The 10 Best Calming Exercses For Anxiety

Woman sipping herbal tea as a calming exercise for anxiety.

Anxiety is something that everyone from time to time experiences because it’s a natural stress response.  But when you have too much anxiety, it can get in the way of living a healthy and happy life. And believe me, as someone with anxiety, I know how overwhelming it can be at times. But that’s why I’m so grateful that I have learned how to manage my anxiety over the years — not eliminate it, but manage it. But, of course, everyone’s situation is different. Still, I would like to share some simple calming exercises for anxiety that can help manage your stress. And help you regain control over your thoughts instead of letting anxiety have the upper hand in your life.

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5 Ways As A Parent You Can Help Your Child’s Anxiety

Black mom talking to her young son trying to help her child's anxiety.

As adults, we look at kids laughing and playing outside with friends or riding their bike down the road and think, oh, how nice it would be to be a kid again with no worries. We say such things because, over the years, we have forgotten that we as kids did indeed have concerns; they have just faded with time. Of course, our anxieties were different from our parents, but still, the feelings were real. As a well-meaning parent, I’m sure you want to protect your anxious child from their fears. But, you’ll want to be careful not to overprotect them because that can actually make anxiety worse. So here are some things you can do to help your child’s anxiety.  

Five ways to help your child’s anxiety

1. Don’t minimize his/her anxiety, but try to help your child manage it.

Children are going to experience age-appropriate fears through their growing years. So it’s not helpful to them if you dismiss their anxiety or accuse them of being overly dramatic or just trying to get attention. 

Also, be careful to avoid making fun of your child’s anxiety in an embarrassing way.  Saying things like, “Quit being such a sissy,” or calling them names such as “scaredy cat” or “nervous nellie,” can be pretty harmful.

Instead, validate your child’s feelings and work on healthy ways to address those fears.

2. Respect your child’s feelings, but don’t accommodate them.

It’s natural for a child to rely on the parent to protect and soothe them until a perceived danger has passed. It’s also natural for the parent to detect signs of fear in the child and want to step in and provide that protection and emotional regulation.

The problem arises when the parent is aware of their child’s uneasiness and unintentionally enables their child to avoid facing their anxiety which makes the fear stronger.

For example, Your child has social anxiety and doesn’t want to go to school. So you let them stay home, thereby reinforcing the anxiety.

However, to be supportive is by telling your child you know they are feeling uncomfortable. However, you believe in them and know they can handle the discomfort. Doing this helps your child take small steps toward facing their fears and ultimately making the child stronger. 

3. Teach your child a breathing exercise to help them calm down.

Sometimes the first step to help your child’s anxiety is to encourage them to calm down with a breathing exercise. It can work for young children as well as older ones. These two techniques work well.

Bubble breathing is a good technique for a young child. 

  • Hold your hands in front of your child’s face as if in prayer.
  • Have your child blow into your hands as if they were blowing a bubble.
  • As they blow, open your hands a small amount.
  • As they take longer and deeper breaths, open your hands wider and wider like the bubble is getting bigger.
  • When your child seems calm, have them pop the imaginary bubble and then have them tell you in a calm voice why they are upset. 

For older children, you can use what is called “square breathing.”

  • Have your child sit in a comfortable spot.
  • Then take a big deep breath into the count of four.
  • Hold the breath to the count of four
  • Exhale slowly to the count of four.
  • Rest for four counts and start again.
  • Repeat this 5 to 6 times.

This type of intentional breathing can be done anywhere and is an excellent way to give your child a moment to calm down. 

4. Be honest with your children.

It’s essential, to be honest with your child in an age-appropriate way. Too little information causes children to fill in the gaps with their own beliefs, which may be incorrect and anxiety-producing. On the other hand, too much information can overload their brain, causing them to become overwhelmed.

When I was young girl, I feared going to the doctor. I was sure every trip there meant getting a shot. Why? Well, besides my teasing sisters, back when I was growing up, my parents (and yes, they were good parents) tended to ignore my anxieties about such things. This lack of information left me to fill in the gaps, and because I was an anxious child, of course, I filled those gaps in with all kinds of negative things.

