Anxiety has a very unwelcome way of popping up when you least expect it.
When you’re anxious or stressed, you don’t usually pay attention to your breathing. You either overdo it, taking short breaths or don’t do it at all. It’s quite possible to suddenly realize you’ve been holding your breath and clenching your jaw for ages if you’re stressed out.
Just thinking about your breath and paying attention to it can have a calming effect though. It’s not something we do very often but breathing properly is so important. And using a focused breathing technique can be even more helpful when you’re anxious or stressed.
It’s a technique that has been used in yoga for thousands of years and yes, it focuses on breathing through the nose. Hillary Clinton gave it a shout out in her autobiography, What Happened in 2017. It was one of the things she said she used to recover from losing the American election to Donald Trump in 2016.
And, hey, if it’s good enough for Hillary…
It’s a very simple trick to master and you can use it anywhere – once you get the hang of it.
HOW TO PRACTICE ALTERNATE NOSTRIL BREATHING:
Sit in a comfortable position if you can. On the floor on in a chair with your back straight and feet planted on the ground.
Using your right thumb, gently close your right nostril and inhale slowly through your left nostril.
Gently close your left nostril by pressing on it with your ring (third) finger. As you do so, open your right nostril and slowly exhale out of it.
Still in this position, inhale through your right nostril, then close it, before opening your left nostril and slowly exhaling thought it. Then inhaling once again.
And that’s basically it! You can repeat the moves five to ten times and the technique will get smoother after a few goes.
Taking deep slow breaths in this way could help you find your way out of feeling anxious or stressed. Fans of alternate nostril breathing also reckon it helps with focus, lowers the heart rate and makes you more alert too.
I say it all the time: “This is giving me anxiety.” What I often mean, however, is something slightly different: “This is stressing me out.” As someone who has actually been diagnosed with chronic anxiety, I should probably know better than to conflate the two. And yet, I know just in conversing with my friends and co-workers on a daily basis that among my generation, using the words “stress” and “anxiety” interchangeably has become the norm.
While it might seem like a matter of semantics, in reality, it’s a problematic habit. For one thing, using “anxiety” as a replacement term for “stress” diminishes the very real symptoms that those who suffer from anxiety have to negotiate on a daily basis. For another, it might prevent someone who has undiagnosed anxiety from seeking the correct kind of treatment because they can’t differentiate those symptoms from that of regular, day-to-day stress.
“Both stress and anxiety can bedevil anyone’s psychological and physical health,” says Heather Silvestri, PhD, a New York City–based psychologist. “However, while often related, they are distinct phenomena.” Below, she helps us clear up the difference between the two—and how to manage both.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ANXIETY AND STRESS?
Let’s start with stress, which typically refers to a situational experience. “It’s a physiological and psychological response to a stressor, which is often obvious and explicitly identified,” says Silvestri. A crazy day at work, a traffic jam, a looming presentation—these can all be sources of stress and can all cause your cortisol levels (also known as the “stress hormone”) to spike. You probably know the symptoms of stress pretty well: anything from sweaty palms to a racing heart to butterflies in your stomach.
But here’s the key thing about stress: When the source of your stress is resolved, those symptoms tend to go away. That’s not the case with anxiety.
“With anxiety, the internal disquiet stubbornly persists, without heeding the actual conditions,” explains Silvestri. In other words, those who suffer from generalized anxiety experience those same stress-like symptoms on a chronic basis, no matter the external circumstances. That’s why anxiety often feels inexplicable or “out of proportion” to what’s going on in our lives.
“Stress responses are hard-wired into our nervous system because we need them to survive,” says Silvestri. “Anxiety can be seen as the lingering upheaval that doesn’t necessarily quiet down when the situation improves. In this way, anxiety is the horse that ran away from the stable.”
WHY ARE THEY USED SO INTERCHANGEABLY?
Silvestri suspects a few factors, not the least of which is our current political landscape and the breakneck pace of the digital age—both valid sources of stress and fear. It’s our new norm, which certainly impacts the way we talk about it. “Our modern lexicon has absorbed this idea and it now trades in terms connoting fear, anxiety, and neurotic apprehension,” she says. “You might even go so far as to argue that there has been a glorification of internal unrest insofar as proclaiming, ‘I’m so stressed out!’ or ‘I’m freaking out!’ have a certain cache, as if such frenetic nervous system activity means someone is doing something important or notable.”
This, she says, has led to misuse of both terms, as well as a lapse in distinction between the two. “This is lamentable because stress and anxiety can be sources of substantial suffering, and they are best treated with nuance and precision about what they are and how they operate,” she adds. “Nowadays we also run the risk that someone may be delayed or miss out entirely on getting needed help because they mistake their clinically treatable anxiety disorder for a more normalized and watered-down idea of being ‘stressed out.'”
CAN ONE LEAD TO THE OTHER?
“Chronic stress can absolutely give way to anxiety,” says Silvestri. “We need rebound time to recover. When we experience chronic stress, we lose our ability to recover, and elevated physiological arousal becomes the new normal.” If you’re perpetually stressed, turning off that “switch” and finding relief becomes more difficult.
