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Effective Mindfulness Activities for Stress and Anxiety

Effective Mindfulness Activities for Stress and Anxiety

Some of the more undesirable feelings we can have as humans are sadness, worry, tension, stress, and anxiety. This can be caused by a number of reasons and lately, there seems to have been a surge in the number of people feeling additional stress and anxiety, and for good reason. The global pandemic caused by the coronavirus outbreak in December has taken lives globally and countries all over the world are continuing to deal with the repercussions of Covid-19. Moreover, protests against police brutality and political unrest has added to the challenge of dealing with the pandemic. All of these are valid reasons for feeling a little more stressed out and anxious than usual. However, maintaining good mental health is also key to overall wellness. While health authorities are encouraging the use of cloth face masks when stepping out to help slow the spread of coronavirus in communities and encouraging maintaining a healthy lifestyle even while in quarantine, it’s easy to overlook one’s mental health. To kickstart the week, we’re taking a closer look at effective mindfulness activities for stress and anxiety. Whether you’ve physically gone back to work or are working from home while quarantining, or simply want to begin healthier mental health practices, these effective mindfulness activities for stress and anxiety can help you de-stress and focus on thoughts and emotions that are better for your overall health.

 

What is mindfulness?

Before we do a deep dive into some effective mindfulness activities for stress and anxiety, let’s take a closer look at what mindfulness means. Mindfulness is defined by Oxford as “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.” Unlike distracting oneself with games, Netflix, or other activities that may make us temporarily forget about how we are feeling, mindfulness lets us healthily address those feelings and emotions. As we are often regretting the past or worrying about the future, mindfulness lets us sit in the present and acknowledge how we feel, what we have, and accept all the thoughts and emotions that we have about our current situation. Therapist and yoga instructor Magdalene Martinez, LMSW explained to Good Housekeeping, “Mindfulness is the practice of being at ease with what is. The more you practice, the easier it gets to be more accepting of whatever feelings are present.”

 

Top 5 Effective Mindfulness Activities for Stress and Anxiety

1. Deep Breathing Exercise

One of the most basic and probably the easiest mindfulness exercises for stress and anxiety is breathing. Breathing is at the core of our existence: we breathe to live. So going back to basics is one of the best ways to center ourselves and be in the present. Our quality of breathing is also indicative of how we feel at the moment. If we are feeling anxious, our breath can be short and constrained. To help calm anxiety, take deep, long breaths, whether you’re on your work desk or if you’ve stepped outside of your office or home. Begin by inhaling slowly through your nose, for about 4 seconds then exhale with your mouth for about 4 seconds. Healthline reports that inhaling or taking deep breaths is linked to the sympathetic nervous system that controls 

our flight-or-fight response, while exhaling is linked to the parasympathetic nervous system that has an effect on how the body relaxes and calms down. Do this exercise for a few minutes.

2. Go for a walk.

Safely go for a walk when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Don’t forget to bring your mask and keep at least 6 feet distance from the next person on the sidewalk or in the park. Stepping outside when feeling stressed or anxious can help with mindfulness. You can focus on what your senses are observing. You can listen to the birds or the hum of the city in the background, observe the clouds in the sky, or the way the trees sway in the wind. Getting some sunlight is even believed to boost the release of the hormone serotonin, which is associated with better moods and calm, focused feelings.

3. The Name Game

This mindfulness activity is often recommended for those who experience anxiety attacks but can also help those who are feeling quite overwhelmed in the moment. According to Good Housekeeping, the Name Game can help “curb spiraling thoughts” as it helps you focus on your surroundings. Simply look at your surroundings and name three things you can hear. It can be your officemate typing on his computer, the printer printing a page, or if you’re outdoors, the bustle of the trees in the wind. Then, name two things you can see (this should be very easy!), and lastly, one sensation you feel, like if you feel that the AC is too cold or if you’re outdoors, the feeling of the sun on your skin or the breeze through your fingers, or even how your socks feel inside your shoes.

4. The Mindfulness Tea Experience

Drinking tea has long been associated with better, more calm moods. As a mindful exercise, slow down your tea experience to properly observe how the leaves look, smell, or feel, and see how the water turns green when you infuse the tea into boiling water. Watch the steam, touch the cup. Finally, sip your tea and notice the feelings it inspires in you. This mindfulness practice is easy and can even be applied to drinking coffee or any other favorite beverage of yours. The main objective is to slow down and experience the present and the process of creating and drinking that beverage.

5. Take to the pen and paper…and journal!

There is no right or wrong way to journal as a mindfulness activity. You can begin by jotting down notes or writing down observations from your surroundings. Or you can take on another mindfulness exercise, such as writing a gratitude list. A gratitude list can help you become more aware of the things you may have been taking for granted lately (such as having the opportunity to work from home during the pandemic, or having friends and family safe and healthy during these trying times). According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, journaling can also provide several benefits to those who regularly practice it. Some benefits include the fact that journaling can help you identify negative thoughts and behaviors and identify what causes your stress and anxiety. It can also help reduce stress and manage your anxiety, fears, and other concerns.

