Anxiety: 10 Ways to Deal with, Work Through, Cope with & Overcome Anxiety + Worry
We're a lot more the same than we are different and anxiety is something we have all felt to some degree. For some of us, it's something we deal with more often. Focusing on how we are all connected decreases stigma and brings the humanity back. Today's blog was very highly requested is all about anxiety. A huge topic. I know. I tried my best to tackle it for you guys and I think that these 10 tips will help alleviate anxiety for you regardless of where you sit on the spectrum of it.
When we stay stuck in the past on negative events or things that were hard for our brain to understand ie: traumas, past mistakes, wrong-doings, injustices, things that hurt us, made us angry, unfairness, maybe things still lingering that we didn’t get closure on, and so on...that’s when depression can come about. Living in the past.
Anxiety though, is a whole other ballpark. It stems from not being sure of the future or having bad thoughts about, doubts or negative exaggerations about the future. Essentially, worrying or feeling out of control/not in control of a situation or future situation that hasn’t happened yet. So, in essence, if we live too much in the past we can be at risk of depression and if we psyche ourselves out about the future a lot, we are at risk for anxiety. Anxiety is obviously something we’ve all experienced at different stages in our lives and on various levels of intensity throughout life.
Now, since it’ll be nearly impossible for me to go through every event or situation that can cause anxiety for people (with every person being uniquely different in this way and with all the permutations and combinations of it) I’m not going to focus on specifics. Instead, I’m going to take a more general over-arching approach to helping guide you through anxiety. These tips can help you regardless of how you’re talking about anxiety. It’s a term that’s thrown around casually nowadays but also has great depth of meaning in the World of mental health and can be a serious issue for some.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional or a psychiatrist. But, I do have a psychology background and used to be a counsellor helping people with mental health issues. I also use these 10 ideas below to help my clients even now who face anxiety. Anxiety and feeling it should not be stigmatized as with any emotion, or natural human feeling. Again, we are more the same than different and focusing on how we all experience the same type of problems but they’re just packaged differently, helps connect us and approach things with more empathy, understanding and humanity.
I highly recommend listening to the podcast episode on this, above to the right of you on this very page as it’s a better experience when talking about these types of things. But, if you can’t right now, I’ve included a full written transcript below for you after my 10 tips on dealing with anxiety. Also, I recommend reading and listening to this on fear and this one on positive thinking.
10 WAYS TO DEAL WITH ANXIETY
1. CHOOSE 3 WORDS OF INTENT + AFFIRMATION ONTO HOW YOU WANT TO SHOW UP AS
Choose 3 affirmative and intentional words for yourself that you say out loud every morning (or anytime you need a reminder). Try putting them into your phone, set alarms or even assess how you did at the end of the day at night.
I am present, I am calm, I am energetic.
You can replace these with any words you like. This helps set an intention of how to show up that day. I suggest having 3 words for how you will act when around other people and a separate set for yourself. The 3 words for how you will behave around others may be, (for example)…I am patient, I am empathetic, I am present.
You can use triggers like a doorway to reinstate the 3 words again in your mind or out loud. This helps guide you onto how you want to be internally and externally in the World and allows you to empower yourself onto actually being and behaving in the ways your best self would. It helps us stay on track to how we want to show up as and gives us power over our minds because we chose the words ourselves and it’s what we want. Anxiety finds it hard to creep in when you’re intentional and affirmative in your day.
Your best/highest self intention:
I am ______.
I am ______.
I am ______.
2. USING WRITING AS A TOOL
Use writing as a tool after times of overwhelm and write down anything that comes to mind. Verbal vomit it all out! Tmi? Sorry, not sorry. Try asking the question of why you felt the way you did and write your answers. You can also use your audio recording tool on your phone if you prefer that, too. Writing is extremely powerful and can definitely help alleviate anxiety. Most people find that doing this feels as if a weight has been lifted off of their shoulders. They feel lighter after doing it and they can learn from their why’s for next time. It also helps with the release of and reassessment of anxiety.
3. BE CURIOUS
Being curious about our feelings and our why behind why we are feeling what we are feeling as we are feeling it is a form of introspection rather than judging. It also allows the mind to calm down and focus on something other than the anxiety itself. Try to see your emotions as passing by like clouds with loving kindness and non-judgement upon yourself. Focus on curiosity. Be curious. Ask questions. Notice. Try taking yourself out of it to gain more perspective in an objective sense. Try to detach from the personal aspects of it and focus on what you can control.
4. ASK YOURSELF IF YOU ARE BEING PRESENT
You can’t live somewhere that hasn’t happened yet, right? The present is truly a gift. Unwrap it for yourself and live in it. Bask in it. Be in awe of it. Notice it. Be mindful of it.
Worrying about the future takes away the magnificence of the present moment.
Check in throughout the day and ask yourself if you’re currently freaking out about something in the past or in the future. A lot of the times we aren’t even in the very moment we’re in. Notice things around you. Take time to think about the present moment. What’s happening right now and what you can control right now. If worries or anxiety about the future or the feeling of a lack of control try to succumb you often, perhaps use a tattoo or your phone as a trigger to pop the question in your mind, “Am I being present right now?” and “Where am I right now? The past, future, or here in the present?” Once you figure out you aren’t living and thinking in the present moment, try to shift back to the present moment, be mindful, notice (don’t judge) and see that that’s where you’re at. The act of simply noticing and asking yourself this helps ground us in times of anxiety (especially smaller, less intense bouts of it). This may feel forced at first, but with time it will become more natural.
