Tag: Minutes

8 Drug-Free Ways to Calm Anxiety in Minutes

Pretty much everyone deals with anxiety at some point in their lives, and you don’t have to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder to need a release—so we spoke with experts about how to identify anxiety (and how to deal with it).

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“Anxiety can show up in our lives in many different ways,” says Ginger Poag, MSW, LCSW, a licensed therapist at Brentwood Wellness Counseling in Nashville, Tennessee. “But the most common are often irritability, lack of patience, worrying, difficulty sleeping, avoiding certain situations or people, inability to focus or concentrate, inability to relax, stress eating, tense muscles, and headaches.”

If you’re dealing with anxiety, it can be tough to keep going, and while there are a lot of ways to reduce anxiety in your life, we found some very specific options that you may want to try.

1. Listen to This Song

It may sound weird, but research suggests that listening to this song could help reduce anxiety by up to 65 percent. Music therapy has been shown to help reduce anxiety for patients undergoing procedures—and it may even help reduce pain.

Try This: Block out a few minutes and pop in your headphones to listen to this song. (Yes, I tried it. And yes, it actually works.)

2. Get App-y

Anxiety can make you feel like you’re on an island, which is why it can be super helpful to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Some people process things verbally, so talking about what’s going on in your head can help you begin to understand and cope with your anxiety.

“We can begin to catastrophize the problem and make ourselves believe the problem is much bigger and worse than what we originally believed,” Poag says. “I encourage clients to talk their anxiety out with a trusted friend or family member—by getting out our concerns verbally, we can begin to see the reality of our worries.”

However, sometimes it can be hard to talk to your friends and family when you’re feeling anxious, and therapy can be expensive or overwhelming.

Try This: Download an app like 7 Cups to work through any anxiety that pops up in your life. The app offers free trained “listeners” who are other users of the app, group chats, and even virtual therapy sessions to help when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Even just working through the app’s guided activities can help improve your overall emotional wellness and distract you when you’re feeling anxious.

3. Drop Into Cat-Cow

Need to relax fast? There’s a yoga pose (OK, a lot of yoga poses) for that. However, cat-cow pose is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety so you can focus on your breathing.

Studies show that a regular yoga practice can have a significant impact on anxiety levels in your daily life, so taking the time to find your zen can be good for both reducing existing anxiety and preventing more in the future.

“A regular yoga practice can teach you how to become aware of the present moment,” says Lauren Zoeller, a certified yoga instructor and Whole Living Life Coach. “When you learn to live in the present moment, your body and emotions are able to cope with anxiety more efficiently.”

Try This: Using a yoga mat, blanket, or the space behind your desk (we won’t tell anyone!), position yourself onto your hands and knees with your shoulders aligned with your wrists and your hips over your knees.

With your weight balanced evenly, inhale as you slowly look up and let your stomach drop toward the floor. After a brief hold, exhale and tuck your chin to your chest. Moving gently, draw your navel toward your spine and round your back up toward the ceiling. Repeat slowly for one minute.

4. Breathe With a .GIF (Seriously)

This might sound a little redundant—hello, we’re already breathing—but experts agree that deep breathing can have a serious impact on stress and anxiety.

“Deep breathing allows the brain to receive more oxygen, activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which, in turn, lowers heart rate and blood pressure, which allows the body to experience calmness and relaxation,” Poag says.

Translation: The parasympathetic nervous system is what helps you relax, which is definitely helpful when you’re feeling anxious.

Try This: Use the handy .GIF below to focus on your breathing. Set a timer to give yourself a mini-break and turn your phone on silent while you breathe.

“Two minutes of controlled breathing can significantly change your attitude and will immediately decrease your stress level,” Zoeller says. “Even if that means locking yourself in the bathroom stall at work.” a .GIF of a geometric pattern
Don’t worry about controlling your thinking or needing to find your zen, which can sometimes leave you feeling more anxious. Be gentle with yourself and focus on the movement—and getting that sweet oxygen—as much as possible.

5. Take a Five-Minute Break

“It is proven that a regular meditation practice can help you cope with difficult situations, ease mental and physical pain, and eliminate the common factors associated with anxiety,” Zoeller says. “Five minutes of meditation a day can drastically your decrease your anxiety level.”

In fact, one study showed that 20 minutes of mindful meditation practice for four days cut anxiety levels by nearly 40 percent. Yep. That much.

Meditation has long been known for its benefits, and they’re totally backed by science. Not sure where to begin? Turns out you only need five minutes to get started.

Try This: Poag suggests downloading a guided meditation app to help the process along, or you can try watching a video on guided meditation on YouTube. It only takes a few minutes to reap the benefits of meditation, making it a perfect tool to combat anxiety.