 

Mindfulness Must-haves in 2020

1. Good Days Start With Gratitude: A 52 Week Guide To Cultivate An Attitude Of Gratitude (Gratitude Journal)

A self-exploration journal designed to focus on thankfulness, this gratitude journal features weekly spreads with inspirational quotes, space to write 3 things you are thankful for each day of the week, and a weekly checkpoint. Great for changing your mindset and focusing on the good things in life, big or small! Shop at Amazon.

 

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2. Edens Garden Anxiety Ease Essential Oil Synergy Blend

Soothe unease and unwanted stress with Edens Garden Anxiety Ease Essential Oil, which features a sweet, citrusy aroma from a blend of sweet orange, ylang ylang, and lemongrass. It helps calm your nerves and feelings of clarity and confidence. It comes in a convenient roll-on so you can apply it anytime and anywhere. Shop at Amazon.

3. Calm the F*ck Down: An Irreverent Adult Coloring Book by Sasha O’Hara

This adults-only coloring book features 12 single sided adult coloring pages and 2 color test pages with irreverent illustrations and complex details that are fun to color in, especially when you’re trying to de-stress and calm down. Discover fun abstract doodles, animals, people, and fairies, and sassy quips such as “”Home is where the vodka is”, “Suck it up buttercup” and “Dance like no one attractive is watching”, and more. Shop at Amazon.

4. Cedar Crate Market Happy Place Luxury Scented Soy Candle with Huckleberry, Lemon, and Vanilla

Take yourself back to your happy place with the enticing scent of huckleberry, lemon, and vanilla with this Cedar Crate Market candle. Light it up in the evening as you perform mindfulness activities. This candle is made of 100% all-natural soy and is hand poured in small batches in the U.S. Shop at Amazon.

5. Bellabeat Leaf Urban Smart Jewelry Health Tracker

Finally, jewelry that serves a greater purpose. The Bellabeat Leaf can be worn as a bracelet, necklace, or clip and connects to an iOS or Android app that tracks activity, sleep, meditation, stress, and period. It is made of wood composite and hypoallergenic stainless steel. It is also water resistant. Shop at Amazon.

 

More Mindfulness Must-haves That are Perfect for Gifting to Loved Ones

1. CrystalTears Thumb Worry Stone Collection with Amethyst, Rose Quartz, Lapis Lazuli, and Tiger’s Eye

This collection of four worry stones features smooth, polished gemstones in the shape of an oval with a thumb-sized indentation that’s used for relaxation or anxiety relief. This collection features Tiger’s Eye for protection and grounding, Rose Quartz for love and the heart chakra, Amethyst for intuitive development and spiritual expansion, and Lapis Lazuli for good luck and better intuition and judgement. Shop at Amazon.

2. The Mindfulness Games

Encourage mindfulness education in your family with this box set of Mindfulness Games, which feature a variety of fun activities developed to help you feel grounded, find calm, improve focus and relax. It focuses on visualization and social skills that encourages group play. Also comes with a 12 page booklet featuring directions and extension activities that promote inner calm, peace and self care for a healthy mind. Shop at Amazon.

3. Mistral Bath Salts Glass Bottle, Verbena, 22.9 oz

This summer, let your loved ones relax and unwind with the invigorating clean fragrance of mint, lime, marjoram and flowering jasmine in this bottle of glass salts from Minstral. The brand’s  signature bath salts improve circulation, tones skin, and are delightfully fragrant. Sit back, relax, and soak up the goodness of Mediterranean sea salt in a calming bath like no other. Shop at Amazon.

4. Pure Enrichment PureGlow Crystal Original 2-in-1 Himalayan Salt Lamp & Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser

Give the gift of relief from stress and anxiety with the PureGlow Crystal, a one-of-a-kind product that combines the therapeutic properties of a pure Himalayan salt rock lamp with the soothing aromatherapy of an essential oil diffuser. Experience increased energy levels, better moods, and neutralizes positively charged ions from electronic devices with this Himalayan salt lamp and essential oil diffuser. Just add your favorite oils! Shop at Amazon.

5. Beechmore Books Hardcover Vegan Leather A5 Journal (Symphony Blue)

Encourage a friend or loved one to take up journaling with a Beechmore Books journal, with 160 pages or 80 sheets of crisp, ruled, ivory cream 120gsm paper that’s thicker than most brands. It’s resistant to ink bleed, erasing, ghosting, and shading. It’s binded to ensure that each book lasts a lifetime. The highest quality in journals can be found in Beechmore Books, which is a perfect gift for loved ones. Shop at Amazon.

 

For more stories on mental health, self-care, and wellness and pampering, make sure to check out these stories from The Teelie Blog archive.

Covid-19 & Mental Health Awareness Month: How to Stay Calm During the Coronavirus Quarantine

The Wellness Guide: Essentials for Keeping Calm and Healthy

Self-care Gifts You Won’t Regret Buying for Yourself

Men’s Mental Health: Weekend Pampering Guide for Guys and Dads

Weekend Pampering Guide for New Moms

Weekend Pampering Guide: Self-Care Products You Need for a Spa-Like Experience at Home

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