We all have anxiety one way or another, but some of us are better at managing and coping with it than others. This isn’t anyone’s fault, it just may be that they don’t know what tools they have in their kit to help themselves manage their anxiety. There are a lot of things we can do for ourselves that actually help us reduce some of the anxious feelings that we get, and these are things we can easily be taking a few minutes out of our day to do. With my past experience learning to manage my own anxiety, I thought I would share some of the tools that work the best for me.
I never used to be someone who was interested in meditating. I held a stereotypical belief that it was about someone sitting cross-legged with their thumbs to their middle finger saying “ommmmmm.” This belief isn’t true. Meditation is so much more. Meditation is one of the best medicines to mental health. Practicing meditation helps people slow their breathing, quiet their mind, and find peace. It helps people with mental health issues, addiction, and betters people’s sleep. If you are feeling worked up, find a comfortable place to sit and practice your breathing (inhale for 4 seconds through your nose and exhale for 6 out your mouth). This allows you to keep your mind occupied since you are focused on counting, and it reduces the issue of quick chesty breaths that people tend to do when anxious which make you feel dizzy.
- Breathing properly
As stated previously, practicing your breathing to avoid quick chesty breaths is so important. People don’t always realize that when they are worked up they are taking short breaths in their chest and not allowing the air to fully flow throughout their body into their diaphragm. Have you ever been worked up and noticed that you suddenly feel dizzy? This is because you aren’t breathing properly because when you are anxious you take short, quick breaths instead of long, full ones. Ever heard of an opera singer’s breath? Learning to do this is one of the best things you can do for yourself as an anxious person because then you will be able to realize when you aren’t breathing properly and immediately know how to fix it.
- Weekly walks
Exercising is a great way to improve not only your physical health but your mental health as well. It is simple enough, exercising just makes us feel good. I try to make sure I get exercise in at least two times a week. Whether it is playing a recreational sport, or just putting my headphones in to walk my dog, I find I always come home feeling good about myself because I took the time to exercise. I recommend walking because you can also do breathing practice and meditate while walking and hit all three birds with one stone!
- Proper sleep
Sleep drains you mentally and physically, and if you are that tired, you won’t have the willpower to fight off the anxiety monster when they come creeping up behind you. Having proper hours of sleep helps you feel rejuvenated and strong, and with that, you will be able to tell your anxious thoughts to get the hell away from you. However, without proper sleep, you won’t be able to fight off the negative thoughts as easily because you are mentally exhausted. A lot of sleeps leads to a stronger mental mind.
- Keeping Busy
When I say to keep busy, I don’t mean to load up your schedule to the point where you can’t even have any time to just sit and watch Netflix; however, getting involved in certain activities a few times a week can help you immensely. By being involved, you are busy doing these activities which means your mind doesn’t have time to wander. I am an avid horribilizer, meaning I take situations and think of the worst possible outcome, but if I am busy doing things then my mind doesn’t have the time to overthink these negative situations. One great piece of advice is to be busy with your mind and busy with your hands. This is why I like activities like scrapbooking where I have to think about the layout of my page while keeping my hands busy with creating the page.
There are many other things that you can do to help reduce some of your anxiety, but these are some tips that I have found to be helpful with my own. Obviously there are better tools for others than may not work for some, but you will never know what helps you until you give it a try. Managing anxiety is not an easy thing to do, but with the right tools and hard work, you will be able to overcome many situations and become better at fighting off your anxiety so that you can enjoy more parts of your life.