Anxiety is a funny little beast isn’t it? It creeps up unannounced at the most inopportune times (because when is a good time for your heart to race and thoughts to go haywire?). For some of us, like me, it’s a fact of life. We walk through life a little bit worried and a little bit anxious a lot of the time.
I spent years fighting my anxiety. And the more I fought, the worse it got. I was trying to push against my anxiety instead of walking with it, hand in hand, in a healthy way. It’s possible to live a happy, full, exciting, adventurous life while struggling with anxiety.
The key: learn how to soothe yourself.
Before I dive into the 5 ways I soothe myself when anxious, I must clarify that I am in no way shape or form a doctor or mental health professional. Simply, I am someone who’s learned some tricks along the way that I want to share with you.
5 Ways I Ease My Anxiety
Duh. I bet you knew I was going to say that. But here’s the thing. It works. When I’m running, my racing body matches my racing thoughts, which I’ve said time and time again. It even helps during stressful or difficult times. Like, for instance, my boyfriend and I recently broke up and I think I’ve run more miles in the past couple of weeks than I have all year. And I feel amazing because it’s such an amazing release.
But here’s the other thing. When you’re done with a run, your body is tired and it’s filled with those happy, little endorphins. You are literally giving yourself hits of happiness, for lack of better terms. And when you’re done with a run you feel a sense of accomplishment. No, the anxiety doesn’t disappear, but it’s lessened and will make other daily tasks less daunting.
Maybe running isn’t your thing. That’s okay. Go for a walk. Start there. I’ve found that training for races helps keep me focused on a goal and makes running a lot easier and a lot more fun. Need help with a training plan? Feel free to reach out and we can work on putting one together for you.
2) Prayer and Meditation
You may not be a religious or spiritual person, and that’s fine. I am. And I’ve found that it has helped me tremendously with my anxiety. First of all, meditation literally changes your brain, as I wrote about here.
But most importantly, having a deep rooted faith and an actual relationship with God helps me rationalize my anxieties. It helps me trust in His will, and know that I am not in control. He is. The more we try to control our lives, the more anxiety we create.
Letting go and accepting His will helps me live a lighter, more positive and carefree life. Want to talk about faith? Not sure how to take the first step towards a relationship with God? Reach out and we can chat.
Crazy mornings, busy days, and late nights create anxiety. That’s the life I was living for a while. My mornings would start at the gym. I’d race home to make a smoothie. I’d rush into work and work, work, work all day long, only to come home and work some more or fill some other obligation. By the time it was time for bed, I couldn’t unwind and the anxiety would set in.
So I created a morning routine that helped me set my intention and purpose for the day. If I don’t feel like working out in the morning, I don’t. I make sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep and when I wake up, I wake up a bit slower. Before I head off to work, I read my Bible, pray, and do some journaling. I leave my house less panicked and more at peace and able to handle what’s to come.
At night, I try to put my phone/laptop away by 9:30 pm. I diffuse essential oils (typically lavender and eucalyptus) while I read a bit of whatever book immersed in. I pray, set my alarm, and then drift off to sleep.
It’s working y’all. Routines are important, because even though we can’t control life, we can mitigate stressors. Routines mitigate stressors.
4) Positive Self-Talk
What you tell yourself matters. My day is spent reframing negative thoughts pretty much from the moment I wake up, because that’s what it takes rewire your brain. If you allow the negative thoughts to run rampant, they will. And then the anxiety will ensue.
When a negative thought comes into my head, I’ll actually say to myself, “Stop.” Then I’ll take that thought, rationalize it, and turn it into something positive. Making lemonade out of lemons, if you will. The more you actively work to rewire your thoughts, the less they’ll be able to run your day.
5) Sit In It
This is definitely the hardest, but most effective. The more I try to fight the anxiety, the worse it gets. I’ve learned over the years that if I’m feeling anxious instead of fighting it, I need to let it work itself out. I need to sit there and say to myself, “I’m just feeling anxious. This’ll pass.” If you don’t react to the anxiety it won’t react back to you.
Easier said than done, yes. And sometimes it’s hard to grab the reigns and take control. We’re so scared of pain, of getting hurt, of feeling uncomfortable. I challenge you to embrace being uncomfortable when you’re anxious. You’re anxious because you care, because you’re alive, because you’re a human being. It’s okay to be anxious. Sit there, and then let it go.
You will get through it. I promise.