If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’re on a break from doing some form of productive “work,” whether that be cooking, creating a spreadsheet, reading, or walking from point A to point B with your face plastered to your phone. If you eat while standing up or have to set five different alarms in the morning, this article is for you.
We’re all trying to make it through our daily responsibilities without burning out. We grunt through traffic, try to eat three meals a day, get enough sleep, spend time with friends and family, squeeze in exercise, a shower, potentially one of our favorite shows before the end of the day, and manage all of the anxiety and deadlines in between. For the go-getter, this looks like a typical day.
This stress also reveals itself while traveling.
Anxiety is our frenemy. It helps us get stuff done and make it to our gate before the final boarding call, but it also increases our heart rate, makes us irritable, and increases our blood pressure.
Not to mention the ways that stress effects our eating habits, sleep schedules, metabolism, and brain function. It can cause weight gain, loss of hair, snappiness, and muscle tension, which can even push acid up in the stomach and cause excess stomach acid (leading to heartburn).
What if I told you that there was a way to relax the muscles besides the hands of a masseuse?
Essential oils are literally anxiety killers. They can be directly rubbed on the skin, mixed in with shampoo or conditioner, put in foods (be sure to use the recommended dose), or inhaled directly out of the bottle or roll-on stick.
The only effort required to use essential oils is that you have them readily available. If you keep a roll-on stick of an essential oil in your travel bag, you just have to whip it out and remove the cap. It’s the easiest go-to for reducing anxiety.
Smell is directly connected to the limbic system (emotional area of the brain), meaning that different smells trigger different emotions.
If you walk into a spa, you’re likely to inhale the smell of eucalyptus as soon as you enter. That’s an essential oil used for relaxation as well as releasing of tension. Imagine if you could access that feeling on the go without a massage and hot tub. Also, this particular essential oil reduces both nausea and fatigue. That means that you don’t have to worry about being too relaxed when rushing to make your flight or beat traffic.
Essential oils reduce anxiety and stimulate mental activity, making you both more efficient and pleasant. They’ll also strengthen your immune system in preparation for a bacteria-infested plane, Uber, bus, or metro ride.
Anxiety can manifest itself in both the body and mind. Commonly, anxiety shows up in the form of incessant mental chatter and compulsive thoughts about the future. These thoughts are just a build-up of tension and energy. The good news is that there’s a way to release this!
The problem with anxiety is that when we experience it, the last thing we think or want to do is engage in physical activities because of how debilitating it can feel.
Our minds tell us we can’t do anything, but that’s not the truth! Anxiety is an energy-sparker. Movement is made up of tensing muscles and utilizing energy. Transforming the mental tension and energy into kinetic energy— exercise, stretching, walking, dancing, or moving the body— will release the build-up!
If you push yourself to engage in movement, your anxiety will be of productive use and will eventually require your body to rest. When your body is more apt to rest, it won’t have the energy to be wired up on anxiety anyway.
Movement is your friend, and anxiety may be the key to pushing your body into it. Help your anxiety help you by grabbing your water bottle and lacing up your sneakers before you can think twice.
Breathing is something you already do, so it takes no time at all away from your life to focus on it while you’re walking, driving, flying on an airplane, or experiencing anxiety during the in-between moments of your life.
Making an effort to keep 100% of your attention on your breath while imagining that your tension and insecurities are being released with each exhale takes virtually no time and has incredible physiological effects on the body.
Focusing on the breath is an extremely convenient, efficient, and impactful go-to for improving confidence and/or decreasing the anxiety or fear that often accompanies traveling and deadlines. It calms the mind, increases the flow of oxygen, lowers blood pressure, and increases brain function.
This is just another example of how anxiety-induced energy can be transformed for productive use: focused breathing.
These anxiety-reducing tools provide immediate results. It doesn’t take days, weeks, or even months to reduce your anxiety. It takes a decision, and after that, only a moment.
Choosing one or two of these methods for reducing anxiety can change your life instantly. Anxiety is only debilitating when we decide to sit in it rather than stand up to it. When we stand up to it, both literally and figuratively, we transform it and become more productive and positive versions of ourselves.
Interestingly enough, it’s not just the positive thing to do, it’s the practical thing to do. Who doesn’t want to be more productive and efficient? These are ways to allow your anxiety to help you get there.