Easy Tips to Control Anxiety
This weekend someone said to me, “I couldn’t sleep, my mind was racing. I couldn’t stop thinking.” It got me thinking, why do we allow our minds to take control of our lives. It has become a normal part of life. More and more often we normalize anxiety and tell ourselves, ‘this is life, there isn’t anything I can do,’ or ‘everyone has these issues, it’s a normal part of life.’ Although this might be true, it doesn’t need to be. We can control our anxiety before it takes control of us.
Anxiety is feeling worried, overwhelmed, scared, unable to calm down, or having trouble sleeping. In our society we dismiss these feelings with ease. We worry about money, our kids, what others think of us, society, politics; the list is endless. We never stop to think does it need to be this way? It doesn’t. We have just become accustomed to that nagging and incessant worry.
Here are 5 tips to control your anxiety quickly:
We hear it all the time and I know it sounds silly. However, there is a reason we hear it all the time. It works! But it must be done correctly. Take deep, long, and filling breaths. As you inhale envision your breath taking over every part of your torso. Focus on your chest moving up and down. Be deliberate with every breath. Try 4-7-8 breathing. Inhale for 4 second, hold it for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds.
Put your thoughts on paper. Getting your anxious feelings out on paper helps relieve the hold they have on your mind. Journaling can also help pin point your anxiety triggers. Write down every detail, what you were doing, thoughts you were having, specific feelings, and anything else that comes up. You can go back and read your journal entries and find patterns in your thoughts, allowing you to target the source of your anxiety and attack it head on.
3. Stay grounded
Focus on the moment and find 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. Put your thoughts towards what is real in that moment. Often there is nothing we can do, especially in that moment, about the issues that triggered our anxiety. However, it does no good for our thoughts to sit on spin dry. Try to relieve your anxious thoughts by focusing on other things.
When we put energy into exercise our body gets tired and it can help take the pressure off your mind. Consider going to the gym, taking a walk outside, or workout apps that you can use at home. Exercise is a powerful tool that we forget can be used to help our minds. Exercise increases dopamine and endorphin's to help us naturally feel good.
5. Find a hobby
Try something new. Sudoku, puzzles, and crosswords are great activities to focus your mind on other things. Do you enjoy writing? Start a blog 😉. Do you like reading? Visit the library. The options are endless. Find something that keeps your mind busy and your anxious thoughts at bay.
It’s easy to forget that our minds are important and deserve some attention. We go through each day hoping that things will get better, but they never do. It’s time to take back your control and be a better version of yourself.