety

Everyone experiences stress to some extent, so how can we keep it from overwhelming us?

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Whether you have an anxiety disorder, misophonia, or are dealing with a stressful situation, everyone needs something to help them calm back down and focus on the here and now. When you can't "just calm down" or afford a visit to your mental health professional, what can you do? Sit there and let that anxiety eat away at you? Or push it aside and feel absolutely terrible at the end of the day? While these ten relaxation, grounding, and overall calming techniques won't cure your anxiety, they most certainly can provide some short-term relief so you can get through the day.

1. Belly breathing

Belly breathing or diaphragmatic breathing is a common exercise for singers, but it's also been shown to help decrease the stress responses that contribute to anxiety. By utilizing belly breathing, you can experience several benefits such as a loosening of your abdominal muscles, a slowing of your heartbeat, lowered blood pressure, and completely filling your lungs with oxygen. When combined, this helps you calm down and feel less tense.

2. 5-4-3-2-1 technique

Some people may have played this game with their children in the past: you ask them what five things they can see, what four things they can feel, three things they can hear, two things they can smell, and finally one thing they can taste. This is an excellent way to distract a child from a needle at the doctor's office, but it's also an excellent grounding technique when things become overwhelming; when you being to spiral out of control, worrying about things entirely out of your control, this technique can help bring you back to the here and now.

3. Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation is one of the simplest grounding techniques, but also one of the hardest for someone overwhelmed with anxiety. Rather than focusing on what's around you, focusing on your body and breathing can be both calming and help push away any intrusive thoughts. Researchers have found that mindfulness meditation may positively impact on generalized anxiety disorder and overall stress on a long term basis as well!

4. Yoga

It's cliché at best and not everyone has the time or resources for yoga, but it does more than just help with depression! Georgia State University's study wasn't the first nor the last to find that yoga helps with anxiety. Among its benefits, yoga helps alleviate the physical tension that anxious people tend to exhibit.

5. Confide in those closest to you

If you have any kind of stress or anxiety disorder you're struggling with, talk with your friends and family and make them aware of the situation. By isolating yourself or keeping these concerns to yourself, the likelihood of developing or worsening mental health conditions such as depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder rise astronomically. Finding a group of people who can offer their support, such as friends or a mental health awareness group at your local college, can help you stay calm and healthy.

6. Sleep

Adults ages 18 to 64 need at least 7 hours of sleep, and often times anxiety can distract you so you can't get enough. When you're sleep deprived, your overall mood and level of anxiety worsen. If you feel anxious, use that hour between classes to take a quick nap.

7. Get moving

Not everyone has the time (or motivation) to work out on an elliptical for 2 hours at a time, but a 10 minute walk every day can help temporarily alleviate your anxiety. Not only does exercise help improve your sleep, but it provides other benefits such as reducing cortisol levels that worsen anxiety and releasing endorphins.

8. Volunteer

Though it sounds counter-intuitive, volunteering is a great way to both help others and relieve stress. Though little research has been conducted, it is theorized that volunteering may increase happiness and decrease stress and anxiety.

9. Chew gum

Simple as it is, chewing gum can relieve both anxiety and depression. On top of that, the harder you chew the more stress you relieve!

10. Laugh

It's hard to find something to laugh at while you're anxious, but pulling up your favorite comedian or chatting with your neighbor's five year-old may help more than you think. Laughing reduces cortisol, the chemical responsible for your "fight or flight" response, and soothes muscle tension so that you can relax more easily. Not only will you feel better emotionally, but your body will thank you in the long run!

Remember that these techniques are only a short-term fix and you may have to use two or more in conjunction with one another — or they may not work for you at all; if you are experiencing prolonged anxiety or stress, seeking out the help of a therapist may be beneficial. Just like you'd see a doctor for a broken leg, your mental health is of paramount importance to your daily living.

Cover Image Credit:

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A list Of 15 Inspiring Words That Mean So Much

A single word can mean a lot.
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Positivity is so important in life. A lot of times we always go to quotes for empowerment but I have realized that just one word can be just as powerful. Here is a list of inspiring words.

1. Worthy

Realizing your self-worth is important. Self-worth can really make or break a persons personality. Always know that you are worthy of respect. And also, never compare yourself to others.

