Anxiety seems to be affecting more and more people these days, and with parents juggling more roles and tasks than most – it’s no wonder we are in the firing line. However there are some simple things you can do to help combat anxiety levels, and even maintain lower levels on a day-to-day basis.
Exercise not only improves mood, it may help people maintain reduced anxiety in the face of stressful or emotional events. While many studies have shown a link between exercise and better mood, it was not known “whether these positive effects endure when we’re faced with everyday stressors once we leave the gym,” said study researcher J. Carson Smith, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Maryland School of Public Health.
In their study, participants engaged in either a 30-minute period of rest, or 30 minutes of cycling on two days. A survey designed to measure anxiety levels was given before and after the activity. Participants then viewed a series of pleasant pictures of babies, families and puppies; unpleasant images, such as depictions of violence; and neutral images including plates, cups and furniture. Afterward, their anxiety levels were measured a final time.
Participants’ surveys, completed shortly after their 30 minutes of exercise or quiet rest, showed that these conditions were equally effective at reducing anxiety levels. However, after viewing the images, the anxiety levels of those who had rested rose back to their initial levels, while those who had exercised maintained their reduced anxiety levels, the researchers said.
“We found that exercise helps to buffer the effects of emotional exposure. If you exercise, you’ll not only reduce your anxiety, but you’ll be better able to maintain that reduced anxiety when confronted with emotional events,” Smith said.
Control your thoughts
You control your thoughts not the other way around. Always remember it is you who can decide which thoughts to pursue and which to reject. Never feel a slave to your own thoughts, even if at times they seem powerful. But be patien, don’t expect a silent mind after the first few attempts. We have been thinking all our lives; to change a habit of a lifetime requires persistence and perseverance. Meditation, like any worthwhile activity requires dedicated and focused intensity.
Know what works for you
When you’re feeling stressed or low, you already know things that work for you. You know that if you can go for a walk on a beach, read a favourite poem, stroke a cat, bake a loaf of bread, you will be restored to emotional health.
So write these things down, keep them in a file, keep adding to them and you will have written your own self-help book.
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