This past weekend in New York City, thousands of protesters gathered in Times Square. But the number of protesters wasn’t the headline. Rather it was the diversity of the crowd that was surprising. One sign indicative of the mood read, “Dear Democratic Party, you lost...
5 Tools That Will Help You Tame Anxiety
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment. These recent statistics, while not surprising, are unfortunate for the 63.1% of people suffering from anxiety that don’t get help or perhaps don’t have access to help. Many people have no clue where to even start.
Anxiety symptoms include:
- Racing fearful thoughts
- Tension in the chest causing strained breathing
- Shallow breaths
- Feeling fragile and vulnerable
- Lack of ability to focus and a short attention span
- Body aches and pains- usually the stomach, shoulders, jaw, and back
- Irrational fears that feel true and inevitable
Most of my one-on-one clients suffer from some form of anxiety, and I discovered that most of their problems are due to not managing their minds. It’s not their fault. They were not taught any tools to use their mind properly. Prior to this new wave of positive psychology and self-development, talking about emotions was akin to saying, “I’m weak and incapable.” While this was never true, that stigma lives on while people continue to live without access to tools that could change their life.
I had to learn through tons of trial and error, including two different psychotherapy trainings, and still have my bad days. We are all human, and humans have feelings. It’s about time we learn to use them powerfully.
Here are some suggestions to get you on the path to more peace as quickly as possible.
1 > Don’t take all the voices in your head seriously, personally, or as truth.
When you believe thoughts that scare you, your body doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined thoughts. Your emotions react as if the thoughts were true. This process of emotionally reacting to thoughts before anything real has actually happened is what causes most people’s anxiety.
You have thoughts. You, the real you, are not the random, looping thoughts in your head. Think of thoughts as radio waves, and you can tune your receiver to receive the channel you actually want. If you don’t focus and direct your mind, then you will have a bunch of noise and overlapping thoughts, which lead to an anxious way of being. By directing your mind and managing your thoughts, you can stop taking life so seriously and see things with more clarity.
2 > Fact-check your fearful thoughts.
Byron Katie is a spiritual teacher who discovered freedom in her own life by questioning the thoughts in her head. Since then, her work, called “The Work,” has helped millions begin to see beyond the persistent illusion that our thoughts are true or right all the time. Try this for yourself. Pluck a thought from your mind that causes you pain. Then try these questions.
Question 1: Is it true?
Question 2: Can you absolutely know it’s true?
Question 3: How do you react—what happens—when you believe that thought?
Question 4: Who would you be without the thought? …
3 > Pause and take breaks. Exhaustion breeds anxiety. Take regular breaks to reset.
Box Breathing – Watching a clock or timer breathe in for 5 counts, hold for 5 counts, out for 5 counts, and hold for 5 counts. Repeat for 1-2 min.
Meditation Apps and Reminders – Apps and devices like Fit Bit, Calm, Headspace, and the Apple Watch have made it easier in this busy, fast-paced world of multiple screens to take a break and follow their mindfulness prompts. Try their two-minute process, and other guided meditations until you are able to take breaks on your own without needing to follow a guide.
H.A.L.T. – In recovery programs, they advise not to act if you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired- H.A.L.T. This pretty much works for life too. STOP. And reset rather than continue to act from an un-resourced state.
Sleep – Get adequate sleep. It’s extremely necessary to managing anxiety. Sleep deprivation and mental health are not friends.
4 > Control your Controllables.
Grab a notepad and make 2 columns.
What you can control on one side and what you can’t control on the other side. Even though you could try to think this out in your head, the power of this exercise is to write it out. Then look at it and intentionally let go of what you cannot control. This includes caring what other people think, controlling what other people do, needing other people to be different than they are for you to be ok, and many other things outside your control.
Also, try to avoid running a million possible scenarios in your head in order to “be prepared.” Worrying doesn’t prepare you; it only wears you down.
5 > Try the easiest Yoga ever. No special pants needed!
Yoga Nidra helps your nervous system SLOW down and gives your mind cues to focus on your body. You can wear your pajamas and just chill. Try this example:
Ultimately, you can retrain your mind with consistent self-care tools and by prioritizing yourself to take the time to reset when your emotions are getting overly amped up. Emotions are actually intelligent indicators meant to get your attention and provide energy and information. Yet, again, we weren’t taught how to understand our emotions, just like our thoughts. Anxiety as an emotional symptom is a sign you are not present.
Most cases of anxiety can be improved by managing the mind and increasing self-care.
Overall, just be nicer to yourself. You are doing your best.
Trust me; no one has it “figured out.”
If you’d like to learn more tools to enhance your life go to: jennasmithcoaching.teachable.com.
Disclaimer: This article is geared toward those that suffer from an inability to self-regulate when they begin to feel anxiety. Diagnosed anxiety disorders require the care of their health care professional.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is for educational, general information, and entertainment purposes only and is never intended to constitute medical or legal advice or to replace the personalized care of a primary care practitioner or legal expert.
While we endeavor to keep this information up to date and correct, the information provided by America Out Loud, its website(s), and any properties (including its radio shows and podcasts) makes no representations, or warranties of any kind, expressed, or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability with respect to its website(s) or the information, products, services or related graphics and images contained on the website(s) for any purpose.
The opinions expressed on the website(s), and the opinions expressed on the radio shows and podcasts, are the opinions of the show hosts and do not necessarily represent the opinions, beliefs, or policies of anyone or any entity we may endorse. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.
At no time, nor in any event, will we be liable for any loss, or damage, including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss of data or profits arising out of, in an association of, or connection with the use of this website.
Through this website, users can link to other websites that may be listed. Those websites are not under the control of America Out Loud or its brands. We have no control over the nature, content, or availability of those sites. America Out Loud has no control over what the sites do with the information they collect. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation, nor does it endorse the views expressed with or by them.
Every effort is made to keep the website up and running smoothly. However, America Out Loud takes no responsibility for, nor are we, and will not be liable for being temporarily unavailable due to technical difficulties beyond our control. America Out Loud does not sell, trade, nor market email addresses or other personal data.
Use the code ‘OUTLOUD’ and receive your 20% discount on your first order.