Calming anxiety in 3 minutes
I have decided to discover a method for calming anxiety in 3 minutes. And I think I just did. I have been trying it since the beginning of the year, and I cannot recommend it enough. Today I will share it with you in hopes it will help you as much as it is helping me.
It is my main goal for 2021 to be calmer and slow down. To achieve this goal, I have started implementing small habits into my daily routine. And this is how I have developed this technique.
Why do you need it?
We all have to deal with stress and anxiety regularly. School, work, family, worldwide pandemic – plenty of reasons to choose from.
My main source of anxiety is my job. Because of the high workload and sometimes unpredictable tasks, it tends to become stressful when you least expect it.
My mind is smart (I just wanted to put that out there). However, my body isn’t as smart. All it needs is a lightly stressful situation and boom. My breath becomes shallow, my back hunches, my jaw clenches, and there you have it: a small anxiety attack. My rational mind is screaming “STOP THIS!!!” to my anxious body.
I have tried a lot of methods for calming anxiety. Writing down positive affirmations, meditating, or simply deciding to remain calm. None of them worked. Not even on the first attempt, let alone on the long-term. I would simply forget to apply them in those moments.
Why is this method better than the ones above? Well, because you apply it before anxiety strikes. It is actually a very efficient method of prevention. I will shortly explain why.
It is also super simple. This technique only takes 3 minutes, but you have to apply it several times a day for it to produce long-term benefits. These are the steps:
The main method for calming anxiety in 3 minutes:
- Set an alarm every hour. You can use your phone to set a 1-hour timer, or use an app, or an online timer for desktop.
*I have noticed that, for me, a desktop timer works better than a phone timer. I simply forget to use the timer on my phone. But if I see the timer tab open in my browser, I will remember to use it.
2. When the alarm goes off, stop whatever you are doing. It is important to disconnect from your current activity.
3. Set a 3-minute timer and just breathe abdominally. For these 3 minutes only focus on the abdominal breathing. As it is not our standard way of breathing, it will take an extra effort to properly do it. So focus all your attention on filling up your “belly” with air, and then release. Do this for 3 minutes.
*It is better to close your eyes to avoid distractions.
4. After the 3 minutes are over, resume your work.
The beginner version:
If the idea of an hourly alarm sounds too stressful to you, there is an alternative:
Just check your clock/watch from time to time. Whenever it is close to an hour sharp, follow steps 3 and 4 above.
Don’t beat yourself up. If you miss an hour, or even several hours, nothing bad will happen. Just resume whenever you remember. However, a lot of good things may happen if you do your best to stick to it. 🙂
I use the beginner version more than the main one, as it feels more comfortable. Also, I am generally able to be mindful of the time. So I usually notice when an hour has passed. It doesn’t have to be exactly an hour. But it is important for this breathing practice to be done hourly for the best results.
Why does it work?
First of all, try it out. I’ll wait.
You should now feel more grounded and relaxed. But why?
1. Deep breathing helps you relax.
I do not think this is the first time you hear about the benefits of breathing exercises. And if “exercises” sounds too daunting, I am here to tell you that just focusing on your breath is usually enough to calm you down. It doesn’t get easier than this. Abdominal breathing slows down your heart rate, thus relaxing your body and mind, and reducing stress levels. You can read more about the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing in this article by Healthline.
2. You disconnect from your problems.
If you place your hand on a hot kettle, you will pull it back immediately, because of the pain. But why wouldn’t you do the same thing about a situation that is hurting you? Step away. Take a break. Give yourself time to recharge.
This method works not only because you disconnect from the stressful situation. But taking a break also helps you to see the bigger picture. The problem is just there on your laptop/paper/neuron. But if you look up, there’s a big world outside your window. There’s a lot more out there than your current problem. You must realize it is just something momentary, and in one month, it might not even matter anymore. So why stress about something so little?
It will go away. Everything does.
3. It creates discipline.
This method is also a great exercise for creating discipline. If you manage to be mindful of the time and stick to this breathing habit, then you will improve your self-control mechanism.
Once you start experiencing the benefits, you might even feel like you can go through your day calmly, without using this method at all. And that is the greatest thing. I, honestly, am starting to feel this way, after less than one month of practicing this technique.
If you think this method will not work for you, try adapting it to your needs. Notice the obstacles that you encounter and search for workarounds. Notice the wins, analyze them and use the same pattern in other activities. Just be mindful of your feelings and the things around you, and find what works best for you. Be flexible and kind with yourself.
The main components of this technique are disconnecting and breathing. So try to create your own method by focusing on these two. I recommend you combine them, as for me they do not work separately. Let us know what you have discovered, it might help somebody in here. 🙂
Also, maybe it is time for you to follow the information diet. This can help with social media anxiety.
Calming anxiety in 3 minutes – Conclusions
You might say that this is just another meditation technique. But I don’t like to associate this method with meditation. I feel like the latter adds unnecessary pressure on your shoulders. That is because meditation is a super popular productivity habit. However, not many people manage to meditate, for various reasons. So I don’t want you to think that, just because you might not be able to meditate, you will not be able to follow my method either. There are many times when I am not able to meditate either. But this method has never failed me so far. Because it is just too simple to fail. Anybody can stop and breathe for 3 minutes.
Try it today. If this method works for you, share it with your friends so that more people can benefit from it. If it doesn’t, comment below and we will find a way to work it out together. 🙂
Wishing you all the best,
*If you suffer from severe anxiety, you should contact a healthcare professional.