6. Turn Anxiety Into Excitement

If you’re feeling anxious about a big work project, a date, or karaoke night, studies suggest that traditional anxiety-relieving techniques might not do as much as we’d like.

Try This: Harness your anxiety and focus on turning it into excitement instead. Research on performance anxiety in highly skilled musicians shows that those who view anxiety as a good thing are more likely to perform better.

And, honestly, it makes sense: Perception matters, and science suggests that a little bit of stress can actually be beneficial. We spend a lot of time talking about getting rid of stress and anxiety (which, let’s be real, totally makes sense). But in reality, those things—in small doses—aren’t actually the worst things for us, so long as we perceive them as good.

7. Chew Some Gum

Chewing gum might not be the first remedy you think of when it comes to anxiety, but studies suggest that it may reduce fatigue, stress, and anxiety, and even boost your mood. Of the 101 study participants, chewing gum was also associated with a better perception of work performance.

A small study concluded that chewing gum helped reduce anxiety and increase alertness, and another determined that chewing gum reduced stress-related responses in the brain.

Try This: Pop a piece (or two) of gum into your mouth. This isn’t the time for casual chewing—one study suggests that the best benefit comes from more, uh, enthusiastic chewing.

8. Use the 5-4-3-2-1 Method

Project LETS—a nonprofit organization dedicated to erasing the stigma surrounding mental illness, diversity, trauma, and neurodivergence—suggests the 5-4-3-2-1 method as an emergency intervention for panic attacks or anxiety.

It involves using all of your senses and engaging your mind to find calm in the midst of anxiety. Plus, it’s something you can do out loud when you’re alone or in your head if you’re around other people.

Try This: Look around the room you’re in, and name 5 things you can see. Next, name 4 things you can touch or feel. Then, you’ll look for 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and—finally—one thing you can taste.

It might take practice, but the Mayo Clinic suggests that trying this grounding technique when you’re feeling anxious can help take the focus off your thoughts and place it on your surroundings instead. This might not seem like much, but disrupting anxiety before it builds can actually make it easier to cope in the long term.

The Bottom Line

Anxiety can make a big impact on your life, even if it’s not something you regularly deal with. If it is—and you’re struggling to identify the difference between anxiety and an anxiety disorder—try talking with a doctor or therapist.

“Anxiety is often related to an event or situation and tends to only last for the duration of that situation or event. Everyone may feel anxiety at some point, such as when a deadline is approaching,” Poag says.

Anxiety disorder, she says, is different in several ways. It can pop up for no specific reason, it’s often long-term and not situation-based, and it can seem impossible to control—especially if you start avoiding certain people or situations and worry excessively.

“Individuals should seek professional help if they have tried to control the anxiety and worrying with no success, and it has lasted for at least six months,” Poag says. “Or when anxiety begins to negatively impact relationships, work, or routine tasks.”

Stress and anxiety might be unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take steps to prevent them from negatively impacting our lives.

Jandra Sutton is an author, historian, and public speaker. She lives in Nashville with her husband and their two dogs, and Pluto is still a planet in her heart. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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10 Minutes. 6 Moves. One HIIT Workout That’s Perfect for Beginners.

The words high intensity sound intimidating on their own, but when paired with interval training, they can be downright terrifying. But HIIT isn’t scary. In fact, it’s a super-effective way to build muscle and increase aerobic capacity in a short amount of time. Ease into it with this quick home workout.

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This routine is low impact, which means you won’t be doing the explosive, plyometric moves typically associated with HIIT. You’ll perform each exercise deliberately, focusing on form, which is the perfect way to ease into this type of training. And since it’s only 10 minutes, you’ll use the most of every second by doing crunches during the rest periods. You don’t need anything for this workout, but an exercise mat is optional. Ready? Hit play to get started.

To recap: No equipment is needed for this class. An exercise mat is optional. Warm up. Each move is 45 seconds on, then 15 seconds of crunches or rest if you need it.

Workout:
Reverse Lunge With Knee Tuck
Push-Up With Reach
Plank
Plié Squat
Dip
Crunch

Looking for more short and effective at-home workouts? Grokker has thousands of routines, so you’ll never get bored. Bonus: For a limited time, Greatist readers get 40 percent off Grokker Premium (just $ 9 per month) and their first 14 days free. Sign up now!

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31 Potluck Recipes That Will Blow Guests’ Minds (and Only Take You 15 Minutes)

Problem: You’ve signed yourself up for a potluck get-together but your cooking expertise extends to boiling eggs and slapping together PB&Js. There’s nothing wrong with that, but we’re pretty confident you can do more. And it’s much easier and way less time-consuming than you think.

Solution: This roundup.

You could be a total novice in the kitchen or an amateur chef extraordinaire, but either way, there’s no need to stress over what you’re bringing to a gathering with these healthy, crowd-pleasing ideas. Whether you’re in charge of an appetizer, entrée, or a dessert, we’ve got you covered. Here are 31 recipes that each take only 15 minutes to make (from start to finish) and are guaranteed hits at any party. Your friends are already drooling.

