Meditation and Yoga are popular suggestions for relaxation, however if you have a busy mind that won’t shut up, it can be nearly impossible to find things that really relax you.
What works for one may not work for all! The struggle is real!
There are programs offered by a lot of mental health places to try and guide you through routes such as meditation or finding your quiet place. Through my counseling I have been taught a number of ways to deal with high anxiety moments:
- Ice bag- keep a bag of ice cubes in your freezer and when your anxious/ in a hyper state mentally- grab it and plant your face onto it. This is supposed to shock your body and brain and act like a “reset” button.
- Pyramid counting. Start with taking a deep breath and saying 5 things you can see around you- breathe between each, then say 5 things you can hear, 5 things you can feel, then move down to 4 of each… eventually getting to one of each and then going backwards back to 5 of each. This is to bring you back to the here and now- don’t forget to breathe!
- Meditative focus- focus on an object in your mind, or I do a single word that I repeat.
I have tried all sorts but to be honest i still struggle- some of the above are great for short term but I get distracted so easily or frustrated when I forget what number I am up to that eventually it kind of all falls apart. Also it sometimes takes realizing that you are already in an anxious or stressed state for you to even start the process.
I just started back at triathlon training after 2.5 years away from it- and that first night I was stressed out at the thought of it, the thought of being with a team who hadn’t gained 30 ibs, hadn’t taken years off, were eating right, were fast… were normal! But all (okay, not all- but most) of those concerns got swept away when I kicked off from the pool wall and was under the water focusing on my swimming form. It was almost like the water was forcing it all away- by the end of the session I was tiered in a good way and a lot more clear headed. Then the track session straight afterwards was tiring, and sure I am the slowest on the track at the moment but I realized it didn’t matter- at least I was there- again, by the end I felt a lot different.
It doesn’t work for everyone but I would say give it a go- strap on those running shoes, or that swim suite, or climb on that bike- whatever sport you choose… give it an hour- start off once a week and tell yourself you are giving it 6 weeks to see how you feel mentally. Not only will you improve physically- whether your going slow or sprinting, you may find the mental impact on you so much more worthwhile!
I would love to hear other peoples coping mechanisms- feel free to leave a comment on what you have been taught or simply found by yourself.