Anxiety is something that suddenly and silently crept up on me 5 years ago and perched itself on my shoulders. It’s stuck since then. Only before, it was a lot bigger.
In fact, several months into suffering with anxiety it felt like a giant monster was permanently attached on my shoulder. It pushed me down, overwhelmed me and stopped me from doing many things in my life.
Over the years, I’ve managed to shrink this monster. How have I managed this? Here’s a few of the things I have learnt to do over the years to help tackle anxiety daily.
1. Forgive Yourself
I would always fret over what people thought of me and have constant self-doubt. I used to feel guilt over everything and constantly compare myself with others. Over time, I learnt to forgive myself and be proud of the little things. I may not have accomplished much but I did my best. I learnt to forgive myself for all I couldn’t do, for all, for my failures, for my past. We all make mistakes. Dealing with mental health issues is no easy task, so to challenge this means that I deserve forgiveness.
So, make sure you forgive yourself. You didn’t choose to deal with all you are dealing with, so just do your best.
2. Be Patient
When this all began, I frantically looked for a cure. Turns out, there isn’t a cure for anxiety. But there’s a lot of help on how to manage it and even thrive with it! I am now much more patient as I’ve had to endure the long road of recovery. I still have my anxious moments. But instead of reacting to something that’s upset me, I take a step back, give the situation space and things seem to work out.
Patience is key when dealing with anxiety. Those raw, horrid, unbearable moments will pass.
3. Be Kind
There is not enough kindness in this world. Yet, I am certain that if there was, the world would be brighter, joyful and full of love and less anxiety.
You never know what someone is dealing with, so kindness should always be at the forefront of your social interactions. I now live my life with kindness being an important trait in my friends, and myself. If I can be anything, it will be kind, especially to myself. If you wouldn’t talk to a friend the way you criticise yourself, then don’t be so harsh on yourself!
Be kind to others and yourself. You’ll notice a huge improvement.
4. Write lists
This is more of a practical coping strategy. I write lists for anything; from shopping lists, to daily task lists, to gratitude lists and worry lists. It organises my brain, de cluttering thoughts and feelings. It allows me to live my day more structured and less stressed.
Treat yourself to a list pad and see where the lists take you.
As previously mentioned, anxiety has no cure. As soon as I accepted this and turned my focus on how to manage life with anxiety, it got better. I will always have to fight it, but if I stay ahead using healthy techniques and strategies, then it won’t phase me anymore.
Instead of fighting anxiety, try to accept it.
6. Take one day at a time
The best way to tackle life is by taking it one day at a time, one step at a time. I would always be looking to the future and worrying. After delving into ‘Mindfulness’, I learnt about the importance of being present and in the moment.
How you feel one day, may be entirely different the next. Don’t look too far ahead, focus on the here and now.
7. Bite size chunks
Life is better in bite-sized chunks, but this goes further than just taking life a day at a time. Take everything in chunks. Dissect thoughts, worries, feelings and figure out why you are worrying about a certain event, then deal with that bit by bit. Come up with a plan that will then help.
By breaking everything down into bite sixed chunks, life will become easier to digest.
8. Worry time
An amazing tool to help with anxiety is ‘Worry Time’. Write down your worries as your day goes on, instead of dwelling on them at the time, so you can get back to what you were doing. At the end of the day, take 10 minutes out (set a timer) and then use this to sort your worries into whether the worry is practical or hypothetical. If you can’t do something about a worry, you need to try your best to let go. Set steps to deal with practical worries.
By introducing ‘Worry Time’ into your daily routine, you find yourself worrying less overall and you’ll have a healthier way to deal with worries.
9. Treat yourself
We all need a treat from time to time. Whether that is a chocolate bar, a new top or taking a relaxing bath. You are worthy of a treat. You are a worthy and loveable person.
If you’re always the one to treat others but not yourself, then it’s time to go and treat yourself. And don’t feel guilty about it.