Battling feelings of anxiety can be exhausting. Unfortunately, it’s a common experience for millions of people around the world. The causes of anxiety are many and take time and effort to heal. Thankfully, there are many ways to reduce feelings of anxiety.
If you find yourself struggling with anxiety throughout the day, you might need a mental reset. Take some time this week to rest, nourish yourself, and exercise your creativity. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry – here are seven soothing pastimes for anxious personalities.
1. Forest Bathing
Research shows that spending quiet time in the woods can reduce feelings of anxiety and rumination. Trees actually release chemicals into the air that can strengthen your immune system and give you a sense of calm.
The most important element of forest bathing is time. If you hurry through the woods, you won’t reap the benefits of time in nature. Take your time, notice details, and breathe deeply. Try sitting in a specific spot for a while to broaden your observation skills.
Going for a walk is one of the best ways to instantly boost your mood. Walking reduces stress hormones and replaces them with feel-good endorphins. It’s a great activity to do outside or with friends, making it even better for soothing anxiety.
Establishing a regular time and place for walking can add a sense of purpose and structure to your day. It gives you something to look forward to and a sense of belonging. It’s amazing how much you can observe by following the same walk day after day!
If you find yourself overwhelmed by life, try photography. This hobby can help you zero in on the beautiful details that fill every day. Whether you take majestic landscape photos or family portraits, you’ll gain a new appreciation for the colour and light all around you.
Photographers have to slow down to get the perfect image. Practising this kind of focus can help you engage with the present moment and calm racing thoughts. Looking at your work later will take you back to each special location and reduce feelings of anxiety.
Whether you’re relaxing in tropical waters or visiting your local pool, swimming is an amazing activity for reducing anxiety. Although swimming can be a challenging workout, the water supports your joints and ligaments.
This activity releases endorphins that make you feel happy. The feel of the water on your skin is incredibly soothing and reminds you to focus on the present moment. Studies show that swimming for just 30 minutes can improve your health.
Dancing is a wonderful way to relieve stress. Put on music that makes you feel happy and move to the sounds however you want. Dancing without music can be fun too – try to put your emotions and thoughts into physical movements that flow out of each other.
If you’re up for it, sign up for a dance class. Dancing with other people can reduce loneliness while helping you release physical and emotional tension from your week. It also produces feel-good endorphins that boost your mood and keep stress away.
Reading can reduce loneliness and redirect your attention to positive thoughts and emotions. Because reading can affect people so powerfully, it’s important to be intentional about the books you read. Choose books that are inspiring, positive, and engaging for the best results.
Learning more about how anxiety works can also help you reduce daily stress. Many books can equip you with coping tools and teach you new strategies for dealing with anxious thoughts. Books can be a soothing form of escapism that bring balance to your life.
Studies and experience show that being creative improves your mental health and overall happiness. The best way to achieve a flow state is to work with your mind and hands on a project. Good examples include embroidery, restoring furniture, cooking, and drawing.
What’s a hobby you’ve always wanted to try? You will probably be terrible when you start, so be persistent. Find something you enjoy and block out time for it during your week. This step alone can dramatically improve your mental health and reduce stress.
Enjoy the Moment
As life gets busy, it’s increasingly hard to stop and smell the roses. However, this might be exactly what you need to regain a sense of peace and direction in your life. Try one or all of these pastimes over the next few weeks and see which ones resonate with you.
Everyone is different, and some creative outlets may actually make you more anxious. For example, some people love cooking and others find it stressful. Pay attention to how you feel and you’ll find the activities that are most soothing for your personality.
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