5. BECOMING MORE SELF-AWARE
Trying to become more self aware when anxiety or overwhelm strikes really helps us identify our triggers. A lot of the times when we’re anxious, we aren’t even sure why! Well, how can we combat anxiety if we don’t know why we are feeling it in the first place? Getting to the root cause helps a lot more than just band-aiding the situation (as it does in most cases in life). Anxiety is no different. As hard as it can be, try to become more self aware when you are feeling anxious or worrying about something. Notice what happened right before those feelings or sensations. Write it down, talk to someone, seek help etc. Self awareness allows us more freedom onto solving problems, conquering worry and a clue onto why it may be happening in the first place. It also distracts us upon the feelings of anxiousness or worry and gets us thinking about it in a more introspective, realistic, problem-solving approach.
6. SETTING A WORRY TIMER
This one is a client fav of mine! Next time you have anxiety or are worrying a lot, set a timer for 10-20 minutes for your “worry time.” Feel what you feel, worry, be anxious about, let it out. Do what you gotta’ do. Then, once the time is up, go back to your day. We often get sucked into a never-ending hole that in most cases can ruin our entire day, week, month etc. Instead of 1 hour turning into 2, then 4, then 8…set a timer for up to 1 hour (depending on case by case) and then, get back to your day. This is not to suppress what you’re feeling, this is to let it out in a healthy and natural way (feel it, of course, don’t ever suppress…it’ll only come about stronger at a later time as with any emotion or conflict you’re having), but it gives you a guideline so your slip doesn’t turn into a slide. So, next time your “thoughts train” triggers and goes off, set a timer and then, once it goes off, it’s time to back to your day and reset your perspective. Many of the World’s most successful people do this even with sadness, anger and other emotions or things that psyche us out or stress us out during the day. They give limits to themselves and are disciplined enough to follow through on those limits. Try this next time and see how it changes the course of your day!
7. NATURE NATURE AND MORE NATURE
When you feel anxious, getting outside in nature or to places you get "lost" in really help us gain perspective and get us grounded again. When we are in a different environment or surrounded by nature, it’s extremely humbling to see how small a lot of the things we’re playing out to be huge in our heads really are. I personally love star gazing and astronomy at times of distress or overwhelm (anytime, really though), or getting lost in tall woods or forested areas. For you, it may be the beach, listening to the waves, or a walk in a special park. Even your favourite street or part of town! Whatever it may be for you, getting outside and breathing the fresh air does wonders. More on the importance of connectedness to nature here. As a bonus too, being out in nature usually brings about feelings of awe, wonder and gratitude. Which, by the way…it’s nearly impossible to feel anxious when you’re feeling gratitude. Just sayin’.
8. DO MORE THINGS YOU LOVE
Doing more of what we love helps alleviate anxiety and worry! If you love yoga, music, playing an instrument, photography, reading, music, working out, art etc, do more of it and try incorporating more of these things into your daily life! At times, it may be helpful to watch your fav movie, something that makes you laugh or your fav show to distract you away from anxiety or worry. Of course, distraction is a quick fix and can be effective in reducing your anxiety right away but it’s a band-aid solution at the end of the day. We shouldn’t be distracting our way out of anxiety in the long-run. But, if it helps you out in the short-run, then go for it!
Aside from distraction though, our hobbies and things we love to do for even 10 minutes a day helps us a lot beyond just taking our minds off of anxiety or worry. Living into our hobbies and getting creative or in flow with something that we adore promotes overall well-being and is a form of self-care and self-love.
9. BASK IN IMPERMANENCE
Know that no emotion or feeling lasts forever. Nothing is constant and this too, as everything has, will pass. What you are feeling when you are experiencing anxiety, has never stayed with you forever, continuously. Nor will it this time (even when it feels like it won’t come to an end), it will pass. Everything in life is an ebb and flow. I know it can sometimes feel frustrating when people tell you that what you’re feeling isn’t going to happen or based in reality, or that it’s something that you’re just feeling or to calm down or “snap out of it.” I’m not trying to say that or invalidate your feelings. What you are feeling is real to you, in your perception, of course. However, if what I state is leaning towards a shift in mindset or reframing certain things, building a different framework around thinking about anxiety, it’s because perspective does make a huge difference in our lives and in our minds. And, the perspective of impermanence in particular is a key perspective when it comes to overwhelm. Reminding ourselves that all emotions and feelings pass not only helps us feel more in control, but also gives us something to look forward to.
Tidbit: We can also try to find the silver lining in our experiences and see what we can learn from them instead of dwelling in negativity.
