Practices to Help You Manage Everyday Anxiety
Take healing into your own hands
Photo by Dylan Calm
There’s no easy, one-size-fits-all cure for anxiety. ... Healing is tough work, but it’s up to us to take those next steps.- Destiny Beck, co-founder of Float8 Wellness Lounge in Deerfield Beach, Florida
Months spent isolated from the outside world can take a toll on your mental health – and this includes heightened levels of anxiety when reacclimating. Did you know that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US? According to ADAA.org, 40 million American adults age 18 and older suffer from anxiety disorders each year, and only about 37% of those struggling seek treatment.
Although times are tough right now, it’s still important to prioritize your mental wellness. Handling anxiety is no easy feat, but with the help of progressive self-care practices and therapeutic tools, you may be able to cope and manage the everyday stressors weighing heavy in your head.
What is Anxiety?
The American Psychological Association defines anxiety as an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes, like increased blood pressure. Those who struggle with anxiety disorders typically have recurring thoughts or concerns that become intrusive, which can lead to avoiding certain situations and activities out of worry.
Additionally, anxiety is known to cause physical symptoms such as trembling, sweating, dizziness, or rapid heartbeat. Still, anxiety can be exacerbated during times of trauma, which many humans around the world are currently experiencing.
How to Cope With Anxiety
Life coach Trish Barillas has been in practice for the past 14 years and specializes in anxiety. “As a life coach, I provide clients with tools to manage their anxiety on a daily basis,” explains Barillas. “I like to describe it as an anxiety toolkit that they can refer to when waves of anxiety start to hit. It’s a practice; a form of training for the brain.”
Consequently, 80% of Barillas’ clientele are dealing with some form of anxiety at this time. When it comes to this intense disorder, Barillas says many people who suffer feel so much, and what they absorb externally can negatively impact their mental health.
“Some clients do better with limiting negative impact,” she says. “This could mean not watching the news all day and deleting or muting people/companies on social platforms that make them feel worse about themselves. What we watch or listen to does take a toll on our mental health.”
Given the state of the world right now, Barillas suggests sitting with "the uncomfortable" and asking ourselves what makes us feel unsafe. “Now is the time to do the work with the anxieties we have pushed away or are currently battling. This could be in forms of movement for the body – anything restorative,” Barillas suggests. “It could be getting grounded in nature, going for walks without being on the phone, or just having our thoughts around us.”
Furthermore, Barillas is a proponent of creating rituals to destress, like a morning/night ritual to keep structure that entails sense and smell. “This practice, when used appropriately, can create an anchor that you can call upon in moments of stress.” To illustrate, having a Spotify playlist or an essential oil on hand that creates a sense of calm is the goal of creating these types of “anchors.”
In addition, consider the below tips when working through your everyday anxiety:
• Craft a healthier sleep routine: Try calming teas, tinctures, and focusing on positivity for sounder sleep.
• Omit the use of stimulants: If you are reliant upon coffee and/or tobacco, try to break free of these habits.
• Exercise regularly: The production of endorphins is known to boost happiness.
• Mind-body practices: A regular commitment to yoga, meditation, and breathing can help release worry.
• Increase social activity: Utilize Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime to connect with close friends and relatives, if you are uncomfortable meeting in person.
Try Float Tank Therapy
Destiny Beck and her husband Matt opened South Florida’s first multi-tank float center in 2017. Their first Float8 Wellness Lounge facility, located in Deerfield Beach (a second location is slated to open in Fort Lauderdale this summer), features both state-of-the-art equipment and a soundproof design. The pair is also active within the float therapy community and regularly attends the National Float Conference. “We’re passionate about floatation therapy and it’s become our mission to make it as accessible as possible to people throughout our community,” says Beck.
So, what exactly is floatation therapy? The practice begins with situating the body into a pod or shallow bathlike nook filled with 1000 gallons of Epsom salt. Additionally, the space is void of light and sound, offering a peaceful setting in which to embrace weightlessness.
“In studies produced by Dr. Justin Feinstein, a clinical neuropsychologist and Director of the Float Clinic and Research Center at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research, results show how float therapy can help disconnect the nervous system from life’s constant stream of stimulation,” explains Beck. “In the process, this helps individuals reconnect to themselves, especially those who suffer from stress and anxiety.” By activating the parasympathetic nervous system (known as the rest and digest system) during a float, your:
• Heart rate slows, helping you get into relaxation mode.
• Blood pressure and cortisol (the stress hormone) levels lower.
• Happy hormones, like dopamine and serotonin, increase.
“A single, 1-hour session can cause a significant reduction in anxiety and an improvement in mood in individuals with stress- or anxiety-related illnesses,” Beck adds. “Some floaters have reported that the anxiety-reducing effects of a float have lasted longer than those of benzodiazepines, and unlike prescription medication, there are no negative side effects to floating.”
How Frequently Should You Float?
Following your first float, you will likely feel relaxed, and maybe even euphoric. Moreover, you may begin to wonder how often you must float as a supplemental treatment for your anxiety. “It really depends on the person and their goals,” shares Beck. “We would all love to float, have a massage, and do yoga every day, but unfortunately, that’s not realistic.”
To start, Beck recommends floating once per week, for 6 to 8 weeks, and treating the sessions as part of your regular routine. However, Float8 Wellness Lounge caters to members who float once per month, and some who float daily, so you can certainly adjust your practice as you see fit.
“There’s no easy, one-size-fits-all cure for anxiety,” offers Beck. “It’s a continuous journey toward healing that may involve many modalities, including yoga, exercise, floatation therapy, plant medicine, and more. Healing is tough work, but it’s up to us to take those next steps.”
If you are on the fence about securing yourself into a float tank for the first time, Beck reassures that you are in complete control of your session every step of the way. “You can get in and out anytime you’d like, leave the door open or closed, and turn the light off or on,” she suggests. “Let go of expectations, and allow yourself to enjoy an hour of self-care – with no distractions from the outside world.”
I initiated my career as a lifestyle and entertainment writer/editor in Miami, Florida in 2006. Since then, I have worked with more than 100 clients, from startup ventures to established companies and new websites to veteran publications. My work has been featured on Zagat, NBC, Prevention, The Points Guy and Thrillist, just to name a few.
In 2013, I accepted the role of Content Team Manager at an internet marketing incubator, where I honed my content marketing skills. I recruited and managed a team of SEO writers and editors, contributed to hundreds of websites and developed different types of media products.
Today, I own and oversee the operations of Block Media Worldwide, my full-service content consultancy. I currently employ and lead a talented and eager team of self-recruited freelance writers who contribute to a variety of projects.
My main beats include food and beverage, wellness and nutrition, festivals and event production, music, travel, cannabis and small
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