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photo: iStock
When you hear the word “meditation” your mind probably drifts to a yoga studio or a room full of candles where you can concentrate on your breathing. You might even imagine a bathtub with soft music playing in the background. While that moment of zen seems beautiful and works wonders for those overwhelmed with stress, it’s not the only solution when it comes to focusing on you mental health and getting a break from your routine.

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress for the average person and finding healthy ways to cope with it is important. In fact, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the U.S., affecting roughly 40 million adults. The severity of anxiety differs for all who suffer from it, but meditation is a popular way of dealing with it. Most meditation methods consist of slowing down the breath and remaining in one position for an extended period, but there are some who can become anxious from doing this. Recent findings have shown that too much sitting may be linked to anxiety and coloring was found to be an effective alternative to meditation.

Currently, six of the top selling books on Amazon are adult coloring books, which goes to show that something once seemingly juvenile is the perfect outlet to destress and enjoy an act of the moment. It’s a breath of fresh air for those who can’t sit still for meditation as well as those looking for alternate ways to find that moment of peace. With that, here are seven different ways to destress and minimize those moments of anxiety.

1

Painting

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photo: iStock

Like coloring, this artsy moment will take you back to a time where all you worried about was nap time. You can take it back to the basics of finger painting or even decide to repaint your apartment over the weekend.

2

Working out

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Of course there are physical benefits to working out, but getting your body moving also helps reduce stress. So go out and take in some of that fresh air during a morning run!

3

Listening to music and dancing

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If working out isn’t really your thing, you can still move your body by dancing to your favorite song. It will have a similar effect, so grab a friend and bust out the moves! Or pull a total “Risky Business” and jam out in your undies when nobody's looking.

4

Cooking

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photo: iStock

Beyond its sensory experience, cooking can be therapeutic. It allows you to concentrate on multi-step task in the comfort of your home. Eating your creation is a bonus.

5

Reading a book

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This may seem like your standard wind-down activity since it lowers stress by allowing you to completely lose yourself in the story line, but you don’t have to read books sitting down in one spot. You can take your Kindle as you stroll through your yard, read it on a swing or even listen to your book while you take a long sunset walk.

6

Organizing your space

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photo: Corbis
It works to de-clutter your mind and your space. It allows you to focus and flex those brain muscles for problem solving (like, what how to organize all of the shoes you own). The end result is a satisfyingly tidy apartment.

7

Being around animals (Yes, really)

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photo: iStock
Research has found that owning a pet can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and boost levels of feel-good chemicals in the brain. If you don’t own a pet, hop on over to your local shelter and pick up a volunteer shift so that you can spend some quality time with beautiful animals.