Mindfulness and meditation have a plethora of beneficial effects and there’s no doubt it’s something everyone no matter what should be doing and incorporating into their daily routine. There’s a reason many of the World’s most successful practice this. I suggest you do your own research on the benefits of meditation and mindfulness but essentially, it increases mindfulness and our ability to become more aware and present. It gives us the opportunity to learn so much about ourselves and our minds, in the best way. Sometimes even just counting to 10 or breathing deeply does the trick! We all have our coping mechanisms, but the app I recommend to everyone is the Calm app. I talked about it in my top 20 apps blog. I’ve personally been using Calm since they first came out with one of their first and most basic versions. This is by no means sponsored (none of my content or podcasts are), read more about that, here. But I love it and it’s helped so many people become more mindful and at peace! Meditation is such an amazing tool and it’s one you must have in your toolbox if anxiety is something you’re going through more in your life right now.
If you don’t want to use an app, you can always do your own meditation, too! Try going onto YouTube and searching some techniques there (there’s tons of resources online, too). Or, just put on some calming music and repeat a word that helps you release tension, stress or anxiety over and over again. There are of course more advanced techniques that I love like Vipassana, one of India’s most ancient techniques. My nanaji (grandfather) was a meditation and yog (yoga) guru/master so naturally I’m obsessed with it! Having said all this, I do recommend guided ones for beginners though and the Calm app is a great start.
Gaining facts, cross-checking them to objective truths, understanding likelihoods, grounding ourselves, humbling ourselves in nature, engaging in things we love, mindfulness, self awareness, presence, setting a worry timer, expressing how we feel through writing or audio recordings, talking to others, getting social support, practicing non-judgement, setting intentions etc helps us get through anxiety because it allows us to learn and integrate new information about it.
When we make things intense for ourselves, and view things as a threat, our minds react to that. And, when I say “we make things so for ourselves” I come from an empowering approach. So when I say this, I mean we are in control of our minds. Not the other way around.
Now, I am not discounting other causes that may be linked to anxiety (ie: genetics, hereditary etc) but those are not fully clear either, yet. With any research or data in science, any studies done, of course things can always change with new information so I won’t go into it in depth. It’s hard to say many things when it comes to mental health is caused by one sole factor. A lot of these things are multidimensional. Having said that, we can build up our lives to have many buffers against these types of things with how we live, our daily routines, our perspectives, the ways we think, how we approach things, our thought patterns and so on. Nothing is final. If you are in a bad place right now, know that you can come out of it. If you got into that place, you can come out. Seeking therapy or social support is never out of the question and should definitely be explored if you are feeling you need further help.
Of course, when I say all of this above too, please do not take this in an insensitive way towards mental health. I am very well aware there are certain psychological “disorders” (don’t like that word because of the stigma, but I’ll say it anyway as it’s a general term), where it may be a lot more complicated in terms of other factors interplaying with each other and so on. I am speaking of anxiety only in this blog post. When it comes to mental health, it’s a touchy subject. I want you to take this blog post on both a light sense of casually feeling anxious or worrying and on a more serious level, too, if it’s something you struggle with a lot. At the end of the day, it stemmed somehow and if it generated within our minds, it can be reprogrammed there, too. I truly believe our minds are so powerful and with willpower, resilience and effort, we can do incredible things and overcome just about anything. It just takes work. Please know all of this comes out of a place of pure love for you in overcoming anxiety.
I hope these 10 tips helped you and resonated with you! If there’s someone you know who you think would benefit from reading this or listening in to the podcast episode on this, then follow the 1 x 1 rule and share it!
FULL TRANSCRIPT OF TODAY'S EPISODE:
PLEASE NOTE BEFORE READING: I highly recommend you listen into the podcast show instead of reading through this transcript as this is done through a digital means. There may be errors in words, spelling, grammar and transcribing accuracy as a whole that don’t fully align with what was said during the podcast episode, so just keep that in mind. But, it’s here for you just in case you’d prefer to read through.
Today I'm going to be talking about anxiety and yes, I know anxiety is a huge topic, but I'm going to try my best to tackle it today for you guys. This has been super highly requested. Now I'm not a medical professional or a psychiatrist, but I do have a psychology background and I used to be a counselor so I've dealt a lot with anxiety, depression and mental health in general. Today I want to share with you what has worked a lot for my clients in the past and the 10 things that I find really helps people cope with or strategize around their anxiety.
Now, I don't know where you sit on the spectrum of anxiety if it's something that you're talking about in dealing with in a more general sense because it's a word that's used very casually nowadays, but it also has a lot of depth of meaning and it's a serious problem for some people. Some people struggle with it every single day, so I don't know where you are on that spectrum, but I hope regardless where you sit on that spectrum, if the anxiety is something that is full blown for you, something that you've struggled with for a lot of years or if it's something on a lower grade, I hope that these tips and tricks and these things that I recommend that have worked really well for a lot of people as a coping mechanism or a way in which they deal with their anxiety. I hope that it can help you to today and having said that too, before I get into the show, I just want to put out a disclaimer.
