I just wanted to add a little intro as I wrote this a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t sure if I would actually post this or not but I found writing it a great distraction. I finally decided that since I haven’t done an Anxiety Tip in quite a while I would post it and hope it helps one of you! I wrote a Five Step Guide of what I mentally do when anxiety starts to take over! So lets go back a few weeks….
I am currently sitting writing this on my cellphone, while sitting in a lovely little park area. I have a water feature just behind me and the air is cool and fresh. It is just after 10.30am and it is the first time in quite awhile (a couple of month at least) that I feel anxious enough that I feel I may be sick. Now. I’m not writing this as a ‘I’m having such a bad day, poor me’ post but rather to share ‘what I do when anxiety hits’ type post. I want to write down what I am doing to stop my anxiety taking over my brain!
Five Step Guide
1. Take a break from the situation you’re in, even if that is just for 5 minutes. Get some fresh air, walk around the block or even take a bathroom break. Or distract yourself with a hobby, write a blog post for example. ;p
2. Give yourself a few minutes to feel anxious. Yes you read that correctly. Often when you’re anxious you are worrying about something. Trying to suppress that will not make it go away but will more likely make it worse. BUT remember that it is only a few minutes, don’t get caught in the anxiety trap. After a set amount of time, I normally do 2 minutes, stop and carry on with the following steps. NOTE: while letting yourself be anxious, try figure out what exactly it is that has made you start feeling anxious. A conversation with someone? A deadline coming up? A event you are planning on attending? This can help rationalize what is going on in your mind.
3. Remember that anxiety is normal. Anxiety is like any other emotion, you need a level of it in your life, just like being happy, sad or angry. Allowing yourself to feel it and recognize that IT IS OKAY TO FEEL ANXIOUS can make a big difference. In saying that if you feel you’re feeling anxious more than what is usual for you, have a chat to someone about it. 🙂
4. Remember to breath naturally, I was told so often to take deep breathes that I would make myself light headed from taking in too much air (go figure). Make sure you’re not breathing too fast and shallow but not too deep and slow either. I usually breathe in for 4 counts and out for 4 counts. Also, don’t hold your breath, I learnt the hard way that it is not a good idea!
5. Give yourself permission to stop feeling anxious. This is so much harder than it sounds. I will be writing a whole blog post on this topic as it has made a huge difference for me but it was so bloody hard and took so long to do I thought the idea of it was ridiculous. Try say to yourself, okay I have had time to feel anxious, it is now time to carry on with the day. You may have to keep reminding yourself of this many times (I know I do) but it can help stop the reoccurring thought process!
Okay! You have had a break. You have allowed yourself a few minutes to feel the emotions your body is telling you it needs. Your breathing (hopefully) is back to normal. Now, it is okay to park it and move on. For lack of a better term.
I’m not going to lie it has taken longer than 5 minutes to type this on my phone. BUT, I honestly feel a lot better now than I did at the start. I still have ‘butterflies’ in my tummy but I can deal with that. Plus again that is normal after a decent bout of anxiety!
Time to go back to ‘the real world’ now. *sigh. I hope this will be as helpful to you as it has been to me!