I often tell new clients that I wish I could offer a magic pill that would completely take away anxiety, depression and suffering, even if that means I’d be out of a job I love. While there’s no quick cure-all for the challenges and messiness that come with being human, there are quick right-here-right-now ways to increase your sense of inner calm and stability no matter what’s going on around you.
- Take a walk, ideally outside. More and more research is showing the benefits of physical activity for reducing stress – especially when you’re outside, not on a treadmill. This doesn’t need to be a long walk in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park, or a fast walk in midtown, or the sort of walk you’d consider “exercise” and therefore never want to do again. Just a walk. Outside.
- Turn off the news. Studies show that lots of exposure to news – especially negative news – makes us feel more negative about ourselves and the world around us.
- Call someone who cares about you and have a real conversation. One big antidote to the isolation that comes with depression and anxiety is connection.
- Do something interesting that will get your mind off of, well, your mind. In other words, do something that’s not about you. This can be as simple as working on a crossword puzzle or listening to an interesting podcast (I recommend RadioLab, StartUp, and Intelligence Squared among others).
- Practice guided breathing for ten minutes. There’s massive amounts of research about how intentional breathing can reduce our reactivity and increase our sense of well-being.
Got a great tip? Feel free to email me about what relaxation techniques work best for you to feel happy and peaceful.