I'm not going to be talking about or going into anxiety in depth in terms of neurological basis, genetic factors and all of those kind of multidimensional causes of anxiety or an anxiety disorder. I hate using the word disorder, but you know, it's just a general term to explain people who have it reoccurring and an anxiety disorder is a real thing. I just don't like the stigmatizing effects of the word disorder. So I hope you know what I'm talking about here, but I think that if you listen to this podcast and you struggle with anxiety and worrying and constantly thinking about the future and you know, having those anxiety and anxious sensations overcoming your body or you've had panic attacks in the past, I think that these strategies may help you and all in all, regardless if you know this isn't as intense as you'd like me to go into depth with, I think it's going to help anybody on the spectrum to just listen to this and to share it with people who you know, maybe struggle, anxiety themselves for the most part, when we stay stuck in the past of negative events or things that were hard for our brain to understand Traumas, past mistakes, wrong doings injustices, things that have hurt us, made us angry and so on.
That's when depression can come about living in the past and ruminating about it and not being at peace with it and being confused about it. Anxiety though is a whole other ballpark. It stems from not being sure of the future or having bad thoughts about doubts or negative exaggerations about the future, so in essence, if we live too much in the past, we can be at risk of depression and if we psych ourselves out about the future a lot, we're at risk for anxiety and anxiousness and there's of course a difference between being excited for the future planning for and executing than worrying about it. What I like to tell my clients that may be anxious and struggle with anxiety for a certain event or project or say they're delivering her speech on stage or a conference they're speaking at relating to people, for example, who have stage fright.
The feelings we get that overcome our bodies are very similar. Whether it's perceived as excitement or fear and anxiety, our heart rate goes up. We may get clammy hands. We may need to take some deep breaths. We may need to jump up and down because we are overwhelmed with a lot of physical sensation. We can feel a bit crazy and flustered, but it's also in how you see it and your perspective. You can see that you're scared to go up on stage or you can see that you're super crazy excited and the body reasons the same with our nerves in both ways. The thing is that we've advanced as a society really quickly, but our brain and our neurology hasn't been able to keep up in a huge way. Our brain is still quite primitive and still runs from evolutionary drives and things that have been conditioned and wired into our brains for a long time.
For example, we are wired to really like fatty rich foods because back in the day, our ancestors wouldn't know when they would have their next meal, so our body gives out a fighter flight response to many different situations and experiences we may be having and cortisol release. Similarly, in various situations, regardless of the intensity, meaning that the same things may light up in your brain. If you're being attacked by a cheetah or you're about to deliver a speech and you have stage fright. So if you make it intense for yourself and you're scared of the future, then your body responds to that. And our minds are extremely powerful. So it's up to us to be able to take that physical energy and those sensations that we're feeling and be able to express them in some way. One thing I recommend for my clients who for example, have anxiety for stage fright or things that they're doing in everyday life, that they're just kind of not having the confidence to do more anxiety around that.
I tell them to exude and use that pent up physical energy and turn it into excitement. So jump up and down. Do Jumping Jacks. Do something that expresses that physicality that you're feeling and it a lot of the time helps them to just reframe it into excitement. Now, anxiety, like I said, is a huge umbrella topic and it's going to be impossible for me to go through every single situation that can make people anxious, but what I will try to do is give you kind of a framework in how to deal with it in your brain. And then also 10 steps that I recommend to clients and I recommend to people that I've also researched into that tends to help tons of people who do live with anxiety. So like I said, if you make it intense for yourself and you're scared of the future, your body responds to that.
Our minds are extremely powerful and anxiety is our imagination, in essence, going off in destructive ways that rarely exist in reality. Ninety nine percent of the things you worry about don't even happen. For example, if you're worrying about a car hitting you every time you cross the road and you're worrying about it and going over in your head and asking, what if that happened to you and ruminating about the car potentially hitting you when you crossed the road. That is an irrational fear because how many times has that actually happened to you? And I'm so sorry if that's actually happened to you. Not to discount outliers at all. They're always gonna be outliers in any case, but I'm just saying statistically speaking around the consensus onto the likelihood in an objective sense. So going back to the example, a lot of people are anxious of flying on a plane, but when you look at the statistics of the fear of going on a flight, but the amount of time a plane crashes and something actually goes wrong in a plane is very low compared to the likelihood of it happening in a car and a lot of people aren't too anxious about car rides compared to plane rides now.
That also is affected by the availability bias and media and what is projected to us and what we consume. But when I give you these tips too, I want you to know that I'm meeting them in a general sense to alleviate and better your anxiety feeling. So making it less than actually. So when I say alleviate, I mean lessen the symptoms of anxiety. Having an anxiety disorder is serious and I don't mean to undermine that. All I want to do is shed some light on what I've seen that has helped and I think that could help you to wherever you sit on the spectrum. One thing too, before we get into the 10 things that I want to share with you, we all have experienced anxiety before, so there's no reason and need to stigmatize things and call things out on people who may be dealing with it in a heightened sense and when I say that, when you allow your thoughts to get intense, etc.
Etc. And when I say the words, when you allow this, I mean this in an empowered way. I like to give you the power over your mind, not the other way around and I think the biggest thing in terms of building a framework around anxiety is to know that you are in control to believe that you have the power and that you are causing it and that sometimes may not be nice to hear, but I find it to be empowering too because when we know we are the cause of something, we have the power to fix it. Now again, as I've mentioned probably a bazillion times, I'm not undermining other causes. I'm just sAying that using this framework to think about anxiety really helps empower people and when It comes to some of the other factors like genetics or a neurological basis that may or may not be related, it's not super clear and of course anything can change with new research and data.
