Your heart rate increases. Your brain feels foggy. You have that gnawing feeling at the bottom of your stomach. You feel your throat tighten. The symptoms of stress and anxiety are all-too familiar for many of us. And sometimes you just need to clear your mind.
Feeling Overwhelmed? (You Aren’t Alone)
Americans are a stressed out bunch. According to a Gallup research poll, roughly 55 percent of adults say they’ve experienced stress during much of the prior day (compared to just 35 percent globally). Nearly half of all Americans (45 percent) report feeling “a lot” of worry the day before.
According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, three out of four Americans report experiencing at least one stress symptom in the past month. A hefty 45 percent report lying awake at night; 36 percent say they’ve felt nervous or anxious, 35 percent report anger or irritability, and 34 percent experience fatigue due to stress.
5 Healthy Ways to Clear Your Head
The problem with stress, anxiety, and worry is that they produce both physical and mental symptoms. And in order to avoid falling even further into a state of despair, you need to clear your mind. Here are a few healthy ways you can eliminate unwanted stress and enter into a more stable state of mind:
1. Get Exercise
Physical exercise – whether it’s a weightlifting session at the gym or a three-mile run around your neighborhood – rids your body of both physical and mental stress. It loosens up your muscles, improves circulation, and allows you to take your mind off overwhelming thought patterns that stoke feelings of anxiety.
A hike is another amazing form of exercise. It combines physical activity with an environment that’s known to reduce stress and generate positive emotions. (Just make sure you leave your phone behind. It’s too easy to check your email or answer a phone call, which pushes you right back into that stress cycle.)
2. Visit the Gun Range
This might sound like an odd suggestion, but visiting a shooting range is an activity that many people find incredibly rewarding and relaxing. By shooting a gun in a safe and controlled environment, you’re able to tap into high degrees of focus, precision, and power. This meticulous intentionality is something that resets your brain and transfers into other areas of your life.
If visiting the shooting range is something that you find beneficial, consider purchasing a handgun and regularly visiting the range to refine your skills. (You can find good deals at an online gun store.)
You might not be a writer, but you certainly have original thoughts. And by writing down these unique thoughts, you may find freedom from stress and/or a reduction in anxiety.
Journaling, which can be as formal or informal as you’d like, forces you to delve deeper into your thoughts and examine why you’re feeling the way that you are. You’ll discover that this process of transferring your inner thoughts onto paper has a restorative impact on your emotional well-being.
4. Create Something
There’s something extremely powerful about creating something. Whether it’s building a kitchen table out of wood, composing a piece of music, or using your graphic design skills to develop an original piece of digital art, the act of creating something reminds you that you have the ability to breathe life into the world around you. This counteracts feelings of decay and allows you to embrace a growth mindset.
Meditation might sound like a crazy new age tactic, but it’s actually a proven method for eliminating stress and resetting the brain.
True meditation is designed to silence your thoughts so that your only focus is on breathing. This relaxes your muscles and provides the break from stress your body needs in order to re-enter a safe mental space.
For best results, try meditating at the beginning of each day. All you need is a seven to ten-minute session to enjoy positive results.
Regain Control Over Your Life
The best way to eliminate feelings of overwhelm is to address the source of stress and anxiety at the source. But in situations where you can’t neutralize the underlying issue, clearing your mind will do wonders for your mental health. Sample a variety of these suggestions and determine which ones work best for you.