HEALTH

How To Relax: Easy Ways To Ease Your Anxiety

  • CALM YOUR NERVES
    1 / 7 CALM YOUR NERVES

    Whether it’s a blind date, a karaoke performance, or a presentation in front of the bigwigs, you want to stay cool, calm, and collected.

    Unfortunately, your sweaty palms, leaking armpits, and knotted stomach have other plans.

    Related: Why Do You Sweat More Than Your Buddy?

    Don’t let your nerves set you up for failure.

    Here are 6 easy ways to instantly relax in any high-pressure situation.

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  • 1. GET PUMPED UP
    2 / 7 1. GET PUMPED UP

    Saying “I’m excited” right before anxiety-inducing activity may help you perform better, according to a 2013 study from the American Psychological Association.

    By verbalizing your enthusiasm, your mindset shifts from negative to positive, explain the researchers. Suddenly the situation becomes a thrilling opportunity—not a stressor.

    Related: 7 Things Every Guy In His 20s Worries About

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  • 2. SIP SOME LIQUID COURAGE
    3 / 7 2. SIP SOME LIQUID COURAGE

    Drink a quarter litre of water an hour before you fire up your PowerPoint slides or meet your date at the restaurant.

    Mild dehydration can affect your mood, energy, and ability to think clearly, which may make you even more nervous, according to a University of Connecticut study.

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  • 3. PUT ON YOUR HEADPHONES
    4 / 7 3. PUT ON YOUR HEADPHONES

    Listening to relaxing music right before a stressful activity can tamper down your autonomic nervous system—which controls your body’s fight-or-flight response—faster than if you tried to calm down in silence, according to a PLOs One study.

    Go with Bon Iver, Iron Maiden, or whatever you want. What constitutes as “relaxing,” is completely up to you, say Australian researchers.

    Related: How Music Makes You Stronger, Smarter, and Might Save Your Life

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  • 4. STRIKE A POWER POSE
    5 / 7 4. STRIKE A POWER POSE

    The right body language doesn’t just project confidence—it also tells your anxious brain to take a break.

    Power poses lower your levels of the stress hormone cortisol after just two minutes, say researchers from Columbia and Harvard.

    Related: 8 Simple Ways To Flirt Without Saying A Word

    Try this power pose before a high-pressure situation: Lean back in your chair, kick your feet up onto your desk, and interlace your fingers behind your head with your elbows wide.

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  • 5. CLENCH YOUR FIST
    6 / 7 5. CLENCH YOUR FIST

    Athletes who repeatedly squeeze their left fists before competition are less likely to underperform or “choke” during games, finds a study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

    The catch: It only works if you’re a righty. (Around nine out of 10 people are right-handed.)

    Your brain’s left hemisphere controls self doubt. That’s why you want your right hemisphere—which controls the left side of your body—to take over before a first date, a proposal, an audition, or a job interview.

    When you clench with your left hand, you effectively put the right hemisphere in the driver’s seat, boosting your confidence and decreasing nerves.

    While the researchers only tested athletes, they suspect the finding could apply in general high-pressure situations, too.

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  • 6. COLLECT COMPLIMENTS
    7 / 7 6. COLLECT COMPLIMENTS

    You’ll have more success in a job interview if you read positive notes from friends and family beforehand, according to a Harvard study.

    Related: Master The Perfect First Impression

    That’s because you feel more confident when you feel as if a crowd is rooting for you, say the researchers.

    “When you fear being exposed, vulnerable, or rejected, it brings anxiety as your inner voice is telling you this could be a catastrophe,” says mindfulness expert Kathleen Hall, founder of The Stress Institute in Atlanta.

    By: Rachael Schultz

    Images: Shutterstock

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