Anxiety is a silent striker, it seeps in and causes unrest, panic and ruminating thoughts that may not be evident to outsiders. But on the inside, it can feel like a freaking circus. So, how do you put a stop to this annoying companion and sleep destroyer? Here a few of my best techniques to manage anxiety. You probably are very well aware of many of these strategies, but might not be implementing them into your daily life. Why? We get busy with work, family, errands, housework, paying bills…you know, the important stuff. Often times, we don’t value time spent on personal development so it falls to the bottom of our priorities.
So, let me ask you, Why is it important to you to spend time on managing your anxiety? How would your life look, feel and be different?
Use your responses as your motivation to pencil in time for self care daily or at least a few times weekly. Treat this special appointment with yourself just as you would if it were scheduled with a client or friend. You may need to remind yourself that you and your well being are worth this time. It IS a productive use of your time.
Personally, I don’t believe there is anything more important. ♥
Identify Anxious Thoughts
Thoughts are not facts, although we rarely question them. Anxiety can cloud and distort our thinking. Are you falling into a cognitive thinking trap? See a list of the most common ones list here.
Challenge Anxious Thoughts
Stop your negative thought cycle by asking yourself these questions.
Describe a triggering event..
What’s the best/worst/most likely outcome?
Will this still matter to me a week from now/a month from now/a year from now?
Take your worst case scenario and reframe it with a rational counter argument.
What might you tell your BFF if they were in this situation? You’d probably comfort and support them. Turn that inward.
Subscribe to some mantras (aka words of affirmation) that really resonate with you. I find that repeating them along with some deep breaths can be self soothing. Need some examples?
This is temporary. I can handle anything that is temporary.
This will eventually pass.
All is well. I am loved.
It’s okay to feel this way. I can get through it.
I am so much more than my anxiety and I have control over it.
These words are a helpful reminder that nothing in life is permanent, including your anxiety.
If you’ve been on my blog or instagram before you probably know I’m a big advocate of meditation and yoga. Why? The research and benefits are astounding to me. Did you know that after only 8 weeks of meditation, MRI’s show it actually changes your brain? Researchers have seen a decreased amygdala, the fight or flight response in the brain and a thicker prefrontal cortex, which helps to manage stress, concentration, making decisions. Pretty impressive. Not to mention, it just makes me feel a sense of calm.
Get your oxygen pumping and slow your heart rate down naturally.
Body scans help you relax and get more in touch with what is happening inside your body, rather than your mind. You can find some great body scans on the meditation app, Insight Timer.
Take a mindful walk
Get outside and breathe in some fresh air, take in the sights, sounds, smells. Stop and smell the roses, literally. Try to be in the present moment rather than getting carried away on the anxiety thought train.
I’m sure you already know this, but when you get moving you release feel good chemicals. This also serves as an outlet for your anxious energy.
Free write as a freeing way to vent and get all those thoughts in your mind onto paper. Or use journal prompts to help you be more self reflective.
Schedule a Worry Break
Have a set time to process your thoughts and get them all out. Then you have to do something after your time is up to redirect yourself.
Talk it out
Process your feelings with a friend, family member or counselor.
Engage in a hobby or passion
Try to redirect your rampant mind by doing something you love and can easily get lost in. Don’t have a hobby or a passion? Of course you do, you just need to discover it. What did you really love doing as a child? What is something you have always wanted to try, but have never taken the time to do? What can you easily lose track of time doing?
Join a support group
A support network is everything when your silently suffering. There may be a group or meetup in your local area, start researching. Or why not start one?
There are many pieces to managing the anxiety puzzle and sometimes, medication is needed to help you reach a baseline to function. If you’re not sure, research, write down your questions and concerns and talk to your Dr or a psychiatrist.