Alright, this is going to be a very personal post, but I think it is so important to share as we head into a very stressful time of year. I am a high anxiety person, but I am a highly functioning person with anxiety. I thought that I would share with you all steps that I take to prevent or reduce my anxiety.
1) Spend Time Alone
This is the fastest relief for my anxiety, personally. Getting away from a bunch of different noises and so many things going on at once brings me instant peace. I am actually pretty used to chaos being that I am the second youngest of six kids, and there was always so much going on at any given time. I always had my own space that I could escape to, even as a kid, when I would feel overwhelmed or anxious. It is always my first step to alleviating my anxiety.
Once I am alone, I find it very therapeutic to write without a filter. When I am feeling extremely anxious, I write vigorously to the point where I couldn’t read it even if I wanted to. And that is okay because no one would ever has to see it or read it. It just feels good to get all of my thoughts out on paper–even if they are dramatic or unrealistic.
After I get all of that out, I write what I am feeling in that moment. Do I feel more calm? Do I feel less strained? Can I see with a clear perspective now? I like to answer these questions so that I know there is a point to venting on paper… And that point is not to dwell in the anxiety, but to recognize what may have brought it on and work through it.
3) Get Away From Social Media
I know it is so easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole with social media, so I suggest putting your phone away. Switch it to “Do Not Disturb.” But if that can’t keep you off of it, put it in the next room over. Personally, I find peace in seclusion and silence. When you have all of those apps that can pull you in to drama, it can really exacerbate your anxiety.
The only reason I say to get away from social media rather than your phone in general is because sometimes you need your phone. Listening to soothing music or chatting with a friend or loved one are two good uses for your phone when you are trying to reign in your anxiety.
4) Listen to Soothing Music
This is calming in and of itself. I listen to meditation music all the time whether I am meditating, trying to fall asleep, trying to focus on a task at hand, or when I am trying to sooth my anxiety. I absolutely believe in the healing affects of music in general. So when your mind is racing and panic ensues, listening to something soothing can change the pace of all of that. You might slow your breathing to the rhythm of the music. You might be transported in your mind to a rain forest or beach. You might think of the last massage you had. You might begin to meditate. All of these counteract anxiety.
I actually have a specific playlist on my phone that I play in these instances. I’ll set the playlist to play, tuck my phone on the side of my bed (out of arms reach), and focus on my breathing.
5) Talk to a Friend or Family Member Who Gets It
This is something that I do not usually do. I find that when I am in a panic or upset, others tend to either portray the same emotion or exacerbate my anxiety. Obviously, that isn’t their intention, but it is how I respond to their words or actions when I am experiencing high anxiety.
Sometimes you just need a good listener or someone to distract you and lift your spirits. I find it really hard to know what I need from others in these moments, so that is why I don’t usually reach out. Sometimes you want to say, “the sky is falling,” without someone telling you it’s not–you just need to vent. And other times you need someone to show you solutions and help you realize that you might be overthinking. This is why I tend to vent on paper and then start planning so that I know there is a logical solution. I haven’t always been this way, but you learn a time goes on what suits you better.
In high school, I remember going on drives with my dad weekly because I would have get extremely anxious, like clockwork, every Sunday night. Both of my parents are very calm and are great listeners, so my dad and I would chat and by the time we got home, I was calm. As you grow older, the same things don’t always work or are no longer convenient, but I have always taken drives as a part of my solution.
6) Drive (in an area without traffic)
Like I said, I like to take a nice, long drive when I am anxious because nothing clears my head better than long and windy road. It is, also, a way to remove yourself from an anxiety triggering event. Once I get in my car, I will literally say, “Thank God.”
It just gives you that seclusion and gets you focused on something else. Although, I do not recommend to drive if you are having severe anxiety or a panic attack as these could hinder your ability to drive.
This is one good way to prevent anxiety throughout your day. I wake up and put Lavender essential oils on my wrists and neck like it is perfume (I mean, it kind of is). I honestly feel like it prevents me from really experiencing unwarranted anxiety throughout the day. I would recommend looking into this, and I am sure you all know someone who sells essential oils!
Hitting the gym can really benefit you in any feeling you may have. I love working out as a preventive way to counteract my anxiety, but, also, as a way to work through it. There is nothing like a run or throwing weights around to process through anything. Plus, the more physical work you do, the lower your anxiety levels will be in general. By getting your body moving, the endorphins that your brain releases will seriously make you happy.
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.WebMd
What might work for me might not work for you, so try a few of these out and see what suits you best.
I would, seriously, recommend using Lavender essential oils and exercise as a way to reduce your overall anxiety.
What other ways do you reduce your anxiety? Let me know in the comments!
What I am Grateful For Today:
After years of struggles with anxiety, I came up with a list that I would physically grab in order to quickly see what to do to relieve my anxiety. These 8 steps are what I have found to be the most beneficial to me overall.
What are you grateful for today? Let me know in the comments!