By Elizabeth Earnshaw, LMFT
Do you find yourself spending your days in high alert. Feeling worried and struggling to stay focused and calm? After a long day you climb into bed and you struggle to rest your mind. You notice your thoughts keep you up all night, perhaps your heart is racing, or your muscles are clenched. Maybe you notice yourself having too much energy – struggling to relax – always cleaning to house, staying busy with friends or distracting yourself with your phone. You might notice yourself experiencing the “what if’s” – “What if I lose my house?”, “What if I embarrass myself at the party”, “What if I get fired from my job”. People experiencing anxiety describe it as a “drowning” feeling. Difficulty breathing and too overwhelmed to find ways to calm down or solve problems.
I would like to share with you 5 ways to manage your anxiety. While this is not a replacement for professional help, my hope is that these tips will help you to relieve some of the constant worry or physical tension you are feeling.
5 Ways to Manage Anxiety
- Talk about it: Anxiety has a funny way of creating a continuous loop of worry. Your thoughts can snow ball and then drop off without any true resolve, only to pop up again later in the day. Talking about your worries out loud helps to not only release the tension and vent but often also helps the conversation end with more understanding of what you are thinking or feeling.
- Go for a run: Or, if running is not your thing do yoga, jumping jacks, or dance. Anxiety creates a physical build up of tension and exercising or moving can provide relief. Not to mention that endorphins help to enhance your mood.
- Pay attention to what you can control: Anxiety wants you to pay attention to all of the things you cannot control – the future, the past, the what if’s. Take a moment to pay attention to all of the things that you can control. Who can you call? What action can you take? What can you do in the moment to feel better.
- Practice self care– Self care does not have to extravagant. It can be washing your face, taking a nice shower, or listening to music you like. It is the act of recognizing your self and what you need in the moment.
- Breathe – Learning to control your breath is a major game changer if you experience anxiety. Anxiety creates the sensation of shallow breathing and this sensation can actually cause an anxious mind to feel as if you are suffocating – sometimes leading to panic. Learning to slowly and deeply breathe through your nose and into your belly and then slowly exhaling can help you to regulate breathing, even when it is hard.
If you believe you are struggling to manage anxiety and it is interrupting your functioning, we would like to help. You can read more about anxiety by following this link and more about our anxiety therapists here.