Driving fast increases stress. When you take your foot off of the accelerator, your brain has more reaction time, it can process all of the information flying at it in a bit more leisurely pace, allowing your stress hormones to take a break while you enjoy the ride. It might feel like you don’t have time to slow down but in reality driving 60 mph for a 20 mile drive only takes 3 minutes longer than driving 70 mph.
Batch your Social Media Time – Turn off the email, Facebook and other notifications on your phone and only check it at certain times during the day. This allows you stay in the present moment for a bit longer and keeps you from falling for the multi-tasking myth. Divided attention is always less attention. At first you might notice how often you like to check your social media but then after a few days you’ll notice that you’re not so tied to your phone. You’re spending significantly less time looking at your phone rather than the PEOPLE in your life. This also helps your attention span to keep from shrinking, a desperately needed skill in the world today!
Stop the Noise - Your brain is constantly sorting through sensory input, including plain old noise. You can give it a little breather by plugging in some headphones while you clean the house or do dishes and listen to some white noise (let the cacophony of the children have it’s full reign!). I love this app www.noisli.com! It’s a free and customizable sound machine. Listen to some light rainfall or a bubbling brook, night sounds or a fall breeze. I also ran across this song that is reportedly backed by a neurological study to reduce anxiety by 65%. I haven’t looked into the study for it’s validity but I gotta say I felt calmer listening to it. Just don’t listen while driving!
Take a Mental Vacation – This might sound hokey but it can do wonders. Your mind is POWERFUL. Take a few deep, relaxing breaths. Then imagine all of your responsibilities, complexities, tensions and worries were gone – lock yourself in the bathroom and turn on the above-mentioned app if you have to. If you want to take it to the next level, concentrate on remembering a time when you felt safe and deeply loved just as you are. Revel in that memory. What did it feel like, who were you with, how did you feel internally? Just practicing these positive emotions can set off a chain reaction in your neurochemistry that decreases stress hormones and helps protect against upcoming stress.
Explore for 5 Minutes- Neuroscience is showing that involving all areas of the brain and essentially grounding yourself in the present moment is one of the most positive actions you can take to bring yourself out of a frenzied state. Go outside and notice with all your senses, notice what has changed, what do you feel on your skin, under your feet, what do you smell, what do you hear?
Over time, practicing calming activities can bring down your overall anxiety level and teach your body how to react in a calming manner when stressful events occur.