It can sometimes be challenging always to figure out what is going through your child’s mind. But if you see them struggling, ask them what they are thinking about. And then talk to them about it in an honest, age-appropriate manner.

5. Model healthy ways of handling anxiety in front of your children.

We all know the adage, “More is caught than taught.” That’s why you need to model the behavior you want to see in your kids. Because even at times when you don’t think your children are paying attention to you, they probably are. And remember, it’s much more important what you do than what you say. So try your best to handle your stress and anxiety in a healthy manner.

On the contrary, It’s also important not to pretend that you never experience stress or anxiety in your daily life. Your children need to know there are times and circumstances that cause you to be anxious. AND they need to see you managing it calmly and tolerating the feelings it brings but still getting through them. 

Yes, it won’t always be easy, and you’re sure to make a mistake here or there. But you know what? That leads to another healthy role modeling behavior of admitting you made a mistake and you’re going to try harder to do better the next time around. There’s no shame in that!

Beneath every behavior, there is a feeling. And beneath each feeling is a need. And when we meet that need, rather than focus on the behavior, we begin to deal with the cause, not the symptom” — Ashleigh Warner.

As parents, how you respond to your child’s anxiety can make a big difference in how they learn to cope with those feelings. It’s also wise to take a look at your parenting style. An overly strict or controlling style usually means expecting perfection, which is sure to produce anxiety in your child as well as yourself. On the contrary, an overly permissive style leaving the child always to make his own choices, can overwhelm a child and cause stress as well. Both of these styles are linked with higher rates of anxiety and depression among children. 

So, now that you’ve read five ways to help your child’s anxiety. Let me ask you, did they resonate with you?  Would you like to learn more strategies to manage stress in either your child or yourself? If so, working with a coach is a great way to go. I’d love to hear from you.

Hi, I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. If you would like more personalized support, I invite you to contact me or schedule your phone callI’d love to help you learn new skills to help you or your child cope with anxious feelings and build confidence to face fears in a healthy way. 

This article originally appeared on My Anxiety Link

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How To Proactively Overcome Feeling Overwhelmed At Work

Black woman sitting with her head in her hands feeling overwhelmed at work.

Are you experiencing anxiety in your professional life? If so, you’re far from being alone. For indeed, stress at work is common for many people. Now anxiety can rear it’s troublesome head at various times and places, but I want to focus on today when you are feeling overwhelmed at work. And more specifically, how to proactively overcome those feelings. 

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#1 Tip For Finding Your Best Remedy For Anxiety

Anxious looking woman looking at her reflection and wondering what is the best remedy for anxiety

You might ask, what is the best remedy for anxiety? Well, the short answer is there is no “best” remedy for anxiety relief. Or I should say, there isn’t one best anxiety relief that fits all people. However, don’t quit reading or despair because my number one tip on finding your best remedy for anxiety is that there’s a whole host of strategies for you to try. You just have to find the best remedy that works for you.

DOES EVERYONE HAVE ANXIETY?

The truth is, everyone can experience moments of anxiety due to a natural response to stress in certain situations. For example, you are feeling nervous before a big interview or when your teen takes the family car out by themselves for the first time. This kind of anxiety goes away when the situation is over.

Yet, not everyone experiences the kind of anxiety that interferes with their ability to carry out their daily tasks. For example, the type of anxiety that comes from out of nowhere, is not tied to a specific event but causes them to deal with irrational fears that cause persistent symptoms for long periods. Or the type of anxiety that is so severe that it makes them avoid certain situations. Do you experience this kind of anxiety?

WHAT DO I DO IF I‘M ALWAYS ANXIOUS?

The good news is you can learn how to manage your symptoms, so it doesn’t interfere with your daily life. You can learn to identify your triggers and develop coping strategies for them. Over time, you’ll find your anxiety much more manageable. 

As I said above, there are numerous strategies to help manage anxiety, and you really need to try different techniques to see what helps you the most. One other thing to keep in mind is that some methods that work at home might not be suitable for when you are in public or at work. 

