Sometimes life is overwhelming. Things are happening all around you that you cannot control and it’s hard. Maybe you’re dealing with uncertainty with your health, your relationships, finances, or your job.
My immediate reaction when I feel like things are spiraling out of my control is to grip that situation as tightly as I can. I want to manage it, fix it, control it, fight against it. Anxiety and fear of uncertainty can be paralyzing. In my own life, I am dancing with the anxiety caused by the uncertainty of my health and what my life will look like in the next 6 months. I so easily get sucked into the rabbit hole of “what if” and often allow these worries to suck the life out of the current moment.
The thing is, as much as we resist or worry, we cannot control everything around us. Anxiety is winning when we give it the power to make us believe that our worries are helpful. We aren’t meant to worry ourselves into oblivion. We are meant to live one breath at a time. We are meant to thrive. This is something that I have to work towards everyday, but there are a few things that make the effort easier.
As cheesy as it counts, keeping a journal can help with anxiety and overload. This practice has been used by artists, writers, and even therapists throughout the years. We internalize so much information and we often do that with our fears and anxieties as well. Brain-dumping the contents of your heart and mind onto paper can be really freeing. You have expressed those worrisome thoughts in ink and there you can leave them. They no longer need to take up space in your brain. It has taken daily journaling, but I have noticed a difference through this practice and have grown to love it.
2) Belly Breathe
If your anxiety is at its peak, one way to bring it down a few notches is to practice belly breathing. It sounds weird, but it’s actually really helpful! When we are anxious, our brain stops functioning at its best. The logical and emotional sides are no longer communicating like they should. Belly breathing helps get the two halves working together again. Find a comfortable place. Sit still, but relaxed, and breathe a deep breathe. Let that breath go down into your stomach and watch it expand. Hold that breath in for 2 seconds and release it. Do that for a few minutes and notice the difference. You have given your brain the oxygen and communication that it needs. I felt really stupid about doing this exercise at first, but honestly it has been a game changer when I’ve gotten overwhelmed.
Some people feel their anxiety mentally while others have a physical connection to this distress. Exercising is a great way to release those endorphins and channel nervous energy. Running helps me when I’m feeling jittery, but yoga is best when I need relaxation or calm. Even doing physical work, like when I’m making my pottery helps me so much.
Okay, another “weird” one, but meditation is actually great for calming you down and putting things into perspective. There’s actually an app for that! CALM is an amazing app that a counselor told me about recently. It guides you through mediation, telling you how to relax your body as well as your mind. There are different meditations for different moods and scenarios like work stress or bedtime! I’m a fan.
Anxiety is something that so many people deal with, myself included. It took me a long time to add these tools into my life, but they have really helped me keep a level head and have gradually helped me improve my daily life. My hope is that these tools are helpful for you as well. Just know that you aren’t alone, and that everything will be okay. There are plans of good for you, no matter how things may seem in the moment.