2. Courage

Be courageous in life. Life has so many opportunities so do not be scared to grasp any opportunity that comes your way. You have the ability to do anything you have your heart and mind set to do, even the things that frighten you.

3. Enough

When you are feeling down and feeling that nothing you do is ever good enough, know that you are more than enough. And yes there is always room for improvement but when it comes to my self-worth I always have to remind myself that I am enough.

4. Blessed

Be thankful. A lot of times we forget how blessed we are. We focus so much on stress and the bad things that are going on in our lives that we tend to forget all of the beautiful things we have in life.

5. Focus

Focus on your goals, focus on positive things, and focus on the ones you love. Do not focus on things that will keep you from not reaching your goals and people that do not have good intentions for your life.

6. Laugh

Laughing is one of the best forms of medicine. Life is truly better with laughter.

7. Warrior

Through the good and the bad you are a warrior. Be strong, soldier.

8. Seek

Seek new things. Allow yourself to grow in life. Do not just be stuck.

9. Faith

During the bad times, no matter the circumstances, have faith that everything will be all right.

10. Live

Start living because life is honestly way too short. Live life the way you want to live. Do not let anyone try to control you.

11. Enjoy

Enjoy everything that life has to offer. Enjoy even the littlest of things because, as I said before, life is short. And plus, there is no time to live life with regrets.

12. Believe

Believe in yourself and never stop. Believing in yourself brings so many blessings and opportunities in your life.

13. Serendipity

A lot of times we look for things to fill an empty void that we have. Usually what we are looking for comes when we are not looking at all. Your serendipity will come.

14. Create

Share your ideas with the world. Creativity brings change to your life. However you chose to use your creativity do not be scared to show your intelligence, talent, and passion.

15. Love

The world is already full of so much hate, so love unconditionally with all your heart.

Cover Image Credit: Tanveer Naseer

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Better Not Bitter

"Let your past make you better, not bitter."

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After completing my junior year at Iowa State, I have found myself reflecting on a lot of the experiences and people who have helped me get to the point I am at today. Family obviously comes to mind, followed by my friends, my sorority sisters, my boyfriend, my professors, and my mentors. I am able to contribute a lot of my success to their support and compassion that they have shown me throughout my past three years. I am also able to contribute my success to the woman I have grown to be and to the woman I have always wanted to be. You see, three years ago, the woman I was was buried in a toxic relationship that didn't allow me to flourish into the woman I was striving to be.

Let me take a step back, this article is not meant to bash the person who it is about. In fact, it's more of a thank you. Because you see, without him letting go of me, I would have never taken the leaps and bounds out of my comfort zone to become the woman I am so damn proud to be today. This is also not meant to say that I am I glad I was in such a toxic relationship, it was honestly so terrible that I wouldn't wish it upon anyone but I am in fact, thankful. I learned more from that relationship that I have in anything else in my life.

First, I learned to be a fighter, and not in a bad way. I learned to stand up for myself and what I believe in. I have become vocal about my passions and stand up for people when they are treated wrong. I no longer let people walk all over me, but rather I stand my ground firmly and confidently. Thank you.

Second, I learned to be fierce. Fierce in love, kindness, compassion, and willpower. I believe in my abilities and the things I am able to accomplish if I set my mind to something. I have learned that in being fierce, there is absolutely no time to doubt myself which has worked greatly in my favor. I learned that demanding respect in all relationships I have formed has been about me making the decision to make myself a priority and learning to never settle for any less than I deserve, ever again. Thank you.

Third, I learned compassion. I learned to be kind to the other woman, and mostly, to the person who chose to hurt me. It took everything in me to remain kind while I was being hurt, but I am so thankful that I stayed true to the values and morals I was raised on. I have carried this with me throughout the past three years by choosing to show compassion to all people around me, and looking deeper into the reasons behind the actions and decisions that people make. Often times there is something going on behind closed doors and because of that, it is important to always, always radiate kindness. Thank you.

I wanted to extend my gratitude to the person who hurt me because if you hadn't, I wouldn't be the badass, boss girl, powerful woman that I am today. I am confident, smart, loving, and fully capable of giving and receiving the kindest, most sincere kind of love. My life has changed for the better, and I wouldn't change a single thing. I wish you the best, because let me tell ya, it feels great.

By the way, if you ever feel like you deserve better than what you're receiving in a relationship, trust your gut & walk the hell away. It's worth it.

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