Anxiety: that unshakable uneasy feeling accompanied by that annoying, long-winded, worried voice in your head that you cannot get to stfu. We all know that voice. It’s the voice that keeps us up at night, the voice that interrupts us while we’re enjoying a relaxed moment; it’s, in all honesty, THE WORST. While stress or anxiety is never something you will eradicate completely from your life, here are some very effective tips that can help you cope.
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1. Practice gratitude
You might think “practicing gratitude” sounds like something only yogis or buddhas do, but it can actually be your most powerful tool when fighting that anxious feeling. When that voice gets talking in your head, list out all the things you are grateful for (write them out or just recite them in your head). Maybe you’re so stressed that the only thing you can think of is that amazing cup of coffee you had this morning or that moment you spent snuggling with your dog. That’s okay. The act of acknowledging wonderful things in your life, no matter how small, will bring you back to reality.
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2. Focus on the present moment
Anxiety is really just a state of dwelling on the unknowingness of the future. But guess what!? You will never be able to predict the future! There is so much freedom when you can accept this. So next time you’re worried about X, Y, and Z, simply say to yourself, “I don’t know how that will turn out, but I can handle whichever outcome and can deal with it when it gets here,” and then go back to enjoying whatever you were doing in the present moment.
All of these are ways to activate your senses (touch, taste, and smell) which will distract you from your whirling thoughts and, in turn, calm you down. Think about investing in a diffuser. Oils that can lessen anxiety are lavender, rose, vetiver, ylang-ylang, bergamot, and chamomile.
4. Write it out and list it out
Word vomiting all your spinning thoughts, stresses, worries, and annoyances can feel like just the purge you need. Set a timer and just get it all on paper. When the timer stops, you must immediately put down your pen and walk away from the transferred feelings. If you’re anxious about all the work and tasks you have to do, make a list. Getting your thoughts organized on paper will free up space in that brilliant head of yours.
5. Accept your brain is playing tricks on you
When PMS hits you hard, you have to take a second, step back, and explain to yourself, “This is not what I’m really like. I’m not a nervous wreck that cries over cold French fries. This is hormones talking.” This is the same with anxiety. Your brain is playing tricks on you. Remember this is not your reality; your brain is just trying to get you to play the “lets stress about things we can’t control” game.
7. Just Breath
Short breaths that usually accompany your anxiety send “fight or flight” messages to your brain. Practice deep, slow breaths and you’ll be sending signs to your brain that everything is cool, which will lessen that anxious feeling. Try breathing in for four slow counts, filling your belly, and then out for four counts.
Uncluttering your surroundings will help unclutter your mind. Spend just fifteen minutes cleaning up your work area or room, and you’ll instantly be calmer.
Ugh, the worst. But man, after you do it, those endorphins are the greatest gift our bodies give us. Just try for ten minutes. Anyone can do ten minutes, right?
10. Listen to your ladies
There is something so powerful about hearing that your idols–ladies like Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Anna Kendrick–go through this same feeling. Download their audiobooks, and I guarantee you that hearing their voices while they make you laugh with their relatable anecdotes will ease you instantly.
*Note: If your anxiety becomes unmanageable, which it can, talk to your parents about getting professional help. There is no shame in asking for guidance.
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