Having said that, I'm not going to be speaking to that today, but I do want to offer some help and hopefully some guidance onto this topic. Sometimes it may feel like we can't stop the waves from happening, but we can definitely learn how to surf and I love that analogy because it empowers us to be able to be curious and to learn how to cope and be resilient with what we're going through. Now. That doesn't mean you can't ever stop the waves because the waves did start somewhere and we're triggered at some point and like I talked about in my episode number two about positive thoughts. A lot of things are just habit loops and also loops in our brains that we've been reinforcing over time and those things can change. You just have to work at it. Again, I'm not discounting the genetic factors or the more serious factors and complicated causes of anxiety.
I'm just talking in a general sense, so similarly, like I said, about the waves. When you're feeling anxious, you can learn how to cope with a better and understand it more. Being curious always helps the mind get to the why and see it for what it is. I personally know people who have suffered with full blown anxiety disorders and I know it can seem really annoying if it's something you struggle with when everyone's constantly just telling you, oh well your greatest fears or worries aren't real and they're not going to happen. SometImes that's not so helpful, so I don't want to undermine that and I want to empathize with you and let you know that those things are valid and those are real things that you're feeling, but I also do believe that when it comes to mental health, not all of it, but when it comes to anxiety or depression or some sort of reoccurring emotion, it can start from a certain stem and triggers and where it can continue onwards to something bigger.
I still do believe in, I'll always have this, that with willpower and with our minds we can do incredible things and that's why I wanted to include some more options to that may not be as general as just saying, well, your fears and your worries aren't real because I get that, that that's not as helpful, but perspective does help in any case, for everybody, and if I say things that are more general, that kind of lean towards, well, the things that you're worrying about aren't real. If I'm leaning towards that, I mean that we need to see things in a more objective sense and try at least to pull ourselves out of it. To be able to combat anxiety. Sometimes we need to take a step back and gain some perspective in the world. Get lost in nature, do things that make us forget about our worries, time and stress, and we need to release.
So without further ado, here are my 10 steps to overcoming anxiety when it triggers you. These are in no particular order, but I find that these have really helped a lot of people out and I think it will help you too. So number one is choosing affirmative words for yourself that you say out loud every single morning or anytime you need a reminder. When I say this, I mean things that are intentional and what you would like to show up as that are affirming to you. so for example, I am present. I am calm, I am energetic. You can replace with any words you like, and this helps set an intention of how you want to show up that day. I suggest having these three words for how you'll interact with the people around you. For example, when you're one on one with someone else or you're going to interact with other human beings, then have another three set of words.
That is what you want to show up as as a person in that day. So the three words for being around people. Maybe I'm patient, I'm empathetic, I'm present. And then your other three words for you that want to describe your best self is I'm present. I'm calm. I'm energetic. You can use triggers like a doorway. Every time you walk through a doorway, every time you open a door, every time you do something very frequently to reinstate the three words again before you see other people and you can reinstate the three words of how you're going to be and act around them, and I find that when you have these three words that are affirmative to you, you have set an intention for who you're going to be that day and you can check in every couple of hours of how you're doing on that and if you would like, you can even keep a little note or a notepad of if you were able to be more present, more calm, more energetic, whatever that may be that day for you.
I find that that helps people with anxiety because it helps set an intention and also affirms the things that they want to be and how they want to act and be in the world. And I find that it really helps them just get focused on where they want to head towards and having that goal of working towards. Our best selves and having those three words in mind and just being self aware throughout the day if you are being those things, it really can help alleviate your anxiety symptoms. Number two is using a writing tool or using writing as a tool. After times of overwhelm and writing down anything that comes to mind, so basically verbal vomiting and the question I like to tell people to write down is why you felt the way you did and then write down your answers. You can also use an audio recording tool on your phone if you like.
If you don't want to write it down, you want to express it through words. It's really helpful because writing down after the time of overwhelm and after you have felt anxious and writing down anything that comes to mind, it helps you release. Not only does it help you release an express, but it really helps you look at patterns and see, okay, what may have caused me to feel that overwhelm and learn from that for the next situation. Number three, being curious about your feelings and why you're feeling what you're feeling as you're feeling it. Now I know that can be really hard to do, especially when you're feeling anxious because a lot of the times when I'm feeling anxious, we're not aware that we're feeling anxious, so trying to see the emotions as passing like clouds with loving kindness and nonjudgment upon yourself and focusing on curiosity really tends to help people who struggle with anxiety to detach from the kind of personal aspects of it and instead of focusing on what you can't control and worrying and worrying and worrying about the future and what you can't control.
Try to focus on what you can control. Try to focus on two to three things that you have in control right then and there. No matter what the situation, try to think of just three things that you're controlling right now and that may be as small as I'm controlling the movement of my body or I'm controlling where I'm sitting in a room or I'm controlling what I'm going to be doing tomorrow or later tonight. So just small things that you can focus on of control. When the locus of control tries to creep away from you, try to focus on what you are able to control. When those sensations come and try to overtake your body because at the end of the day you are controlling your mind and a lot of the time anxiety continues because of these reinforcements and these kind of loops or suppression that has been happening and the more you suppress and the more you have anxiety, you know, breakthroughs happening, and then you suppress tryIng to compute that in your brain.
