Anxiety is killing our mental energy. It is, after all, the leading mental health issue in our society today. In 2017 alone, more than 284 million people experienced anxiety across the globe, making it the most prevalent mental health disorder globally.
If you are asking the question, “how do I get over my anxiety?”, then this article is for you. I’ve put together a list of my top strategies to help you get over your anxiety. These are the same strategies that have worked for many of my clients over the years, and I think they can work for you too!
Anxiety is, in general terms, as uneasiness or nervousness about an undetermined outcome. Sometimes, this worry and uneasiness is quite excessive and goes from something that we can manage on our own to something for which we need professional help. If your worry or apprehension includes panic attacks or compulsive behaviors, consider reaching out to a therapist or a doctor for more professional help.
I like to think of anxiety as information—a sign that something is off in your life. It could be a global pandemic, a challenge at work, instability in relationships, or the sign of a larger mental health issue. Whatever it is, it’s good to think this through and be asking the questions that will help you uncover the parts of your life that could use some adjusting.
Again, consulting with a therapist or counselor, even just for a brief period of time, can help decipher some of these questions for you. And if you want to give it a go on your own, well that takes us to the first of my five tips on how to get over anxiety.
Here are 5 tips on how to get over anxiety and live a more fulfilling life.
1. The Mighty Journal
You will be amazed by the power of journaling—the path of self-discovery it can lead you down. The best part of journaling is that there is no right or wrong here. It is a private place where you can work through the stuff in your head and figure some things out.
There are lots of formats for journaling, and I have personally changed my own approach several times depending on what was going on and what I was looking for. It could be that narrative of your day or bullets with highlights or thoughts of the day.
To make the most out of your journaling I would encourage you to push yourself and go beyond a recount of the day’s events. What you really want here is to get into your thought process and understand the feelings behind the thoughts. Timelines can also be a great way to gain some understanding of relationships and the different events in your life. Again, it is a matter of what works for you.
The pen truly is mightier than. . . the meds?!? My own little psych-mashup.
2. Schedule Your Self-Care Time
What are the ways you treat yourself? Life is busy and when life demands increase, self-care is often one of the first things to fall by the wayside. But it is critical that you build in your “you time” because when stress levels increase, so will anxiety.
If self-care is not something that you are accustomed to thinking about, I listed some ideas for you to consider. Keep in mind that if you schedule it with someone else, it might help with accountability.
Think about working smaller chunks of time into the workweek and then something a little more extensive on the weekend, like a hike, excursion, creative home project, or even the occasional weekend away.
- Take your lunchtime away from your desk, and get outside for a walk or join a colleague for some casual chitchat.
- Schedule a massage or trip to the spa/salon.
- Watch a favorite movie or TV show, either on your own or with your favorite person/people.
- Work out, inside or out—anything that gets your heart rate up.
- Go on an evening or afternoon walk.
- Tap into your creative outlet, break out that knitting, woodwork, artwork, or instrument.
- Dance, at home with your kids, partner, or on your own. Play your favorite tunes and do your thing!
You can also try these 40 Self Care Techniques To Rejuvenate And Restore Yourself.
3. Listen to Your Music
Music speaks to our soul. It is a go-to for many of us when in need of a pick-me-up or just blowing off some steam. But sometimes, life gets busy, and we don’t incorporate it into our life the way we once did—finding ourselves in a music deficient rut, listening to the same boring stuff on the radio.
Let this be a reminder to explore the new music out there. Streaming services have revolutionized our access to music and have made it easier than ever before. Explore it and find your jam.
Additionally, music therapy is a growing form of therapy built on the research that it helps decrease pain, blood pressure, and—you guessed it—anxiety while also increasing mood, healing, and overall positivity.
Medical Doctors are using it more and more in operating rooms and incorporating it into their practices. If you subscribe to Spotify or Apple Music, you can just type in “relaxing music” and you will be sure to find something that will do the trick, bringing calm and focus into your life. In my research for this article, I came across some great ones., and they are now a part of my daily rotation.
4. The Five Senses Exercise
When we experience heightened anxiety, I think of it as the physical energy rising from our feet to our head like a thermometer. Sometimes, this energy can even bring us to a place where we feel disconnected from our bodies. The 5 senses exercise will help you reconnect yourself to your body and bring your anxiety levels down to a more manageable level.
The 5 senses exercise is a mindfulness exercise where you connect your 5 senses to your present environment. This is a great way to ground yourself and bring your attention and your energy to the here and now. What I love about this exercise is that it can be done anywhere and at any time. If you start to feel your anxiety creep up, this could be a good strategy to center yourself and possibly ward off a panic attack or prolonged anxiety.
The process is simple:
- Start by taking a few deep breathes, inhaling as you count to 3, and then exhaling as you count to 3.
- Next, identify 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you can touch and feel, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.
- Take it in, give yourself a few minutes.
- Repeat if needed, and carry on.
5. Mindset Matters
This last one is a big one. A lot of times, anxiety waxes and wanes with how we think about something. Be mindful of your negative self-talk, keeping it in check and working to incorporate perspective. If you know that you are headed into something challenging, prepare yourself for it mentally and allow yourself to be ok with the challenge. After all, the challenge helps us grow and develop.
Also, remember that life is full of choices—granted the options in front of us may be less than ideal, but remember that they are there. Incorporating some of these above strategies could be one of the first choices you make to create change in your life and get a hold of the anxiety
A quick easy way to get some perspective is to acknowledge the things that you are grateful for (this is also a mindfulness practice). The gratitude journal is one way to do this where you write down three to five things that you are grateful for every day. Try it out for a week or so and see how you feel. Of course, the more time you practice this, the more you will feel the benefits.
Summing It Up
Anxiety is something that we all experience from time to time, working to identify the source of your anxiety will help you discover the best strategies for you. However, there are some definite best practices that you can incorporate into your life that are sure to minimize your anxiety and keep you living the active and fulfilling life you want.
More Tips on Coping With Anxiety
Featured photo credit: Fernando @cferdo via unsplash.com
|||^||Our World in Data: Mental Health|
|||^||NCBI: Social Anxiety Disorder: Recognition, Assessment, and Treatment|
|||^||Harvard Health Publishing: How music can help you heal|