Five Ways to Relieve Anxiety

With COVID-19 invading pretty much every part of our lives these days, it’s hard not to feel anxious. From watching the 24-hour news cycle of doomsday headlines to the constant flux of quarantine orders, it’s clear what we’re experiencing now is far from normal.

But we have to remember that no matter how terrible we might feel in any given moment, if we choose to let go, transformation is possible. The key is learning how to trust ourselves again.

Uncertain of where to start?

Try these tips:

1. Move

Whether it’s getting up from your couch, taking a shower, or going for a walk, your body needs a physical reminder that it’s not stuck.

Think of a tiger moving towards its prey in slow motion. Now, replace the tiger with your terrifying thoughts on what could happen in the future, and you see what I mean. Stop focusing on the danger, and move on to something else. It’s really important to do this physically so your brain understands that a change is taking place.

So, practice some yoga poses. Do some jumping jacks.

Heck, why not even run around the house for a hot second?

2. Take a Deep Breath

Now that you’ve moved around, it’s time to take it easy. Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit, put your hand on your belly, and close your eyes. Slowly inhale, as you count up to 4 seconds (You should be able to feel your belly moving while you’re doing this). Then, hold your breath for 7 seconds. Finally, exhale for 8 complete seconds. 

Try to do this for at least five minutes every day. 

Believe me, your body and your brain will thank you.

3. Change Your Inner Dialogue

Inner dialogue, so to speak, are the things you tell yourself in your head. The voice that only you can hear.

So, when your brain is constantly being a debbie downer, spruce it up with a deep clean of positive, grateful tidbits. 

Think of this practice like a vacuum, sucking up all the cobwebs in your brain. 

And when all else fails, remember the words a wise therapist once said – “What you’re feeling is real, but it may not be true.”

4. Laugh

I learned the importance of this many moons ago when one of my boyfriends at the time saw me frantically reading a self-help book and pulled up a funny YouTube video on his phone for me to watch. 

“Hey, check this out,” he said with a smile. 

Guess what happened next? I laughed. It was like pouring a magical elixir on my thoughts – suddenly everything started to look a little rosier.

By doing this you’re consciously moving your brain to a lighter head space. And when your brain is in chill mode, your body will be, too.

5. Create

Have you ever started drawing or writing and suddenly forgot all the nagging things you were thinking about? 

There’s something pretty extraordinary about art and the very act of creation in itself. From dance, to music, painting, or even acting, there’s endless ways to express yourself.

In fact, studies show that after making pretty much anything, our cortisol levels are drastically reduced. 

What’s cortisol?

Well, it’s a harmful substance our body creates whenever it’s in a stressful situation. Too much of it can increase your blood pressure, decrease your sex drive, and even give you type 2 diabetes if it’s not kept in check.

So, pull out that easel board and conjure up your inner Rembrant. Find that guitar you buried under the bed and make some tunes. Write the novel you keep putting off. Dance your heart out to some of your favorite tunes.

Don’t worry about making the next masterpiece. Just do it.  

Remember, anxiety is something that can only be tackled on a day-to-day basis. Healing takes time. Every step forward, no matter how small, is always a win. 

Trust me, you got this. 

Living in the Digital Age

Connection two persons

In a world permeated by technology, it’s hard not to become immersed in it. The patterns we create in our brains become habits, and the habits become our lives.  And in 2018, it’s hard to think of life without the great worldwide web. I don’t know about you, but whenever I think about the fact that the majority of my time is spent looking at a screen and pressing buttons, I freak out and have a mini-meltdown.

According to most, I’m considered a “millennial,”  – a term I have never been quite comfortable with as I have lived half of my life with technology, and the other half , without it.

I was born in 1981, back when the internet was still a pipe dream, and the only kind of media people knew about were the newspapers and reporters on TV.

As a teenager in the 1990’s, the only interaction I had with the internet was when I was in high school and hogged my parent’s phone line with AOL’s dial-up internet. I was never on the internet for very long, though as my mom or dad, twenty minutes after logging in, would yell out from the living room, “Honey, I have to use the phone – only five more minutes, okay?”

In 2002, I studied advertising, as a college student in New York City, and read about a new thing in the industry they were calling, “interactive television.” At the time I thought it was a nutty idea and privately doubted the possibility of it ever becoming a reality.  But with the rise of the internet and its seemingly endless possibilities, we now pretty much have interactive television  with streaming media channels like Netflix, Hulu, Roku, and Amazon Prime, among many more.

But despite all the technological advances of the digital age, none of it has lived up to my childhood fantasies. When I was little, I always imagined that my adult life would be like “The Jetsons.” Who doesn’t want a robot maid and flying cars? So as much as I like technology I’m also a little disappointed, as it never became as wondrous as my childhood fantasies. I have to remind myself, from time to time, that this sector of society is forever in motion, fueled by creative innovation.

And I, for one, secretly hope my Jetson’s dreams will one day be a reality, complete with a life on Mars and an apartment that orbits the sky. It’s possible, right?

Why Music Matters


Have you ever wondered why you remember your favorite song more than your favorite book? You know, that one song that’s always playing in your head?

Well, it turns out that when our brains listen to music they produce dopamine – that feel good chemical we all love and crave.

Even as we get older and slowly lose our motor skills and memory, we still recognize our favorite tune the minute we hear it. This is because listening to music pretty much uses almost every aspect of our brain – from the hippocampus to the nervous system, as well as our auditory cortex, among many, many more. Think of it like this – if every part of your brain was hooked up to wires, they would light up an electrical storm the minute you started listening to a song you like. Pretty cool, huh?

What’s even more mesmerizing, though, is that people with severe brain damage can still enjoy listening to music just as much as anyone else. For instance, I met an elderly lady who had such severe dementia that when she talked her words came out all muffled and jumbled. But when she heard one of her favorite Motown songs she immediately started dancing and singing to the song in perfect enunciation. It was mind blowing, to say the least.

Music is pretty powerful, to say the least. Listening to certain kinds of music can even reduce anxiety, improve your mood and lower your blood pressure, among many other things.

Studies have shown that people who play an instrument activated more neuron communication throughout both the right and left sides of the brain, aiding in learning new skills, motor skills, verbal and non-verbal reasoning and even a better memory!

So, the next time you hear that song playing in your head, remember to relish the moment as your brain is most likely in seventh heaven, since it is now able to use every single tool it has up there.

Good times, indeed.