It's just going to come out stronger next time and with any emotion, the more we suppress it and don't feel it and don't express it, it just comes about stronger later at a different time in our lives. So just try to be curious about why you're feeling what you're feeling as you're feeling it, as much as you possibly can, so anytime you're feeling anxious, try to be curious about why you're feeling what you're feeling and try to take a step back and notice when you are feeling anxious and try to ask yourself why and be curious about it. Number four, ask yourself if you're being present, perhaps use something as a trigger. Notice when you're focusing on the past or in the future, which with anxiety a lot of the time it's in the future, it's worrying about the future and exaggerating what can happen and just constant states of worry about the future, something that hasn't happened yet, so maybe you can use a trigger.
Maybe you can use a tattoo you have on your body. Maybe you can use something you see every single day. Maybe you can use your phone, set up something as a trigger that conditions you'd ask yourself if you're being present, set up alarms and reminders on your phone. If you have to soon, it will become second nature to ask yourself, am I being present right now? Or am I thinking about something in the future or in the past? Because most of the time, we're not present in the moment and what thinking about the future is doing, especially if you're doing it in a negative way, is it's taking away the joy from the present moment, the ability to live in the potential of the present moment. So next time you're feeling anxious and you're self aware enough to know that, okay, this is happening to me right now.
Ask yourself if you're being present or what caused you to feel those sensations. Number five, try to become more self aware in general when it comes to your anxiety or overwhelm strikes you and try to notice what your triggers are. This is extremely important. There are so many people who suffer with anxiety and who have anxiety and struggle with it, but they're not even aware when it strikes them, so trying to be more mindful and aware of when it's happening is extremely important because when you can be more mindful and aware and notice what your triggers are, meaning what caused that reaction for you and your body. WheN those thoughts and that rumination and then worrying and then that kind of loop it goes through, that's when you can get right down to changing up how you respond to those triggers because how are you going to change your reaction and coping mechanism if you don't even know what the triggers are, so trying to put more effort into finding out what the triggers are and then beIng able to either replace those triggers, trying to avoid those triggers, but also trying to be friend them and understand and be curious about being in the situations and responding to them differently.
When those triggers do happen. If there's something that you can avoid and avoidance is never really a good strategy, but it depends on case by case. In fact, a big way in which people overcome their fears is that they don't avoid it and they in fact expose themselves to it little by little until they can build it up. But of course it's case by case. So if there's something that makes you anxious unnecessarily and it's something you can avoid and it's something that really doesn't make a difference, then go ahead and avoid it, but if it's something that you can't avoid, then maybe look at either replacing it or be friending it and being more curious about why that triggers you and where it comes from. Number six, setting a worry time timer, so setting a timer for 10 to 30 minutes or even up to an hour after something really triggers your anxiety or thoughts, train, and if something very bad has happened to you or affected you, you can of course use up to an hour or two.
But once the timer or sound goes off, it's time to get back to your day and reset your perspective. I find that setting a timer for worried time really tends to help people because it's a set time for that expression so you're not suppressing the feelings or emotion, but you're also not getting wallowed into a deep dark hole where you're just going to stay there. I mean, you 100 percent should feel what you're feeling and you know, be mindful about it, think about it and allow that to happen and not suppress it and avoid it, but with a time limit because often if you have no time limit, you'll just go on forever, right? Not forever because I mean if you think about it, there hasn't really been a time where you've been anxious for forever. That's just not humanly possible. Things ebb and flow, so anything that you're feeling right now or anything that you felt when you were anxious, there's times in your life later on where you weren't feeling bad anymore.
So try setting a timer for 10 to 20 minutes for your worry time and get it all out at that point and then just program your mind to get back to the day after that. Number seven, go outside in nature or places you love to get lost and to get grounded again. Nature and special places in where you live or where you are. For example, the beach or the woods or anything that has to do with nature, watching the stars at night, whatever that may be for you, going outside in nature, breathing the fresh air, or even if you live in an urban city, just walking around your favorite street or your favorite park or somewhere that's your special place really helps you get grounded. Again, nature has been shown time and time again that in as little as 10 minutes, it can reduce feelings of stress and promote feelings of wellbeing and the research has been there for a long time on nature and if you like to learn a little bit more, I think I go a tiny bit more in depth in my first ever podcast.
Number one episode, which is on the five predictors of happiness and connectedness and nature is definitely in there. So next time you are feeling anxious, just go out in nature somewhere where you find that grounds you and helps you put things in perspective. Number eight, doing things you love. So for example, if you absolutely love reading music, yoga, working out photography you love to paint, you love to play an instrument, any hobbies that you have that you find takes her mind off of anxiety or even just watching a tv show or something that distracts you from it, from time to time, something you get lost in and feel good about after and feel good after you do it. Incorporate those more into times when you feel you need help, when you feel anxious and of course take deep breaths and use just what you've learned from having anxiety, and I'm sure you are a wealth of knowledge yourself and if found things that are best practices for you, but I find that doing things you love, so focusing on the things that alleviate your anxiety symptoms or focusing on the things that make you feel better and try to incorporate more of that into your life.
