Posted on January 24, 2016

5 Ways to Reduce Anxiety in 5 Minutes


College is stressful, and the anxiety of classes, clubs and work doesn’t make school any easier to deal with. But who has the time to wind down when you have five quizzes, a paper and two meetings to worry about? That’s where we come in. For those looking for some daily relief that won’t interfere too much with your schedule, here are a few simple (and super cheap) methods you can try.

1. Yoga

Yes, you’ve heard a million and one times how beneficial yoga is to your health and what a great stress reliever it is. Well, not everyone has the money or time to go to a yoga class three times a week, and some of us really don’t like physical exercise.

However, there is one specific pose that is really great for calming your nerves: child’s pose (or balasana, for those really into yoga). This is known as the “rest pose” in most classes, and is done after more challenging stretches. While in this pose, you can focus on your breathing and let yourself relax.

For those who haven’t attended a yoga class a day in their life, follow these simple instructions. Start in a kneeling position on the floor. You will then sit on the back of your heels and fold the rest of your body forward. Your arms should be out in front of you, resting on the floor. For the visual learners, Google a picture of child’s pose; it’s simple to imitate. The best part? You can stay in this pose as long as you like it —should start calming you instantly.

2. Coloring

Just because you’re an adult does not mean that you have to pack away your beloved crayons and colored pencils; in fact, it means that you get to go out and buy the 120-count pack that your mom would never let you have. Coloring books for adults are now pretty commonplace, and several studies attest to the fact that coloring is relaxing, improves creativity and stimulates motor skills.

It is especially helpful to color in geometric patterns, like mandalas, and to have some relaxing music on in the background. This is an activity that can easily take more than five minutes, but even just sitting down for a short period of time and letting your creativity take over can push anxious thoughts right out of your mind.

3. Aromatherapy

Chances are you have an aunt or friend on Facebook who owns or sells essential oils and is constantly inviting you to like their page and order from them. As annoying as that may be, it might be time to give it a shot. Aromatherapy is a simple, natural way to reduce your anxiety levels on a daily basis.

There are several ways to reap the benefits from these soothing scents, the easiest of which is applying the oil directly to your skin or putting it in lotion for instant calming affects. You can also purchase a diffuser to place in your room or apartment, get an aromatherapy massage or inhale the oils by using a specialized inhaler.

If you really don’t want to deal with your local essential oils representative (honestly, who does?), Bath & Body Works carries a line of aromatherapy products ranging from eucalyptus lotion to lavender pillow spray.

4. Stop, Breathe & Think

This one is a free app that helps you to—you guessed it—stop, breathe and think. It is therapist recommended, and some even use it during sessions. The app has several ways to help you meditate, and even guides you towards the mediations that will be helpful to you.

You can take a “check in” quiz which allows you to pick certain emotions you are feeling. Based on your answers, the app suggests the most helpful meditations/breathing exercises. Or you can simply look through the list and read the descriptions under each one. It comes with 15 free exercises, but you can purchase extra packages for even more options. The meditations range from 3-10 minutes, and they are voice guided. Stop, Breathe & Think even tracks your progress and gives you digital “stickers” for using it regularly or accomplishing a goal. This one is an incredibly helpful program, and its calming impact lasts for quite a while. It can even be done during your walk to class!

5. Start a Journal or Blog

How many times has your English teacher or high school counselor told you to start a journal? Probably several. Even if you don’t want to admit it, they were on to something. Writing down your fears, insecurities, anxieties or even just what you did during the day can be relaxing and even meditative. Solidifying your thoughts on paper or even on a blog can help you release your negative energy into the world—and help you let go of some of your stress.

In the great words on Anna Nalick: “If I get it all down on paper, it’s no longer inside of me.” Yes, it may be cliché and feel stupid or pointless, but making it a daily habit, even for 5 minutes (see what I did there?), can be really beneficial in the long run.

Photo by: Pixabay

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