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Seven anti-anxiety strategies in times of stress

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We live in uncertain times, especially during the past few months, which have brought us historic climate changes, adversity in our elections and COVID-19—a new global health concern that is making everyone uneasy.

There are an abundance of “stay-safe” coronavirus guidelines being offered by every news network and the CDC, all of them containing vital information to stay healthy.

Medical professionals report that keeping a healthy immune system adds another level of defense against the virus. They advise us to get plenty of sleep and to avoid stress. Yet, stress is the very thing that keeps us from a sound night’s sleep.

In my mind, sleep and stress go hand in hand. Lower your stress and you’ll get better sleep. Easy to say, yet difficult to achieve. That is until now.

Here are seven anti-anxiety strategies in times of stress:

1. Meditation: Boost your immune system with a double dose of deep meditation every day. Your calm will carry on throughout the day.

2. Self-awareness: Pay close attention to how your body is feeling. Relax your shoulders, soften your jaw and release any tension from your hands.

3. Breathe: The simple act of “deep breathing” can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, offering instant relief from stress. Breathe in and count to four, then out to a count of six.

4. Eliminate ANTs (automatic negative thoughts): When negative thoughts arise, bring your attention to the present moment. In this moment, practice gratitude. When you feel negative or stressed, think of five things you are grateful for.

5. Create a Calming Affirmation: Take a moment for silence. Then create your unique three-part affirmation. Begin with “I am …” Say the affirmation calmly, slowly and silently.

6. Avoid Unnecessary Obligations: Allow time for self-care and the care of loved ones.

7. Take a Walk: In the ’80s, Japanese scientists found that spending just two hours in a forest offers measurable health benefits. “Forest bathing” has become a cornerstone of Japanese medicine.

Until next time, be well.

Lorraine Alexander is the executive director of DASA Meditation

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