Specifically bits of it every single day, so 10 minutes a day, 20 minutes a day, 30 minutes a day really goes a long way. Number nine, understand that no emotion or feeling lasts forever. Nothing is constant and this too, as everything has will pass. You've come so far in your life and you've gone through so much and you'll get through this one too, so being worried about the future, about, well, what if this happens? What if that happens? Understand that no emotion lasts forever and everything is impermanent and that kinda goes along with something that just popped in my head right now that when we have fears and anxiety is related to fear and a lot of the time and worries, try to think to yourself, what's the worst case scenario of my fear? Let's say the worst thing happened, okay, because most of the time the things we're afraid of don't happen.
Just that's the reality of the situation. They don't happen. The things we worry about. 90 nine point nine percent of the time, but let's say it did happen. What's the worst that could happen and if you're still alive, my friend, it's okay. You'll get through it. The reason the future and fear psychos out is because we're not focusing on how we would problem solve it or get through it. If it did happen. We're just kind of stuck in that whole rhythm of being freaked out if it does happen and our what ifs. Well, we can go into what ifs for ever, but that's stealing you away from the present moment and having a good life and you know, having a good wellbeing for yourself. So next time you're thinking about things in the future, understand that nothing lasts forever and you can think of a time where you felt like the world was falling apart.
You were freaking out. Maybe you had a panic attack. There's all of these sensations in your body. Your heart rate went up, all these terrible things, but there was a time obviously after that where that no longer was the case, right? So understand nothing lasts forever, no feelings last forever, no emotion. Everything is an ebb and flow, but also what would you do if the worst case scenario happen? Try to break it down and answer it for yourself. That really helps us overcome fears and overcome anxiety because then we can see it in front of us and be like, hey, these are the things I would do if this did happen and it's not that bad. I know it may seem crazy that I'm asking you to think about the worst case scenario or to think about something that worries you or makes you anxious or something that you're scared of, but oftentimes when we think about it in a sense of preparedness and a problem solving type of mindset, it really helps alleviate our symptoms and our feelings of anxiety and if you'd like to go way more in depth into fears.
I did an entire episode on fears. It was episode number five, so you can scroll down and get to that epIsode because I think it may help you out since fears and anxiety sometimes go hand in hand. Now moving on to number 10, I kind of talked about this and trinkled it through all these points, but mindfulness, the app that I recommend to everybody that I love is calm.com. The calm app, it's just c, a l, m comm and I absolutely love it. This is not sponsored at all. None of my podcasts are, but it's an app that I find really helps a lot of people. I know there's other apps like headspace and tons of meditation apps, but I really find that calm does a very good job of incorporating wellbeing and mental health and lots of different topics into their meditations and they have guided and non guided ones, so I believe you can do a free trial and then it is a paid app after that.
It's a small monthly fee that you pay. You can also pay a lifetime amount and then get access to it forever, but I highly recommend this app and anyone who I've recommended it to who downloaded it, loved the effects that it had on their anxiety, their stress, their depression, their wellbeing and their mindfulness. So number 10 is mindfulness and building that and what better way to do that. Then with meditation, being able to be brought back to the present moment, training our to be able to be present and mindful and the more mindful we are, the more we can tackle anxiety when it does try to succumb over us. There are obviously many forms of meditation guided unguided and of course some more advanced techniques, but what I do recommend for people who are just starting out in meditation is to go for a guided meditation, use an app and try to do it for at least just 10 minutes a day for at least one month to see the difference.
I think that meditation is something that is so important and should be incorporated into everybody's life regardless of intensity of anxiety. Meditation is just an all around incredible thing to incorporate into your daily routine and there's a reason why some of the world's most successful people do this as a ritual and a practice. So if that's something that you'd like to do and try out than just download the calm app or just try putting on some nice soothing music for yourself and just youtube it or try sitting in a room quietly try to repeat a word that allows you to release any anxiety or stress over and over again, either out loud or in your head. I think that if you do this and if you try to do this and stay consistent with it, and maybe if you do already, meditate up maybe how many times you do it.
If you do it once a day, try doing it twice a day. And I think that if you do it, you will have really good beneficial results. Now, you can't live anywhere that hasn't happened yet, right? And you got through it then. So you'll get through it again. Take it as it happens. The president is truly a gift and you need to unwrap it for yourself and live in it basket and being upset over the past or worrying intensely about the future takes away that magnificence of the present moment. So out of these 10 tips, I hope you can even put one into practice and try it out for a week or two and see what you think. So just to recap, number one is choosing three affirmative words or intentions you have for that day, one set for yourself and one set for how you're going to interact with other people.
Number two, using writing as a tool or an audio recording or somewhere where you can express yourself and verbal vomit or express what you're feeling and try to notice the patterns amongst them. It's so powerful to be able to do this because a lot of the times, have you guys ever heard about those apology letters that people write and then they burn, but it feels so good to just write it and get it out. It's obviously better if you give the apology letter to someone, but it's something that really helps our brain because a lot of the times we're wanting to express, but we feel like we can't or we're not in a situation where we can. So doing it on paper or just verbal vomiting on an audio recording. and you don't even have to look at it or listen to again, but it can really genuinely help you just express yourself and overcome that overwhelm because when we look at it in front of us, it kind of feels like we've released something.
