How I Reduce Stress + Anxiety
This year for me has been filled with it's share of stress and anxiety. I personally never knew that I suffered from anxiety until a few months ago. I didn't know what this feeling was but I knew whenever I felt like I had a lot of things to do in one day, or I have something important to complete by a certain deadline, this feeling would come over me. I wasn't sure what the feeling was, until I realized that it was actually anxiety. Stress on top of anxiety is something that just does NOT FEEL GOOD. It's an uneasy feeling, and who wants to feel that way? Not me. So here are a few things that I do to combat/deal with stress and anxiety.
I love to pull out my paint brushes and a canvas or some sketch paper and just create something. Sometimes I will have something specific I want to create in mind, and other times I will just freestyle something.
I love Color Theory, so one of my favorite things to do is mix my own colors. The only colors of paint that I own are: Red, Blue, Yellow, White & Umber. I use the primary colors to create any color in the spectrum that I want and I will use the white and brown to change the tone/shade of each color.
I connect with nature:
Although I do not watch TV much, I spend so much time online and on social media. This can cause me to have some anxiety just due to the fact that I am consuming so much information that may be good or bad. I know that once this feeling comes over me, it is time for me to unplug from the matrix and connect with mother earth.
I have been fortunate enough to live in some cities that have beautiful spots for me to connect with nature. Some of my favorite things to do when I was living in the South (Alabama & Georgia) were to go hiking. Taking a walk in the mountains and just sitting on a cliff looking out into the unknown. Or even finding a running spring of water and taking my shoes and socks off and just walking on the rocks. Living on the coast has taught me to connect with water more. I lived in Miami for 1 year and now I live in Los Angeles, so I am so close to some amazing bodies of water. So taking a long walk on the beach and just sitting in the sand brings me great joy.
I am a Taurus, an earth sign, so it makes sense that I feel grounded when I physically connect with the earth.
I cook something that I have never made:
Cooking has been a stress reliever for me since I was a little girl. I would go in the kitchen and try to recreate meals that my parents made for me. And most recently I have started cooking different cuisines that I think may be challenging, and I feel a great sense of relaxation when I share my food with others and they are in love with my meals.
That feeling is amazing.
I listen to healing music:
There is a thing called "sound healing". Using healing sound frequencies to bring our bodies and our nervous system back to balance. It brings an overall sense of peace and relaxation.
When I was living in Miami on South Beach I would work at the Cafe called Plant Theory and they had a singing bowl. I had never actually used one until one of the workers at the cafe showed me how it worked. once I heard the sound and the vibrations from the bowl, I was so amazed at how peaceful I felt. I am looking to purchase one in the near future.
For now I love listening to soothing music, revolutionary hip hop, and concentration music. Some artist I am listening to at the moment when I want to relax are: Erykah Badu, India Arie, Andre 3000, Translee, Kid Cudi, Frank Ocean, Solange & Kanye West.
I exercise & do yoga:
Exercising regularly is amazing for reducing stress & anxiety. My grandmother would always tell me "When you look better, you feel better!"
I have been practicing yoga on and off since 2010, but regularly for the past 2 years. At first I honestly just wanted to become more flexible and I heard Yoga and Pilates can help with that. It wasn't until 2015 that I took my practice seriously. Really understanding the meditation portion of my practice.
Yoga is one of the best exercises you can do to help reduce stress and anxiety because it tones the body while calming and centering the mind. It allows us to meditate and focus on the breath. Deep breathing is so beneficial for us so take some time out of your day to focus on your breath at least once, you will feel a difference.
I eat healthy:
This may be one of the most important factors. Our gut has been nicknamed as our "second brain" and it manufactures around 95% of our body's serotonin which is considered a natural mood stabilizer, our "happy hormone".
I had no idea that what you consume can actually alter your overall mood. As I get older, my body has actually been responding to me like "Sorry Rikkí, we actually can't eat that anymore". Not really talking to me but I can tell that my body is starting to reject certain foods, even if I like that taste, I won't feel so great after eating it.
I have started trying to eat more natural WHOLE foods. My diet consists of mostly organic and Non-GMO fruits and veggies. I eat a lot of Soy meat alternative products when I want to cut meat out of my diet.
I show myself gratitude:
Love yourself. Do things that make you happy. Dancing, taking photos, pampering myself and just doing whatever I feel like doing at the moment are a few things that I can do to show myself gratitude.