Dips

1. Skinny Beet Dip

Photo: Spinach 4 Breakfast

Ain’t nobody got time to steam raw beets, but don’t let that stop you from eating them. Pick up the super-convenient precooked beets at the store to whip up with tahini for this scene-stealing, ready-for-its-close-up dip.

2. Rainbow Guacamole Dip

Photo: Simple Vegan Blog

Regular guacamole is addictive enough, but throw in crunchy bell peppers, juicy cherry tomatoes, and a fiery red chili for a guac that’s off-the-chain good. Make a double batch of this 10-minute recipe—it’ll go fast.

3. Spicy Mexican Hummus

Photo: Veganosity

The unmistakable kick of jalapeño and a dash of cumin give regular hummus some south-of-the-border flavor, while a little tomato helps mellow things out. Serve this one with tortilla chips or pita bread—both go perfectly.

4. Garlic Feta Dip

Photo: Well Plated

Garlic and cheese: The match made in (stinky) heaven gets even more out-of-this-world good thanks to healthier swaps like Greek yogurt and light cream cheese, plus a sprinkling of mixed herbs. It’s like a cheese plate in dip form, and you seriously can’t go wrong.

5. Broccoli Pesto Dip

Photo: A Healthy Life Forr Me

Pesto isn’t just for pasta; it’s fantastic as a dip too. Plus, if you’re dunking carrot sticks into a bowl of this broccoli-based version, you’re getting in a serving of veggies without even trying.

6. Buffalo Chicken Dip

Photo: The Garlic Diaries

Greek yogurt and reduced-fat cream cheese go halfsies to lighten up this party favorite. Packed with shredded chicken and served with veggie sticks, it’s a sneaky yet delicious way to get in a generous dose of protein.

7. Easy Walnut and Lentil Dip

Photo: The Cook's Pyjamas

It’s hard to believe that a dip this creamy has no dairy in it whatsoever, but the walnuts and lentil combination can be pretty amazing that way. Packed with healthy fats and fiber, a few scoops of this will keep you full and happy—just make sure you leave room for the main course.

Veggie & Protein Salads

8. Kale and Carrot Salad With Chili Lime Peanut Dressing

Photo: Chef De Home

Weary of kale? Drench it in a peanut-based dressing and watch your worries fade away. There is so much flavor going on here, from the nut butter and sesame oil; don’t be surprised if this salad outshines your main meal.

9. Raw Radish and Corn Salad

Photo: Veggie Inspired Journey

Fresh corn works best for this simple, six-ingredient salad. The sweet kernels are paired with tangy cumin and lime for a fun combination of flavors, and sliced radishes add some extra crunch. With no cooking, fancy equipment, or long prep time required, it’s perfect for your next potluck.

10. Tropical Chickpea Salad

Photo: Veggies Save the Day

This salad gets its tropical twist from the cubed mango, which goes surprisingly well with the savory flavors of avocado, chickpeas, and cumin. A one-step recipe that makes a large batch and keeps well for days, this salad is ideal for potlucks.

11. Avocado Dill Tuna Salad

Photo: Little Bits Of

Mayo haters, unite! Avocado, the reliable swap for mayonnaise, gives this tuna salad a heart-healthy upgrade without sacrificing taste. With cucumbers and pickles thrown into the mix too, eating “green” was never so easy.

12. Crunchy Sesame Chicken Slaw

Photo: The Honour System

Pick up a bag of shredded cabbage to make this chicken salad easier to put together. Dressed in olive oil, vinegar, and coconut sugar and a handful of almond slivers, it may not be your regular mayo-laden slaw, but it also might just become your favorite.

13. Deviled Egg Salad

Photo: Simply Recipes

Sometimes you just need a good ol’ classic, and this one sure delivers. It’s got all the traditional ingredients, from the celery to the Dijon mustard and even the mayo—though slightly less of it than what you’d find in conventional recipes. Consider your craving satisfied.

14. Hot Shrimp, Corn, and Basil Salad

Photo: Heather Christo

A simple basil, corn, and tomato salad gets an extra punch of protein from seared shrimp. With so many colors, nutrients, and textures in one serving, it can be served as a main dish just as easily as it can be a side.

15. Healthy Edamame Salad

Photo: Stuck on Sweet

Even if you count the cooking time for the edamame, this recipe comes together in five minutes flat! If that’s not enough reason to make this salad, you can get excited about the fact that between the beans, the juicy cranberries, and the salty bite of feta, it’s a fantastic coming-together of tastes.