So now the trick is to see what works best for you and to have different techniques in your back pocket that you can pull out and have ready in any situation. Let’s look at a few techniques you can try to find the best remedy for anxiety that will work for you.

Anxiety relief strategies

Create a positive self-talk habit

Many people ignore how they talk to themselves. But it really matters. You might be surprised by how much you self-doubt, criticize yourself or make catastrophic predictions. So pay more attention to your inner thoughts and see If you hear yourself saying such things as:

  • I’m so dumb
  • Nothing ever goes right for me
  • I just know it’s going to turn out bad
  • I know everyone is talking about me
  • I’ve been having headaches lately. What if it’s a brain tumor?

It’s so important to learn to talk to yourself in a kinder, reasonable, and understanding way.

So when you hear your inner dialogue start to go in these directions, pause and choose a positive (helpful) thought to replace the negative (unhelpful) one.  

Eliminate the things that add to your stress

Sometimes the best remedy for anxiety is to eliminate the things that are adding to your stress so you can invite more peace into your life.

With so much chaos and strife happening in today’s world, that might mean turning off the news or disconnecting from your digital devices occasionally. Does anyone really need a running feed 24/7 with all that’s wrong in the world? Or get caught up reading all the mean and nasty comments some people feel compelled to leave on other peoples social platform’s? 

Sometimes just making some simple changes to your daily habits can be instrumental in reducing your anxiety and making you feel better.

Exercise

I know, for many people, this is a dirty word. But the truth is any form of exercise is a fantastic stress reliever that starts to work in minutes. And it doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym either. 

Activities such as dancing, walking, biking, or swimming not only release endorphins (feel-good chemicals) but can also improve your sleep and self-image, which can also be affected by stress and anxiety. 

Indeed, any form of exercise you can do regularly, and you enjoy and involve repetitive movements, will do the trick. So go on, give it a try!

Guided imagery

Sometimes you just can’t escape your present situation, but who says you can’t check out for a few minutes and take a mini-vacation in your mind? 

The best part about this kind of vacation is it’s free! And you don’t have to pack. 

All you have to do is close your eyes and go to your happy place. Maybe you imagine yourself sitting on a beach, listening to the waves crash on the shore, and feeling the warm sand under your feet. 

Or perhaps, it’s a memory of a place that holds special meaning to you, such as a past family gathering. Imagine all sensory experiences as if you were there again. It could be the smells of the food cooking in the kitchen, the sound of your relatives laughing and joking with one another, or the safe and comforting feeling of being surrounded by your loved ones.

Another way to practice guided imagery is to listen to an audio recording where you listen to someone walk you through a peaceful scene. 

After using guided imagery to take you to a calm and peaceful place, take a few minutes to breathe slowly and feel the calm. When you are ready, open your eyes, notice how you feel, and return to the present.

“Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.” — Deepak Chopra

I hope you choose to be a pioneer of the future. 

Unfortunately, this short blog doesn’t allow enough space to list all the available anxiety relief strategies for you to try. But the four techniques above are a good place to start. I’m sure by trial and error; you will find your best remedy for anxiety. 

And if you want to learn additional ways to develop more coping skills to manage everyday stress or job stress to help you be more successful in the workplace, working with a coach is a great way to go. I’d love to hear from you.

Hi, I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. If you would like more personalized support, I invite you to contact me or schedule your phone call . I’d love to work with you to find the best anxiety relief that works for you, allowing you to enjoy life with a less anxious and more balanced perspective.

This article originally appeared on My Anxiety Link

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Parenting Advice For New Parents/ How Not To Be Overwhelmed By Parenting

Mom sitting next to toddler and holding baby looking at parenting advice for new parents on computer

If I could only give one piece of parenting advice for new parents, it would be this. Take one day at a time. Yes, you will make mistakes. Learn to forgive yourself. And trust your instincts. No one knows your baby as you do.

Many years ago, as a new mom, I was inundated with advice from everyone around me. Some of it was helpful, while some of it, eh, not so much. The thing is, advice for raising children is not a one-size-fits-all. Every baby and family dynamics are different. 

