Anxiety. Heard of it?
Many of us have always struggled with it. Many of us have slowly realized we reallly struggle with it. I (thanks to 2020) have recently been able to identify triggers, find resolutions, and manage it in a way that feels productive. Anxiety can rule your life if you let it. I wanted to share a few things I’ve been doing to not let that happen…most of the time.
Anxiety looks different for everyone and in every situation. Sometimes it can present as over-scheduling or over-working (hi), sometimes it can look like disengagement or apathy, sometimes it can fly out of your mouth in irritable bursts, or be rapid fire questioning interrogation style (also, hi). Depending on your childhood models, your personality type, and your relationships; your anxiety is going to present in different ways. The key is AWARENESS. Identifying the anxious feeling is step number one. Getting down to the root cause of that feeling is step two. Easier said than done — but with A LOT of trial and error — you’ll get there. Keep this image below in mind and remember anxiety is not just feeling “worried.”
Here are somethings I have done recently to help manage my anxiety…Keep in mind my personality type! I am a INFJ, Type A, control seeking individual. Enough said!
- Journaling / Brain Dumping – I cannot stress how helpful this tool has been to managing my anxiety. My trigger to know I need to journal or brain dump all my thoughts out onto a page is…racing thoughts and feelings of overwhelm. Something that helps me when I am journaling is giving myself a prompt. Sometimes the prompt might be just a sentence starter that I can use repeatedly and fill in the blanks. Examples include — “I am worried…” , ” I feel overwhelmed about …” — When I journal I always end up with more on the page than I thought I had stuck in my head. We always hold onto more than we realize. Brain dumping is similar but less linear. Sometimes when I brain dump it jumps all over the place…like my thoughts. It might look like mini lists, a web, random phrases (that I may later connect), or just categories of thoughts I have to organize on paper to make sense of. This is a practice just for me. Often times when I reread something I wrote it doesn’t make sense or really doesn’t seem like a big deal. Good ole’ anxiety making mountains out of mole hills again. I don’t worry about handwriting, spelling, sentence structure, word choice — nothing! This is a FREE write. It is a therapeutic and cathartic practice that I have learned to love and use for my mental health. Highly recommend!
- High Intensity Workout / Nature Walk – This may seem like a no brainer for anxiety management but it really has become an essential practice for me. My trigger to know I need a physical activity is I can feel myself starting to get really short tempered or irrationally angry inside. When this happens I know I need to get up and move. Sometimes all it takes is some fresh air, a book or podcast in my ears, and a change of scenery. I can feel my anxiety levels shift almost immediately. I *try* to do high intensity workouts about 3-4 times a week not because I am trying to look a certain way but because I want to feel a certain way. I want to feel confident (1) and I know that a good sweat sessions alwayssssssssssss makes me feel mentally strong, therefore positively impacting my anxiety. When I have a stressful day at work I know the best way for me to manage it is to WORK IT OUT of my body. Emotions are often energy that gets stuck. Working out moves that anxiety inducing energy in the right direction.
- CBD / Brain Drain Activity – My last tip or suggestion is one I probably struggle with the most because it requires slowing down. My trigger to know I need some CBD or a Brain Drain is exhaustion and/or chest-tightening. CBD and I have become good friends over the past couple of years. I use a liquid tincture form from a local CBD company called Wander Hemp Co. Their formula and I get along great! When I feel my chest-tightening or my pulse starting to race about something I can take this and it truly brings a wave of calm to my being. Brain Draining activities are also underrated. Binge watching something mindless or doing a skin care regimen are two ways I like to turn my brain off and just relax. Brain Draining is helpful for those us who struggle with the constant monkey-chatter. You just have to be careful because sometimes Brain Draining can lead to avoidance behavior too. *awareness is key*
Hoping this helps someone feel a little less alone in their anxiety battles and maybe provides some ideas for something you can do about it. Stay well and have a deelightful weekend friends!