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12 Tips To Help Reduce Anxiety At Home

An estimated 40 million Americans experience some form of anxiety. For those millions of individuals – and for many of those who don’t have experience with anxiety – the Coronavirus pandemic can be, naturally, very challenging. 

At Serotonin Power Diet, we frequently talk about how eating the right foods at the right times can help boost serotonin in the brain, improving mood and making you less likely to overeat during these times of high anxiety. However, there are many other ways to reduce anxiety beyond changing what you eat. 

Here are 12 tips to help reduce anxiety during this unprecedented time:

1.   Take a break. If you find whatever you are doing is causing or exacerbating your anxiety, stop doing that thing. If you are working, step away from your computer. If you are doing an activity with your child, walk away for a few minutes. Sometimes an interruption is just what you need.  

2.    Distract yourself. Spend some time doing something mindless or task-oriented, like cleaning out drawers, folding laundry, chopping vegetables, etc. Some people like to work on puzzles or knit. Whatever distracts you from your negative thoughts can be helpful. 

3.    Shift your perspective. Ask yourself, “what’s another way of looking at this?” Or “what am I most afraid of?” Examine your negative thinking and try to frame it differently. 
 
4.    Write it down. One of the most effective ways to slow down racing thoughts is to get all of your thoughts down on paper. This could be writing about your feelings or just making a list of things to do. Prioritize what needs to get done and let the rest go.
 
5.    Employ radical self-care. Sleep well, eat well, exercise and do activities that bring you joy, whether it’s taking a hot bath or watching your favorite tv show. 
 
6.    Get social (from a distance). Spend time, whether it be via Skype, Facetime or Zoom, with people you care about and those who make you feel good about yourself. If you are lucky enough to live in the same house as these individuals, spend time together in person. 
 
7.    Talk it out. Whether you speak with a family member, friend or a professional, it is important to share your feelings and challenges with someone who “gets” you so you don’t feel so alone, you can get some practical advice, and you can hear from someone with a different perspective.
 
8.    Explore your senses. Take a walk out in nature and listen to the sounds of the birds. Listen to your favorite music. Adding sensuality to your life can help get you out of your head. 
 
9.    Breathe. Mindfulness, meditation and breathing exercises all lower blood cortisol levels immediately during practice. With regular practice, these can have positive cumulative effects, leading to a lower baseline level of cortisol. 
 
10.  Help someone else. Do something helpful or thoughtful for someone. Help an elderly neighbor get groceries, donate to a food bank, or just do something nice for someone in your family.  
 
11.  Limit exposure to toxic people/situations. During times of increased stress, it is important to set boundaries. For example, if watching the news is making you feel worse, limit your viewing to once or twice a day.  
 
12.  Practice self-compassion, such as acknowledging that this is a tough time but you are strong and ups and downs are a normal part of the human existence. For some self-compassion exercises, visit www.self-compassion.org.
 
Most of all, we hope you will give yourself a break during this unique experience. You do not need to be perfect to get through this. Do the best that you can – and that will be good enough. 

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