Today I am writing a little post on something I experience and have to manage in my own life. I suffer from time to time with anxiety, it’s not embarrassing to admit that. It used to be – but not anymore. I’m ok with sharing it. It doesn’t make me anything less than I am, it doesn’t make me weak, it doesn’t make me crazy – in fact it only makes me human. I have worries and fears and down moments just the same as any one else. I usually choose not to share them – wanting to be a source of positivity for others – but if sharing how I try to manage mine helps someone else, then I am all for that. Before I start I want to stress that I am by no means an expert in this field but I wanted to share with you some simple things I do that help me to manage it and for the most part remain anxiety free. Here are my five ways to deal with anxiety.
This was one thing I found hard to come around to. But it is honestly something I have really grown to love. Anxiety, for me, stems from fears. Fears from the past and fears for the future. Whenever I feel anxious I can usually pinpoint exactly what thoughts in my head are causing me to feel that way. I found by thinking, saying or writing down positive affirmations really can help to train the mind to eradicate those fears. It really can be used for anything. Simply stating:
“I am brave”
“I am healthy”
“I am strong”
“I am blessed”
“I am at peace”
There are dozens of audio books, YouTube videos and online articles that can help you create a list of your own positive affirmations. Take half an hour to scroll through some ideas. Pick out the ones that are apt to you and your thoughts, write them down, read them and re-read them. I know this might sound crazy to some people. It sounded “stupid” to me when I first heard about the exercise. But when you are ready for it, it will 100% be beneficial to you. So even if that is not right now, take a little mental note and come back to it when you feel the time is right.
I would love to say that I have mastered the art of meditation, but again it is something I am only learning. I’ll admit this is another thing I dismissed throughout my twenties. I thought it was a massive waste of time I could be spending working out or scrolling on Facebook. How wrong was I? I recently downloaded an app – The Mindfulness App: Meditation for Everyone – that helps you through guided meditations starting from 3 minutes. I try every night to take 3-5 minutes just to listen to one guided meditation. It’s a starting point, but I am very excited to learn more.
I literally take five minutes every night at the end of my day to go through the things in my head that I am thankful for. I start at the very beginning of my day and work my way through. No matter what it is I am grateful for – five minutes for a quiet cup of coffee or a day with family and friends – I acknowledge that and say thank you. This has been of massive benefit to me. If you are suffering from anxiety, if you are feeling a little lost or low – try this little exercise. For one week at bedtime – take five minutes to list and focus on the GOOD things in your day. Say thank you for them. Let those positive things be the last things you think about as you drift off to sleep.
One of the simplest things you can do if you feel a little overwhelmed is simply to tell somebody. Sometimes just saying out load what you are feeling can help the unease inside. On top of that your family or friends can help you rationalize the fear or worry that is causing the anxious feeling in the first place.
Being self-employed, I used to feel guilty if I took time “off” . I always felt there was something that could or should be done. I find it extremely hard to switch my mind off of “work mode” and onto relaxation. If this is you – then you are going to actively have to work at it. I must point out that I still have not fully mastered this but it is something I am slowly managing. This week for example I have penciled in to my diary two yoga classes, a sports-massage and a day completely gym/computer free on Sunday. This will be my relaxation time. The hardest thing in changing my career has been that going to the gym used to be my “relaxation” time but now it is my job. I’m not complaining about that – I absolutely LOVE my job, but it means I’ve had to find a new form of relaxing so this is the current quest I am on. I find yoga (the restorative/healing kind) so beneficial.
Anxiety is something that strikes in different ways, for different reasons. I honestly believe we are all living such fast paced lives that the mind finds it difficult to process so much information. Our fears, even if we don’t fully realise we have fears, have a funny way of affecting our minds. And our minds, just like any other part of the body, need to be exercised regularly to stay healthy and well. It’s tough to start doing any of the things I have mentioned above. Like I said, it took me years of dismissing them to finally see their importance. Even now that I do I still struggle to “fit them in” to my life on a daily or weekly basis. The one thing that really makes sure I do – is the inner feeling of calm I have afterwards. Let’s be honest for a second. Doing these little exercises takes time, it takes effort, it takes commitment – but whats the alternative – just live with the constant bubbling uncomfortable feeling inside? If you are living with anxiety and feel you don’t have time to try these things, the single most important thing I can say to you today is….. make time.