With that being said, there is one thing we parents all have in common, though. And that is, we all get overwhelmed at times by the demands of parenting. Because, without a doubt, parenting IS stressful at times. But the good news is, there are ways of tackling the overwhelm. The trick is learning how to manage the stress spiral before it turns into a storm.

Parenting advice for new parents

Below are some things you can do to stop be overwhelmed by parenting:

BRAIN PURGE

Often as a parent, your head gets filled with so many thoughts and decisions to be made your brain feels scrambled and incapable of thinking straight. That’s when you know it’s time to sweep out the cobwebs that are mucking up your thinking so you can have more clarity with a fresh start. 

To do this, unload all your thoughts that are tumbling around in your brain and write them down in a manner that is convenient and comfortable to you. It doesn’t matter whether they are logistical (things that need to get done such as picking up a suit from the dry cleaners) or emotional (feelings or worries like worrying if your toddler is developmentally delayed ). The main thing is to let everything come out so you can give your brain a bit of space.

SIFT

Now that you’ve unloaded all of your thoughts, it’s time to filter out the non-essentials. In other words, ask yourself: What do I absolutely have to do for myself and my family? Eliminate what is not necessary. Sometimes just seeing it on paper helps you to realize that it isn’t something that genuinely needs to be done. 

Look for things that you can delegate for someone else to do such as your spouse, your children, or maybe a co-worker (if your list includes worries about work). Or perhaps you could take advantage of a service like Shipt to have your groceries delivered. 

PRIORITIZE 

Now it’s time to prioritize the remaining items on your list. But of course, some things are just more important than other stuff.  

If your list seems impossibly long,  don’t be intimidated by it. Instead, try assigning tasks or projects into three categories like Now, Later, and Someday.

SINGLE TASK 

We all want to think that we can multi-task, but it’s proven that our brains can’t actually do it. We might think we are accomplishing many things at once, but it comes at the price of focusing less. Trying to do too many things at once is bad for your well-being at any time, but it’s even worse when you are in overwhelm mode. So, let this be your new mantra: I will do only one thing at a time.

DECLUTTER

I am amazed at what new parents think they need to raise a child today. When I had my first baby shower, the usual gifts were staples like blankets, sleepers, bottles, etc. I go to a baby shower today, and new moms take home nursing pillows, sound machines, formula dispensers, diaper cream bum spatulas (okay, this was really handy with my grandchild). But I digress. 

My point is this; sometimes the house can become so congested with every gadget, toy, and piece of baby equipment known to man that trying to walk through the house is like an obstacle course. Let alone the piles of laundry and overflowing diaper pails. 

Clutter = Stress

So do yourself a favor and take 15 minutes to de-clutter  the room you are in. And think about simplifying your way of life, so there’s less stuff to mess up your place. 

REACH OUT

Asking for help or accepting help when it is offered is probably the most valuable parenting advice for new parents I can give. And, no, it is not a sign of weakness, nor does it make you a bad parent. But, unfortunately, it can be tempting to act like you have everything under control even though you are falling apart behind the scenes. 

Receiving help or chatting with other parents can go a long way in helping you normalize the fears and anxieties you are experiencing. And who knows, you might have some tips you can share to support them with something they are dealing with.

So go ahead, give the embarrassment and shame the big heave-ho and be honest with someone you trust about how you’re feeling. You’re going to find you are not alone in your feelings.

And lastly, my final piece of parenting advice for new parents: Relax and take deep breaths, don’t forget your sense of humor, and know that you will make it!

Every new parent is going to have periods of feeling overwhelmed. There’s no way around it. However, when you know how to manage the stresses and responsibilities of parenting, you will be on your way to stopping the stress from spiraling into a storm. And if you want to learn additional ways to develop more coping skills to help you manage job stress and be more successful in the workplace, working with a coach is a great way to go. I’d love to hear from you.

Hi, I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. If you would like more personalized support, I invite you to contact me or schedule your phone call. Together, we can work on strategies to manage the stresses that family life brings, thereby helping you to become the calm and happy parent you want to be.

This article originally appeared on My Anxiety Link