There has always been plenty of reasons for people to feel anxious, but last year proved to provide far too many, leaving lots of us more anxious than ever (among other things). And being in a state of anxiety is no way to live your life. In fact, just trying to live your life with anxiety is difficult enough. Thankfully, being anxious doesn’t have to be a way of life. There’s plenty you can do to help your mind become more resilient so that when a thought, event, or stressor enters your life, you’re more prepared to face it head on.
One of the biggest misconceptions when dealing with anxiety is that you have to solve every single problem in order to stop feeling anxious.
In reality, the best thing you can learn to do when dealing with anxiety or anxious thoughts is simply soothe your mind. How can you, in other words, calm yourself while having the same thoughts or events happen?
Anxiety is, after all, often experienced as a racing mind, when all of your thoughts come at you so quickly that you start to feel overwhelmed and incapable of dealing with them. By learning how to find your center so that you can better observe your thoughts and feelings, you can slow everything down and avoid reaching a “peak” state of anxiety and stress.
If you experience anxiety regularly, or have been feeling more anxious with the changes brought on by the pandemic, here are two ways to start disrupting your anxiety so that you can better enjoy your daily life.
First, it’s important to face your anxiety head on, naming it aloud and recognizing it for exactly what it is: a thought. The more you can understand your anxiety, the less fearful of it you become. Oftentimes when you start to look at your anxiety more closely, you realize that it’s amplified by other factors in your life, like not getting enough sleep, eating poorly, or consuming too much news or media. You’ll also start to realize how anxiety impacts your physical body. When you notice that your body tightens, for example, when you’re feeling anxious, you can spend time stretching and relaxing your body in order to help dissipate your anxiousness.
Second, you want to take time to slow down the moment you start to feel your anxiety increasing. While it can feel difficult in the moment to pause and take a break, the more you start to do it the more you realize that it doesn’t take long to make yourself feel better. Also, one of the cornerstones of “slowing down” really is simple: Just be present. Whether it’s pausing scrolling on your phone, putting your computer to sleep, or closing your eyes, you can quickly become present. And the moment you do, you’ll often feel your anxiety start to fade.
Dealing with anxiety is difficult, especially when you’re busy or in the thick of the day. However, your anxiety doesn’t need to define you. In fact, you’re always in control of it. As you start to take care of yourself with compassion, you’ll realize that there are lots of simple ways you can help slow down your mind and drop into the present moment.