Pastas & Grains

16. Grilled Peach Panzanella Salad

Photo: A Simple Pantry

Not your regular bread salad, this one adds a fruity touch with chopped peaches that were heated up on the grill (so they’re even sweeter). The bowl of baguette chunks is then topped with almonds and goat cheese—it’s like a deconstructed, jazzed-up panini.

17. Summer Orzo Salad With Asparagus, Cherry Tomatoes, and Feta

Photo: Healthy Recipe Ecstasy

Thanks to its rice-like shape, easily scoopable orzo makes a perfect pasta option for big gatherings, especially in this vegetarian recipe. Joined by crumbled feta, tomatoes, and asparagus, the mixture is lightly dressed in olive oil and lemon for a fuss-free but filling main dish.

18. Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad

Photo: Simply Quinoa

It looks like a simple quinoa salad, but a closer look at the ingredients reveals a much more exciting dish, thanks to the sweet and tangy peanut butter dressing coating the veggies and the grains. Ready in just 10 minutes, it’s a speedy way to put something special together.

19. Greek Yogurt BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad

Photo: Once Upon a Cutting Board

With just a tablespoon of brown sugar and a fraction of the barbeque sauce, this recipe is the perfect example of making a dish healthier without sacrificing flavor. Just note that while it takes 15 minutes to make, you may need to allot some extra time to get it to room temperature for serving.

20. Minted Watermelon Salad With Bulgur

Photo: Foolproof Living

Not familiar with bulgur? Here’s a good place to start. The quick-cooking, fiber-packed grain gets an unlikely but delicious companion in watermelon in this salad. It’s also drizzled with a honey-kissed olive oil dressing to further highlight that sweet and savory combination.

21. “Caprese” Quinoa Salad

Photo: Simply Quinoa

The typical mozzarella and tomato appetizer gets veganized here, with chickpeas standing in for the balls of cheese. It also gets some carbohydrates from the quinoa to bump it up to entrée status—but don’t worry, the basil and olive oil drizzle keep that unmistakable caprese flavor.

22. Israeli Couscous Salad With Salmon

Photo: Two of a Kind Cooks

Given that couscous takes as long as pasta to prep, it’s just as quick and convenient a potluck option. In the time it takes to cook the grains, grill up your salmon and prep your veggies. When the couscous is ready, just toss everything together and you’re done.

23. Nectarine, Chicken and Quinoa Salad

Photo: Power Hungry

You do need to have precooked quinoa and leftover chicken for this dish to come together within the 15-minute window, but don’t let that take away from how easy the recipe is to make. Plus, there’s so much to love here: From the nectarines to the goat cheese, you’ll forget it’s a gluten-free dish.

24. Tuna White Bean Pasta Salad

Photo: Simple Living and Eating

This one-dish meal is the epitome of the Mediterranean food pyramid, packed with fish, olive oil, beans, herbs, and spinach. If the studies about the happiness benefits of this diet are true, your mood is bound to get boosted after a few servings.

Desserts

25. Coconut No-Bake Cookies

Photo: Minimalist Baker

The nut butter in these treats make them taste kind of like Peanut Butter Patties, while the cocoa and coconut give them that Samoa vibe. Two Girl Scout cookie flavors in one with a healthified bite? Sign us up.

26. Peanut Butter Banana No-Bake Energy Bites

Photo: The Cookie Rookie

Just as perfect for a pre-workout snack as they are for a potluck gathering, these versatile, oat-based bites are a wholesome way to approach dessert. They make two dozen in just 10 minutes too—such an easy way to satisfy a crowd.

27. Honey Basil Fruit Salad

Photo: With Salt and Wit

End your potluck on a fruity note with this simple salad topped with a light basil and honey dressing, which takes it from a plain bowl of berries to a dessert-worthy dish. It’s a perfect way to still get in a sweet ending after an indulgent meal.

Who needs 15 minutes when all it takes is two to whip up something this good? Between the lightning-fast prep time, the ingredient list of just three items, and the insanely delicious end result, we don’t know where to begin raving about this recipe.

29. Snickerdoodle Dip

Photo: Chocolate Covered Katie

Dip for dessert? Why not! Especially when it’s cookie-flavored. This recipe may start with chickpeas, but once you add nut butter, applesauce, and cinnamon, you’ll forget that this batter-like blend has a bean-base.

30. Healthy No-Bake Brownie Bites

Photo: Making Thyme for Health

If you believe that no meal is complete without chocolate but you don’t want to send your entire party into a sugar coma, this is your recipe. Dates are the secret naturally sweet ingredient behind these butter- and egg-free brownie balls, with cocoa and chocolate chips in each bite. Healthy dessert success.

31. Coconut Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Photo: The Bewitchin' Kitchen

Hollowed strawberries are the ideal vehicles for these bite-size cheesecakes. Not only do they look adorable, but the fresh, juicy berries are also a perfect complement to the denser cream cheese filling.

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