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A Few Favorite Anxiety-Relieving Tips & Tricks From Experts

From tapping and the 90-second effect to meditation alternatives.

"Don't panic" tops the list of the worst words you can say to someone in the middle of a pandemic. It's like when you're anxious and someone tells you to calm down. It not only backfires and feels belittling, but it doesn't address the bigger problem.

So, how do we navigate these anxious feelings as more news and uncertainties arise? I've rounded up a few tips from psychology experts, keeping in mind that everyone's coping style is different. I hope these provide you with some comfort and relief!

90 Second Effect

The 90-second effect, coined by neuroanatomist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, says you should sit with the pain, the anger, the sadness, or anxiety for 90 seconds. Whatever you're feeling, notice that these thoughts are present.

The theory? When someone has an emotional response to something, there's a chemical process that takes, you guessed it, 90 seconds to flush out. When you really lean into what you're thinking, you'll notice that the thoughts will naturally drift away as the brain and body go through this process. After the 90 seconds have passed, you'll then formulate a response to these emotions which better leads you to self-awareness and an understanding of the action you can take.

EFT Tapping

Wash your hands before this one (sorry, but we were all thinking it 😂). Emotional Freedom Technique, aka tapping, is a self-healing technique developed by Gary Craig. It's based on Chinese medicine involving acupressure points, working to balance energy and reduce anxiety and emotional pain.

In order to use EFT tapping, start by thinking about what you want to resolve. Next, come up with a simple self-acceptance phrase to repeat either out loud or inside your head during the process. When tapping, use two or more fingertips and repeat five times. Some of the tapping points include the top of the head, beginning of the eyebrow, side of the eye, under the nose and beginning of the collarbone. Learn more about the sequence of tapping here, and watch above for using this technique to specifically deal with coronavirus.

Meditation Alternatives

There are so many wonderful meditation apps out there, like Calm and Headspace, that provide research-backed guided exercises. But when meditation doesn't do it for you, know that there are alternatives that give you the same effect. Here are just a few things to try instead:

Journaling: Studies show that journaling helps control and improve your mood. It can also be a way to organize your thoughts, achieve goals, and understand emotions. And now for a shameless plug, check out my Enneagram journal prompts for some thought starters specific to you.

Making a Themed Playlist: This is one of my personal favorites—start by picking a theme, whether it's throwback jams, music to write to, or have a solo dance party to. Studies show that music is a healing tool and has the ability to boost our mood—yes, even sad songs (just ask the queen of them 🙋🏻‍♀️).

Move Your Body: Whether it's taking a walk, doing home yoga videos, or even reorganizing your closet or living room furniture, moving around will boost oxygen levels, improve brain function, and stabilize your mood.

I hope these tips help put your mind at ease—remember to stay informed and most importantly, in tune with yourself.

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