You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.
— Dan Millman
You know how when you get those people who tell you not to be anxious and you suddenly calm down. Yeah no, that never happens.
So as someone who suffers with chronic debilitating anxiety, I’m not here to tell you not to be anxious, because that is unrealistic and would be a waste of your time and my time. Instead I am going to discuss a couple of ways in which you can deal with anxiety everyday without it taking control of your everyday life.
I am also not going to tell you to breathe, exercise or do meditate, because while those things have proven to be helpful and important additions to your routine, I find that everyone’s anxiety is different and sometimes exercising your anxiety away just doesn’t cut it, especially if you have an anxiety disorder.
Okay, so for anyone who does not know the symptoms of anxiety, which I am guessing you do since you have clicked on this video, these are some of the symptoms anxiety:
- Feeling restless
- Feelings of worry
- Racing heart rate
- Cold sweats
- Stomach problems like IBS/ spastic colon
- Unable to focus
- Hyperventilation syndrome
- Panic attacks
I going to put myself out there and be honest with you, I have all of these symptoms and more. So here are some tips on how to manage your anxiety:
Know your triggers
Take time to sit and identify what is making you anxious. It could be a stressful job that you have, previous traumas, driving on busy roads or even your morning cuppa joe that elevates your stress levels.
How can we identify our triggers? I like to use this 3 step approach when I am feeling my anxiety getting out of hand:
- Find the problem. Take a notebook, or a piece of paper and write down what you believe could be triggering your anxiety. This could be many things.
- Find a solution. Once you know your triggers you can find solutions for them. Think about how you can go about solving what might be troubling you. Let’s use an example. Say that you have been invited to a social event that you are nervous to attend. What would make you feel more at ease? Some solutions could be to invite a friend who you feel comfortable around, or prepare some small talk so that you can feel more at ease to interact with others.
- Choose a solution that would best suit you. You’ve identified your problem, suggested some solutions now you need to carry out the most practical solution.
I am sure that we all at some stage have had times where we are looking at our phone while working, as well as eating a meal on the side and then on top of that we have the news on in the background. That is 4 things screaming for my attention, how overwhelming and not productive at all. It’s enough to make your head spin, and to be honest I do this all of the time.
We actually can reduce our stress levels and be more productive by focussing on one thing at a time.
How can we do this? We can prioritise one task at a time and finish them to completion before moving on to the next. It can also be beneficial to take short breaks between tasks to reset your mind before going back to focus on the next task.
This now leads me to my last point:
Have you ever tried to fall asleep and your mind just won’t shut off? You then feel wired but tired. Happens to me constantly, sleep is something I am still trying to perfect, but with great difficulty. There are so many nights where I just want to grab those sleeping pills, and sometimes I do, but they are not the best for you. It’s a catch 22, anxiety causes sleeping problems but lack of sleep causes anxiety. So what are we to do?
Some people have found establishing a night time routine to be helpful, adding exercise during the day, avoiding screens before bed or doing some light stretching to relax their muscles before bed.
Having good sleep hygiene is so important to managing anxiety and your overall general mood.
So there you have it, 3 ways to deal with anxiety. Of course there are so many other ways that can assist you in coping with anxiety. Let me know in the comments below if any of these tips have helped you.