Number three is being curious about your feelings and trying to view emotions like passing clouds and not being judgmental upon yourself, focusing on curiosity and trying to detach from the personal aspects of it and focus on what you can control instead of focusing intensely on what you can't control. Number four, asking yourself if you're being present throughout the day and shifting back to it as much as you can. Of course this may feel forced at first, but in time it will feel a lot more natural. Number five, becoming more self aware when anxiety or overwhelm strikes you and noticing what your triggers are. number six, setting a worry timer for you to get all your worrying out and then going back to your day's tasks so it doesn't turn into an hour, two hours, three hours, four hours in ruins your entire day. Number seven, going out in nature or to places you get lost in, to get grounded again and to gain perspective about really how small a lot of our problems are and how big we make them out to be.
One thing that really humbles me is astronomy and getting lost in the stars and just being in situations like lost in the woods or beautiful natural places. It just makes you feel so small but in the best way possible and it connects you to something greater. It also connects you to spirituality, but what it does all in all, nature has a huge effect on our biology and our physiology and immediately what it does is it decreases our stress levels that has been shown through research time and time again. Nature is always a good idea and if you have somewhere special that you love to go, that calms you down. Then do that. When you're feeling anxious, that too goes along with gaining more perspective. So not only does nature ground us, but it allows us to gain perspective and it allows us a white space where we can really think and cross check the facts of what's happening.
Number eight, doing things you love and incorporating more of your hobbies into your life and of course taking deep breaths when you can. Number nine, knowing and understanding that no emotion or feeling lasts forever, that nothing is constant and as everything has this too will pass. Number 10, downloading some sort of meditation app or doing a meditation every single day that helps you increase your mindfulness and presence. Those are the 10 things that I hope can help you in some way with anxiety and at the end of the day I know it can seem really disheartening to deal with anxiety and to go through it, but know that your mind is so powerful and you have all it takes and everything within you. To be able to combat it, to conquer it, and to be able to grow from it. Again, I don't know your personal history or what it is for you on the spectrum of anxiety.
I mean, every single person has dealt with it in some way, shape or form throughout their lives and a lot of the time we all share the same problems. They're just packaged differently. You guys have heard me say that several times and it should not be stigmatized at all, and I'm talking about this from a general sense, from a light sense of, oh, I'm just anxious to do this. You know, get on stage and deliver a speech, but I'm also talking from it in a serious sense. Our minds, they can really do remarkable things and if your mind is what is going off on all these worries, will your mind is the one that's going to be able to calm them down to and who controls your mind. It's you believe in the control. You have to shape your mind. Now lastly, I just want to share some quotes that you may find helpful that I found for you guys and that have helped some other people and you may resonate with if anxiety is something that you go through.
worry is a down payment on a problem that you most likely won't ever even have. Worry never. Rob's tomorrow of its sorrow. It only psaps today of its joy. Next time I feel anxious, I will breathe. Worry will not control me. Stress will not break me. Anxiety and worrying can feel like an entire ocean crashing on you all at once, but what is an ocean but a multitude of drops. This one is by the dalai lama. You are so anxious about the future that you do not enjoy the present. You tHerefore do not live in the present or the future. You live as if you are never going to die and then die having never really lived. Those are the quotes I just want to just share with you and if you found this podcast helpful, you may enjoy my second ever podcast on posItive thinking.
It's just number two and they're all numbered for you. So scroll down to that episode to tune in. I believe it's like five to 10 minutes and it's one of my most downloaded episodes because it's more meditative and more calming, and I talk about choosing positive thoughts over negative ones and I think that that may relate to what you're feeling right now. Maybe it's not things that you're worrying about in the future, but it's maybe you're being stuck in negativity instead of focusing on positivity or what you can control. So those are my 10 tips and my 10 ways of going about dealing with anxiety or helping people that may struggle with it that I think could help you out. So let me know if you enjoyed this podcast and share it with someone who you think could benefit from it and who may be experiencing anxiety right now in their lives. I hope you guys enjoyed this and I'll talk to you soon.
Sending you BIG love today & always!
My whole heart, ♡
The Happiness Approach Podcast
Want inspo-on-the-go? Listen to the audio version of this blog post here ♡
In this podcast episode, I share with you some advice onto dealing with anxiety and worrying. I also share 10 ways to cope with it when it comes about! Anxiety is a huge topic. I know. But, by listening in today, I hope you'll be able to build a new framework around it and gain some insight onto it a little bit more.
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Today's QT's: Quote-ables & Takeaways from today's podcast episode & blog ↴
“Anxiety and worry can feel like all the waves in the entire ocean crashing down on us all at once. But, what is an ocean but a multitude of drops?”
“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”
“Worry is a down payment on a problem that you most likely won’t ever even have.”
“I will breathe. Worry will not control me. Stress will not break me.”
“Focusing on how we are all connected and more alike than different, decreases stigma and brings the humanity back.”