As you probably know, most health concerns or imbalances are connected, at some level, to the amount of stress in our lives. Stress can come in many forms and from all types of experiences, including positive ones, such as a birth of a child, a wedding or a new job. That being said, an excess of stress is not good for our bodies, our immune systems or our lives.
As someone who has experienced anxiety and panic most of her life, stress is closely related to anxiety, panic and depression. The equation usually goes like this: Too much stress or overwhelm = Anxiety. In addition, if I don’t keep me anxiety in balance I can progress to panic and possibly depression. Due to this, it is obvious why I am very motivated to try everything I can to keep my stress levels to a minimum.
Health Coach Toolbox
As a Health Coach, I spend a lot of time and energy thinking about what helps me manage my own stress and anxiety and what I can suggest to others. Over time I have created my “toolbox,” as I refer to it, of tricks, techniques and tools that assist in relaxation and relieving stress (I keep this list on a notepad on my phone). It is helpful to have a toolbox of various tools as what works for you one day may not work the next. I do not utilize all of these tools on a daily basis or each time I am feeling stressed, but I always keep them in mind and use what feels right in the moment.
- Earthing & Grounding in Nature: See our recent post about the health benefits of earthing. I try to get my bare feet in the dirt or grass as often as possible. This involves also getting my full body in sunlight several times a day and taking walks in nature or outside often.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): Check out this demonstration about using EFT for anxiety. I followed along with this video for weeks until I felt comfortable doing the technique on my own.
- “Low and slow” deep breathing: Learn more about this type of breathing here and see a demonstration. I find the simple act of breathing in and out of my belly in a deep and slow way the most helpful when I’m stressed and anxious.
- Alternate nostril breathing: Watch a demonstration of this technique here. This breathing technique is really grounding and will help center you. I often follow up this technique with another tool from the toolbox once I am grounded and feeling more calm.
- Self-Massage: Learn how to give yourself a full body massage in only 30 seconds here. I recommend all types of self-massage including ear massage, abdominal massage and foot massage. This will be even more impactful after a hot bath with lavender oil.
- Hot bath with essential oils: My favorite essential oils to use in the bath are lavender, ylang ylang and orange. Use lavender to calm you, ylang ylang for emotional healing and orange to uplift or energize you. If you don’t have time for a bath or don’t have a bath tub, then do a hot foot bath instead.
- Rescue remedy/Bach flower essences: I put 4 drops of Rescue Remedy under my tongue when I am feeling anxious as often as needed. You can learn about Bach Flower Essences and order them here.
- Exercise (that my body WANTS to do): Check out this recent post for my 5 favorite yoga postures to shift anxiety. Some type of movement is extremely helpful when feeling anxious or stressed. My personal favorites are vigorous walks in nature, yoga or kickboxing. The important part is to do exercise that you body is craving and wants to do.
A Side Note
It is important to remember that many of these techniques are meant to be used for prevention and may not necessarily stop a panic attack or intense anxiety in its’ tracks. I find that many of these tools alone or in combination with each other do ease panic and anxiety in the moment; however, I view these tools as opportunities to prevent my anxious sensations from become so intense that they trigger a panic attack. They aren’t magic or a quick fix, but they can be enormously helpful, especially if used consistently.
For Further Help
If you find that you are using these techniques regularly and you are unable to see any relief, I encourage you to take a look at your lifestyle and habits and see if there are ways that you can slow down a bit and nurture yourself. Can you make more space in your life for alone time to journal, read, meditate, pray, cook, garden or whatever fills you with calm and peace? It is necessary for all of us to make time for creativity, fun, and down time.
In addition, if you need further support please seek out a professional and licensed therapist that specializes in anxiety, panic and depression.
Good luck on your journey and be gentle with yourself!