Four Practical Ways to Deal with Anxiety
Dealing with anxiety can often be frustrating. One day you think you have it beat and then you get into your comfiest pj's and settle down in your soft, warm bed...you try to fall asleep but it feels like you are holding onto a live-wire. I have often experienced anxiety as if it is an electrical current that causes you to grip tighter to your fears or painful thoughts and you just can't let it go. I heard that description of anxiety a long time ago and I feel that it makes complete sense. The current surges through your body, everything feels tense and you can't drop the thought you are clinging to so tightly.
So what do you do when anxiety is rearing its ugly head and you can't seem to loosen your grip?
Here are four practical ways to deal with anxiety or anxious thoughts. Try out one or maybe all of them and see how it feels:
-Utilize mindfulness and meditation to help you connect to the present moment instead of feeling fearful about the future or frustrated with your past. Often anxiety is about the past or the future (obviously experiencing anxiety in the moment regarding a fearful situation happens as well). Meditation has been shown to help individuals become more mindful and aware of the here and now and what is happening in the present moment. I like to use an app called Insight Timer; there are free meditations of varying lengths on this app. They even have 2 minute meditations!
-Write down your fears and the worst that will come from them (Tim Ferriss just did another Ted talk on this, #swoon). If you are feeling paralyzed by anxiety this is a helpful exercise to help you get out of your mind and into the reality of the situation. There may be times when death and destruction could be the worst, but often our fears are so blown up by our minds. I find that writing my thoughts down takes a lot of the power away from my unruly and out of control thoughts.
-Take a walk, get moving, do something related to exercise! If you can't walk or run, do elevated push ups, if you can't do elevated push ups, practice deep breathing exercises. You can do so much for your body by moving it or just taking deep, intentional breaths.
-Finally, create a circle of control. Inside the circle you write things that are within your control and outside the circle write things that are out of your control. Focus on what is written inside the circle. For example if you are panicking about what the weather will be like for your wedding day, remember that you cannot control the weather but you can control what you provide to your guests and how you act about the weather. <Yall will say that I stole this from Tim Ferriss..BUT I have totally been doing this for years. I initially stole it from my time at lululemon. HA>
I hope these interventions are not only intriguing but that they are also useful for you. I have used all of them on multiple occasions and I can say that they definitely work for me! If you are in the Denver area and are looking for a counselor to process your anxiety with, here is more information about me and my practice.