I do a lot of talking about my feelings and what anxiety looks like to me. I thought I would share some of the things that I do when I get anxious to reduce my anxiety levels. I have different strategies for different levels. I usually just wing it and do what feels right in that moment. A lot of the hard work is determining what the cause of the anxiety is, I’m usually pretty good at working it out but sometimes, I get stumped and just have to remove myself from the situation.
Slow Controlled Breathing – This is my number one strategy, no matter the level of my anxiety. I always slow down, take a minute to take a few deep, controlled breaths. I find that stopping and taking time to control my breathing helps me acknowledge my anxiety and what I need to do next to reduce it’s hold on me. It also helps to reduce my heart rate, so a panic attack has less chance of rearing its ugly head.
Making lists – when I’m restless and I can’t stop moving around, it’s usually because I have a lot of ‘to do’ tasks on my mind. So I take myself away from all stimulation so that I can write down what I want to do and how I will achieve those things. I have multiple ‘to do’ lists separated into different categories. Other wise my to do list would be huge and I would get overwhelmed just looking at it. At the moment I have an exercise/health list, a home improvement list (and a folder of pictures on my phone), a blog improvement list and a list of other miscellaneous tasks that I would like to achieve.
Brain dump – This has been my lifesaver for those Deer in headlights moments. Basically when I’m so overwhelmed I’m about to have a breakdown. This is a document on my computer where I just write everything that comes to mind. I write down exactly what I’m thinking when I think of it, so it’s often in a nonsensical trail. This really helps me to explore the cause of my anxiety and what triggered it and how I would like to move forward. Sometimes I use the notes app on my phone if I don’t have my computer.
Exercise – This is just a general maintenance strategy for a healthy brain and body. I do notice that I am slightly more on edge when I don’t exercise. If I don’t exercise for a long period of time I quickly fall into what I like to call ‘the sads’, basically a mild depressive state. I get quite negative about everything and its tricky to call myself out on it. So it’s pretty important that I exercise regularly to keep the endorphins running through my brain.
Cleaning/Tidying/Culling – I kind of go into auto pilot mode and my brain just thinks what It needs to think whilst I concentrate on a task. I don’t really get the chance to focus on a thought, the thought just kind of floats through the space. I acknowledge that thought and continue with my cleaning task. I guess my brain likes doing this as cleaning the physical side of things somehow helps me to gain more clarity in my mind.
I guess those 5 are the ones that I rely on the most when my mate anxiety is laying it on thick. Other times when I’m restless or just feeling a little off I might read, colour in, watch a funny show or movie (get me smiling and laughing to improve my mood), read affirmations & positive posts (to help give me some inspiration and strength), have a cup of tea or maybe book in a float. Your turn, what do you do to dull the noise of your anxiety?