You have anxiety and have probably been living with it your entire life. I completely understand. That’s because I’ve struggled with this condition ever since I can remember.
Here are 10 small things you can do each day to help stay calm. You may think a few of these are silly. That’s OK. Try them anyway. What do you have to lose?
1. When you wake up in the morning and your mind starts rattling off a “to-do” list, take a deep breath. Focus your awareness on the moment. Using your five senses, identify what’s going on around you. This can help soften obsessiveness, and remove the sense of dread you might be feeling.
2. Find some quick humor by visiting a funny meme page on Facebook or checking out a comic strip from a newspaper. There are even apps you can download to get your funny on. The idea is to laugh and get out of your head.
3. Practice gratitude by finding something to be grateful for. It could be a friendship, your health or simply having an extra can of soup in the cupboard. This will help to focus your mind on the positive instead of the negative.
4. Do one task at a time. Don’t allow yourself to play the game of multi-tasking. Not only will it make your anxiety worse, research tells us most of us aren’t good at it.
5. Lean into your anxiety by doing something productive. This could be scrubbing out the sink or mopping the floor. Trying to pretend you aren’t feeling anxious only makes things worse. Do something constructive with that energy that benefits you in the long run.
6. Carry apples with you. The hard truth about living with anxiety is nervous eating. In many cases, this means reaching for whatever is in front of us (even when it’s unhealthy). If you are going to snack, why not consume something healthy? Apples are great because they give your mouth something crunchy to munch on while delivering fiber and vitamin C to your body.
7. Put money in your piggy bank each day. This can help you feel like you are doing something about financial stress; a common source of anxiety. It could be $1.00 or $10.00. The amount doesn’t matter. What does matter is the peace of mind you will gain by knowing you are saving.
8. Move your body. This could be something simple, such as a walk around the block or doing some quick jumping jacks. You don’t have to start a gym routine (although that doesn’t hurt). By becoming more physically active, you give all that energy you are carrying a place to discharge.
9. If you drink coffee, try having just one cup. Better yet, switch to 50/50. Sure, you could move over to decaf but that could feel like punishment. The point is to reduce the number of stimulants you put into your body. Think about it. You are already wound up – do you really need to amplify that?
10. Don’t be ashamed of your anxiety – instead, learn to accept it. Shame does nothing but makes you feel worse. Additionally, it makes anxiety stronger. By accepting that this is something you live with, anxiety’s grip lessens.
Yes, it’s difficult living with anxiety. I understand this all too well. That’s why you need to find the joy in your day, and do what you can to manage in healthy ways. Hopefully, one or more of the tips will help you on your journey.