That’s why with anxiety, we tend to scan for things that might be worrying us when there aren’t any obvious stressors at a given moment—kind of like a self-fulfilling prophecy. But the good news is that there are many ways to manage both chronic stress and generalized anxiety.
HOW CAN I NIP STRESS IN THE BUD?
Honestly, a lot of it is reflecting and figuring out what works for you. If you know that nothing clears your head like a sweaty jog, make time for that. If you notice that stress feels much more manageable when you get a good night’s sleep (as tends to be the case for most of us), be sure to get plenty of shut-eye when you know you’re about to be put in a stressful situation. Being both self-aware and proactive is key.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE ANXIETY, AND WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?
“If someone continues to feel preoccupied after a stressor has resolved or if the course of the worry doesn’t really track external events, this can be a sign that something more significant than generic stress is going on,” says Silvestri. This recognition is the first step. “By acknowledging your anxiety, you can be more mindful of triggers and more purposeful about your choices,” she says.
Also, know that it’ll be much easier and more efficient to treat your anxiety if you can approach it with curiosity instead of judgment. Then, you can start to play around with different rituals to manage it: Silvestri suggests starting with common aids like yoga, mindfulness, and journaling. “Really, any activity of self-care that lends a sense of agency to your lifestyle,” she says, since anxiety can rob us of our sense of control.
But if those initial steps aren’t offering any relief, then it’s probably time to seek help elsewhere. “For the first line treatment, I would recommend either cognitive behavioral or insight-oriented psychotherapy, depending on how interested someone is in delving into historical causes or sticking with a focus on symptoms, especially the triad of thoughts, feelings, behavior,” she says. You and your doctor or therapist can then discuss the best treatment plan for you.
Either way, know that you have options—and knowing the difference between stress and anxiety is a solid first step to feeling better.
Add a teaspoon of this powder to your water before you go to bed, or whenever you need to de-stress. It contains magnesium and L-theanine to calm, improve move, and promote healthy digestion.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions.
This has been one of my favorites ”finds” lately, in terms of supplements of course. These gummies are not only amazing but extremely good. In case you haven’t heard about Goli which I honestly doubt, they are the World’s first Apple Cider Vinegar Gummy. They are gluten-free, organic, vegan, and full of all the benefits Apple Cider Vinegar has to offer but without the Vinegar flavor.
Este ha sido uno de mis “hallazgos” favoritos últimamente, en términos de suplementos, por supuesto. Estas gomitas no solo son increíbles, sino extremadamente buenas. En caso de que no hayan oído hablar de Goli, que honestamente lo dudo, son los primeros en el mundo en hacer Gomitas de vinagre de sidra de manzana. No contienen gluten, son orgánicos, veganos y están llenos de todos los beneficios que el Apple Cider Vinegar tiene para ofrecer.
I don’t know about you but I’ve always known about all the good Apple Cider Vinegar can do for you, your health and body, but honestly, just the thought of swallowing that was a nightmare, so having it in Gummies is just genius if you ask me. The flavor is soooooooo good, Oh my God I was truly impressed, it’s really hard not to have the entire bottle in one sit, there’s not a trace of ”Vinegar” in the taste of it, it’s pure glory.
No sé ustedes pero siempre he estado consciente de todo lo que el vinagre de sidra de manzana puede hacer por ti, tu salud y tu cuerpo, pero honestamente, solo pensar en tragar ese trago amargo es una pesadilla, así que tenerlo en Gummies es genial!! El sabor es muuuuuuy bueno, Dios mío, me quedé realmente impresionada, es realmente difícil no comerse toda la botella en una sola ”sentada” y no hay rastro de ” Vinagre ” en el sabor, es pura gloria.
Some of the benefits I love about Apple Cider Vinegar is that it supports healthy digestion Apple Cider Vinegar is prebiotic that helps to clean out your digestive system, it helps improve complexion, it can help restore the skin’s natural acidity which will make your skin look amazing, one of the most popular benefits would definitely be that it also helps to reduce weight because it helps to curb your appetite and increases the feeling of being full. It helps your body detoxify, it works in your body to help combat the toxins you eat by increasing good bacteria in the gut and It will help maintain cholesterol in a healthy range and are also packed with Vitamins B9 and B12, are you keeping up with me? this is amazing.
Algunos de los beneficios que me encantan del vinagre de sidra de manzana es que es ayuda con una digestión saludable. El vinagre de sidra de manzana es un prebiótico que ayuda a limpiar el sistema digestivo, ayuda a mejorar la piel, puede ayudar a restaurar la acidez natural de la piel por lo tanto hará que tu piel se vea hermosa, uno de los beneficios más populares definitivamente es que también ayuda a reducir el peso porque ayuda a frenar el apetito y aumenta la sensación de saciedad. Ayuda a tu cuerpo a desintoxicarse, ayudará a mantener el colesterol en un rango saludable y también está lleno de vitaminas B9 y B12, ¿van tomando nota? esto es increíble.
The bottle comes with 60 Gummies, that would be a month worth of ACV you can take 2-3 daily but honestly, I must confess that in some days I take more than 3 because yeah, they’re THAT GOOD. You can get yours with a friendly discount using the code: BEAUTYLEEBAR enjoy you guys, I have no doubt you’ll be hooked and will love them as much as I do!
