Your heart feels like it is beating out of your chest. You can’t get your brain to shut off. You are consumed by thinking the worst. You can’t focus. You feel like drowning yourself in anything that will numb these feelings. You are finding it hard to smile, relax, and breathe.
This is anxiety and it can be all-consuming and exhausting. It can feel like you are facing a mountain that needs to be climbed or an ocean that needs to be swam. It is a lot to take on. But, it doesn’t have to continue to take over your life. You can cope. You can move forward. You can live your best life, even with anxiety.
Here are some techniques to help get you through your anxiety and back to beautiful, unique you:
1.)Meditation and Breathing — I hear you reading this right now — “who has time for that?” But, really it can do wonders for those suffering from anxiety and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. The key is to shut off your brain for a few minutes — it could be 5, 10, 20, whatever you have time for at the moment. This brief moment allows you to rejuvenate, to recognize that you are ok, and to put things into perspective. If you need guidance, there are some apps or videos on the internet that can help walk you through and bring you down to earth.
2.)Self-Care — When you are feeling overwhelmed your anxiety can sky rocket making it even harder to get things done, which leads to a never-ending cycle. Taking time to care for you—whether it be a yoga class, a massage, exercise, or time with friends—can give your brain some rest. Caring for yourself is one of the most important things you can do. It is important we don’t forget that.
3.)Practice Mindfulness — Next time you feel overwhelmed, like you might “lose it,” or you are “seeing red,” take a moment and stop. Ask yourself what is currently happening in the moment? Bring yourself back to where you are standing, not where your mind is taking you. Look around. Take in what you see. Appreciate. Chances are things are nowhere near as bad as your brain is making it seem.
4.)Cut Caffeine — I know, I know, this is a tough one for some of us but have you ever noticed how caffeine makes you feel. It can mimic anxiety in a lot of ways by increasing your heart rate. You have your own little caffeine source inside of you when you suffer from anxiety, you are already operating a little more on edge than others. You don’t have to cut it all out, but try to cut back. Caffeine just makes anxiety symptoms more pronounced.
5.) Change your schedule — If you are constantly struggling with anxiety over getting things done, tackling busy to-do lists and over-crowded calendars, then consider switching things up. You can set your alarm to wake up a half-hour earlier to get things done. You can skip that PTA event and stay home to get things crossed off your list. You don’t have to commit to everything. Go back up to number two and take care of you.
If you find that you just can’t get a handle on all your anxious feelings, seek the help of a therapist. They can help teach healthy coping strategies and help you troubleshoot any roadblocks you may be hitting and ensure you that you are ok. You are not alone. You can get through.
The psychologists at Wellness Psychological Services are uniquely and expertly specialized in helping you target these kinds of anxiety management skills. We welcome the chance to discuss an individualized plan to meet your needs. Contact us for an appointment anytime.
Anxiety can easily rule your life if you let it. Certain thoughts increase anxiety symptoms and make it even harder to cope with anxious feelings. Recognizing and working to cut back on these thought patterns can be life changing. But, what are they? What are these harmful thoughts?
There are several but I am going to start by focusing on three main ones:
1.) Focusing on the negative — This is also called “catastrophizing” or the tendency to focus on and imagine worst case scenarios. If you are always consumed with the worst that can happen, or what went wrong, then you are always going to feel pretty crappy. Instead, switch gears. Next time you notice your internal negative self-talk, put a cap in it. Ask yourself to name three positive things or things you feel grateful for. Try to shift your focus toward the good or to things that are more “helpful” and your mood with follow.
2.) All-or-Nothing — If we always focus on getting exactly what we want or nothing at all, we aren’t allowing any room for other positive outcomes. Try shifting or reframing your perspective on how you are viewing it. It is still possible that even if you don’t get everything you want, you will still get something. For example maybe you didn’t get the exact job you applied for but you did get another one that will allow you to potentially move into the other job later. You could react by being distraught that you didn’t get the job you wanted, or you could focus on the fact that you still got something. It might not be exactly what you want but it is better than nothing.
3.) Shoulds — Many anxiety sufferers have ways that they think things “should” work out. They think they “should” act a certain way. They “should” do this or “should” do that. End the should. There is no clear cut answer. Nobody says you have to act exactly a certain way to be a good mom, a good employee, a good friend. You might have your own personal way of doing things and just because it isn’t what you think “should” be done doesn’t mean it is wrong. When we always think about things in black and white it is putting an awful lot of pressure on ourselves and the people around us. There are so many different colors in the middle, so many other options.
It might feel impossible to tackle these patterns on your own, and that is ok. It may be helpful to you to seek out a therapist to help establish these coping techniques. It is also helpful to get a friend or close family member on board, surround yourself with positive people who will cheer you on and lift you up. The psychologists at Wellness Psychological Services are uniquely and expertly specialized in helping you target these kinds thoughts. We welcome the chance to discuss an individualized plan to meet your needs. Contact us for an appointment anytime.