Here are three things that I do to relieve stress and anxiety. They all work in their own way, and nothing is a magic pill. But, it's key to have tools and systems that we can fall back on. Especially in a year like 2020!
#1 - The "four-fold-breath".
Taking deep breaths is somewhat obvious, but there are some important keys to this. You must breath in and out through your nose. Mouth-breathing signals stress to the body. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds. Repeat.
Do this when you start to feel stressed or agitated. Also do this when you don't. Regular breathing practice can go a long way for physical and mental health.
#2 - Have a "daily-minimum".
Set some sort of daily minimum amount of exercise for you to do every day. It could be 20 minutes of walking, 45 minutes in the weight room, or an hour of martial arts training. It can be anything physical and should be something that you commit to. No excuses, no matter how valid.
This daily-minimum gives you a brief escape or at least separation from the daily stressors. Plus, you'll gain momentum with the sense of accomplishment.
#3 - Focus on the "acute". This one is harder to do, but also critical. There's acute stress. It's short term and could be positive or negative. Then there's chronic stress which is usually negative. Chronic stress is like the ongoing uncertainty that 2020 has presented us with. There's not much we can do about it, but it breaks us down: physically, mentally, emotionally.
The short-term stressors are often things we can do something about. Much like goal setting, we need to break down a larger, long term goal into shorter and more attainable milestones. Then we implement a system to reach those milestones. Like wise, what are the short term stressors that can be broken down, controlled, and knocked down in an orderly fashion?
Will it work 100% of time? Maybe not, but again, it gives you momentum to keep moving forward.
Many people, like me and you, are using martial arts classes and a community like Dragon Gym to relieve stress and anxiety. They value the support and accountability, enjoy discovering new skills and something that gets them into great shape.
Now is the time to get started.
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