La botella viene con 60 Gummies, eso sería un mes de ACV, puedes tomar 2-3 al día, pero honestamente, debo confesar que en algunos días tomo más de 3 porque son TAN BUENOS. Puedes obtener el tuyo con un descuento usando el código: BEAUTYLEEBAR, disfrútenlos, no dudo que estarán enganchados y los amaré tanto como yo.
Right now until September 21, Goli is giving 10% off on your order plus with my code:BeautyLeeBar, you save more on these delicious treats. Fall is here which means it is even more of a reason to grab a bottle from Goli to keep your skin healthy. Don’t miss out on this sale and opportunity.
En este momento hasta el 21 de septiembre, Goli está dando un 10% de descuento en tu pedido, además de con mi código: BeautyLeeBar, ahorras más en estas deliciosas delicias. El otoño está aquí, lo que significa que es aún más una razón para agarrar una botella de Goli para mantener su piel saludable. No te pierdas esta venta y oportunidad.
Not sold? Well, with every purchase made provides a 1-for-1 Vitamin grant through Goli partnership with Vitamin Angels. Vitamin Angels purpose is to provide a child in need with a 6-month supply of vitamins.
¿No se vende? Bueno, con cada compra hecha proporciona una subvención de 1 por 1 vitamina a través de la asociación de Goli con vitaminas ángeles. Vitamina Angels propósito es proporcionar a un niño necesitado con un suministro de 6 meses de vitaminas.
How do you manage traumatic events that have happened or are happening in your life? How do you remove emotions from your brain related to certain challenging situations, either from your past or your present? How do you change your connection to these emotional setbacks, forever?
Let’s go back to the beginning of humankind and how we have learned to exist through certain survival methods. Depending on the life situation, it can either take your body into a state of “danger” or a state of “safe.” Let’s go even deeper. The autonomic nervous system is controlled by the vagus nerve, which begins in the brain and goes all the way down and throughout the endocrine system, bonding all of your organs together. Your autonomic nervous system functions aren’t consciously controlled, such as heart rate, breathing, and digestion. It is divided into two halves: the parasympathetic, or “safe” and calm resting state, and sympathetic, the “fight or flight” danger mode.
When you find yourself in a stressful situation, the vagus nerve sends electrical currents down your spine, stimulating a response of fight or flight, where you resist forcibly or run away. In today’s world, you would be stunned at how much time you and even your children spend in the fight-or-flight mode. But it’s possible to manage your central nervous system so that you can disconnect your emotional attachments to certain stressful or traumatic situations. You can control your emotional-brain-body connection.
Havening is a psycho-sensory therapy technique (a mind-body connection) that’s easy to use every day of the week. In just a few minutes, it can change your brainwave state so that you can disconnect the emotions that are stuck in your brain related to certain traumatic and stressful events.
Here’s how it works. First, identify the stressful event. Then, identify your emotions attached to that event (you can even write this down). Then, create an affirmation that will help disconnect your emotions from the challenging situation, such as, “I am calm, I am at peace, I am safe,” “I am open to being compassionate,” “I am hopeful,” “I open my heart to friendship,” or “I open my mind to learning.” Then find a quiet, out-of-the-way space, sitting or standing, and close your eyes. Next, bend your arms at the elbows and cross them in front of you. Resting the palm of each hand on the opposing shoulder, gently stroke your arm, starting at your shoulder down to your elbow. When you have reached your elbow, raise your hands back to your shoulders and repeat this stroking motion, all the while repeating to yourself or out loud your affirmation or mantra. Do this for five to seven minutes.
Once you have completed your session of this relaxation therapy method, open your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and then make your evaluation. Ask yourself, “Do I still have emotions attached to this stressful event? Have I moved away from the unlikely event toward the life outcome that I want?” To no surprise, you will discover that not only have you immediately had a positive change in your physiological (body) state but that you no longer have certain negative emotions attached to the situation—they will have all but gone away.
This sensory relaxation technique relieves a tremendous amount of life stressors, such as learning disabilities, depression associated with traumatic events, autism, insomnia, high blood pressure, and auditory hypersensitivity.
Always remember your values, strengths, and skills. In doing this technique, you will remember the kind of person that you want to be and how you choose to respond to current challenges or stressful traumatic memories.
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In these times, Kate offers virtual sound-healing sessions on Instagram at House of Profound, and as a Reiki Master, she is also able to offer distance healing. Additionally, she holds certificates as an Integrative Nutrition Coach and in kundalini and astrology. Visit her website and follow her on Instagram for more information.
The content provided in this article is provided for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice and consultation, including professional medical advice and consultation; it is provided with the understanding that BeautyLeeBar, LLC is not engaged in the provision or rendering of medical advice or services. The opinions and content included in the article are the views of the author only, and BeautyLeeBar does not endorse or recommend any such content or information, or any product or service mentioned in the article. You understand and agree that BeautyLeeBar shall not be liable for any claim, loss, or damage arising out of the use of, or reliance upon any content or information in the article.