Admittedly, things are pretty tough right now across our nation. Across the world really. Fear of the unknown is literally one of the definitions of anxiety.
Having lived with anxiety for most of my life, I can tell you that most of my stress is about what could happen.
Will my family get sick?
Will someone I love die?
What if I can’t pay my mortgage?
What if I get sick? Who will watch over my family?
Again, the unknown. The worry of what could be. The stress of financial burdens and more to come.
The one thing I have learned to be true as I work on managing my anxiety is this:
there’s only one thing you can control…
Therefore, when it comes to knowing how to manage anxiety and stress, we have to start with what we can control.
Tips for Managing Anxiety
Begin with the things you can control:
- Sleep: stick to a schedule, have a bedtime routine, eliminate screen time
- Diet: don’t skip meals, limit alcohol and caffeine, eat well-balanced meals
- Mindset: use positive affirmations, speak kindly to yourself, express gratitude
- Exercise: take a walk, do yoga, workout, get moving for 15 minutes
- Relax: take deep breaths, count to 10, try the the 4-7-8 technique
- Journal: write down your thoughts to get them out of your head
- Disconnect: distance yourself from social media & news for a time (or only follow those that encourage you)
Again, these are simply the things you can control. The things that start—and end—with only you.
Unfortunately, there is so much more out there that we can’t control.
The reality of the situation we’re facing.
And that’s why we start where we can. With ourselves.
Try this exercise.
- Draw a circle on the ground.
- Now, step inside it.
- Look around.
- Everything outside that circle? You have no control over that.
- Inside that circle? You? You have control over this.
Now, again, take a deep breath and repeat one, or all, of these affirmations:
- I can manage my anxiety using the power of breathing.
- I am loved and supported.
- I have the power to settle my mind.
- I will focus on the positives.
- My body deserves time to rest and recharge.
- I am capable and valuable.
- I am calm and safe in this moment.
- I have survived all of my hardest days.
- I can overcome my negative thoughts.
Anxiety, fear, stress, panic, worry, they’re all understandable in tough times such as these.
But, so are emotions such as love, gratitude, and compassion. Spread those around and be a glimmer of light for others who need it right now.
You might be surprised how your mindset begins to lift when you shift your thinking towards helping others, and not focusing on your anxious thoughts.