If you have OCD, taking care of yourself every day is very important when you are dealing with this disorder. This includes making sure to take your medicines as directed every day and doing the homework your therapist may give you to do at home, such as self-directed exposure and response prevention exercises. For these, […]
It’s easy to become more stressed during the winter time. The holidays are approaching, the sun sets earlier, and the cold weather can keep you from doing things you enjoy. Whatever the reason is for anxiety, yoga can be the perfect fix.
Here are poses geared towards easing anxiety and a busy brain:
Cat/cow: While these two are technically poses, one is not often done without the other to counter. Cat/cow repetitions relieve any abdominal cramping caused by anxiety.
Come to all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. On an inhale, look up and arch spine, rolling shoulders away from ears for cow. As you exhale, press the floor away with hands and knees, and round your spine. Do at least five complete breath cycles (five inhales/cats and five exhales/cows).
Devotional warrior: Open both the hips and shoulders-two places that tighten when we’re anxious-and improve focus with this pose.
From down dog, step right foot forward, spin back heel down, and inhale arms up to frame head in warrior one. Then allow hands to fall behind you, clasp them behind sacrum, take a big inhale to open chest, and use your exhale to fold yourself inside of your right knee. Stay here for at least five deep breaths, then repeat on the other side.
Seated forward fold: Do this introspective pose when you want to generate self-reflection.
From a seated position, extend legs long in front of you and together. Keeping knees soft, take a deep breath to fill yourself with space, and use your exhale to lean forward into the space you just created. If you have a tight lower back, sit on a block or blanket. Take at least five deep breaths here.
Twist: Erase any negative energy or unwanted thoughts with twists. With each exhale, picture yourself wringing out like a sponge, getting rid of what you don’t want or need in your body or mind.
Lying on the ground, hug right knee into chest, “T” arms out to either side, and allow right knee to fall to the left. You can stay with a neutral neck or, if it feels good, look to the right. You can also take left hand to right thigh to allow the weight of your hand to ground your twisted leg. Stay here for at least five deep breaths, and then repeat on the other side.
Legs up the wall: This pose allows your nervous system to chill, reroutes circulation, grounds you, and brings you back to the present.
Sit sideways next to a wall and then lie down on side, facing away from the wall with butt touching it. Using arms, lift legs up the wall as you roll over onto back. Allow arms to fall on either side of you. Palms can face up for openness or face down for an extra level of grounding. Stay here for at least five breaths or as long as you feel comfortable.
Materialism is already known to have a direct negative effect on a person’s well-being; however, it is lesser known that materialism has an indirect negative effect by making bad events even worse. This insight comes from a recent paper co-written by a University of Illinois expert in consumption values. What does this mean? Basically, if you are a materialistic person, then you will perceive “bad” events—such as car accidents, deaths, etc.—as worse than a person who is not materialistic.
Aric Rindfleisch, John M. Jones Professor of Marketing in the College of Business, explains “If you’re a materialistic individual and life suddenly takes a wrong turn, you’re going to have a tougher time recovering from that setback than someone who is less materialistic.”
This is based on research that studied the impact of traumatic stress and maladaptive consumption. In the field study, which took place in Israel, when faced with a mortal threat from a terrorist attack, highly materialistic individuals reported higher levels of post-traumatic stress, compulsive consumption and impulsive buying than their less-materialistic peers.
The study also analyzed a survey in the US to build on results. According to the US-based survey results, the increased negative effects of materialistic people is likely due to materialistic individuals exhibiting lower levels of self-esteem, which lessen the ability to cope with traumatic events. Both components of the study provide evidence that high materialistic individuals seek comfort from stressful situations by engaging in impulsive consumption.
With the holidays approaching, Rindfleisch warns “In times of stress, people often seek solace through shopping…Soon after purchasing something this is a reduction of anxiety. But it doesn’t last very long. It’s fleeting. Materialists seek that as one of their coping mechanisms. And Black Friday and the holiday shopping season plays into that.”
After being asked, “How was your day?” you might be tempted in the moment, to unload all of your workday woes onto the inquirer. This kind of reaction is a product of stress, the toll of a long day of ups and downs and your mindless response to these fluctuations. However, as Ellen Langer, a Harvard professor of Psychology says, “Stress isn’t an event. Stress is the view you take of events.”
There are several things you can do to reframe the inevitable twists and turns of a day:
Start the day with a realistic (and positive) frame of mind.
Your day is bound to fluctuate from good and bad. The way you feel at the end of the day is going to largely depend on how you frame your day from the moment you wake up. You need to start framing your day as something where some things will fall your way and some not. This means having realistic level-headed expectations.
More than likely, there’s been a moment at your desk today when you’ve forgotten to breathe. An alarming email came through your inbox, and in a moment of panic, you neglected to exhale. Practicing some conscious, deep breathing can lower your stress levels, blood pressure, and keep anxiety at bay. In turn, you’ll come home less anxious.
Ritualize your transition from work to off-duty.
This might not work for everyone, but some people benefit from more consciously recognizing they’re not working. For some, it might be changing from dress shoes to sneakers. For others, it might be loosening hair ties and throwing on a baseball cap. These action-based rituals make coming home and letting go of work stress more manageable.
Make a conscious decision about what you do bring home.
As much as we’d like our work and work day to have a synchronistic end, this isn’t often the case. In these instances, it’s best to make a decision about how to manage your overflow. Ask yourself if it is smarter to take the work home or spend some time at the office finishing up. If you’ll be more productive with an extra hour under your belt at the office, maybe that’s the best decision for you.
Be responsive, not reactive.
Once you see other peoples’ behavior from their perspective, don’t attach negative labels to the person. Being mindful means not judging the actions of others as one intentionally aimed to affect you. This enlightened perspective will better equip you to handle those ups and downs of the day.
Don’t just keep a tally of your disappointments.
While more positive than negative events may occur throughout the day, the negative ones are the ones we grasp to. Make a point to document your wins. This might mean writing down the good and the bad, which could stand as perspective-actualizing reminders. For everything that you tell your loved one about what bugged you, you should include one thing you’re happy about.