Okay so lyyyyke, I’m feeling much better! I removed myself from some situations that I believe were contributing to my heightened anxiety and depression, the weather is better, I am eating mostly plant-based foods, and I’m doing yoga again. I’m back in the zone y’all!
If you have depression and/or anxiety, you know that it can make you feel like you have absolutely no control over your emotions or mental state. Actual conversation transcript:
Depression: It’s time for you to be sad.
You: …ok 🙁
Anxiety: And make sure to spiral out of control when something mildly inconvenient happens.
You: …I mean…if you insist 🙁
Depression and anxiety, in unison: We insist.
Some people’s anxiety requires more than just a few deep breaths. Please don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you need it! But if you have situational anxiety caused by stress in your life, there are some little things you can do to calm your symptoms — like the racing heart rate, monkey mind, or feeling like you’re out of breath.
Here are my top 6 favorite ways to deal with anxiety!
Track your emotions
When you’re feeling low or anxious, it’s hard to know what’s causing those feelings — sometimes the causes are things you can control, sometimes not.
Intentionally tracking your moods with an app makes it a lot easier to pinpoint triggers (like work, the weather, being around certain people, etc.) and determine if any of those triggers are things you can control. I am using a free app called Pacifica. Highly recommended!
Turn your phone and computer off
We’re all guilty of being too attached to our internet-capable devices and all the social media platforms that come with them. Being connected to each other on the internet is mostly good, but having access to all the information in the world at your fingertips can also easily lead to overstimulation and the comparison trap.
If you find yourself picking up your phone often to mindlessly scroll through Instagram, then Facebook, then Twitter, then Snapchat, et. al — pause and think about how it’s making you feel. Does it make you feel happy? Or is it just temporarily alleviating your boredom? If it’s creating negative feelings rather than positive ones, it’s time to take a break.
One of my favorite ways to immediately deal with anxiety is to turn off my phone, close my laptop lid, and do something else for a few hours. Read a book! Watch a movie with your full attention! Hang out with your pet! It’s amazing how relaxed I feel after my temporary internet detox. Try it and see.
Take a bath
When I do my internet detoxes, I often like to use my web-free time to take a nice, hot bath. I might watch a show or movie on Netflix, read a book, listen to music or a podcast, or even just sit there and be alone with my thoughts (oooh spooky). Feel free to incorporate some lavender epsom salts, a nice-smelling candle, or my favorite — a delightful glass of red wine.
Read positive affirmations
I thought affirmations were a bunch of woowoo crap before I finally decided to try them.
I downloaded an app that gives a short, simple positive thought to meditate on each day. (Meditate as in read it over again a few times until it sinks in — you don’t need to spend 20 minutes on this or anything.) It’s such a simple thing but it’s a nice way to inject a little extra positivity into your day.
Get a little exercise
Moving your body is a good way to allow your mind to focus on something other than what’s stressing you out. No matter what form of exercise you choose, I recommend leaving your phone behind, in another room, or on Do Not Disturb mode.
Hit the gym, go for a walk, or try my personal favorite form of exercise to ease anxiety: yoga! Choose a slow flow (yin or hatha) and focus on your breath. Make sure you don’t skip savasana at the end — it’s the best part. I like to use the YogaDownload.com channel on my Roku to find yoga videos.
Keep a gratitude journal
Keeping a gratitude journal is something new I’ve been doing for the past month or so, and I like it for the routine it gives me every evening as well as for the catharsis of recognizing everything I have to be thankful for.
I started with a blank journal. Each evening, I write the date at the top and then write a bulleted list of “Challenges” — things that are bothering me or worrying me, followed by a bulleted list which I label “Grateful for”.
These things don’t have to be particularly deep — my cat makes the list daily — simply things you’re grateful to have experienced throughout that day. Once a week or so it’s kind of nice to re-read your entries from the past week and reflect on them.
Even though it feels insurmountable sometimes, you can find relief from your anxiety. Each of these tips has helped me deal with anxiety and I hope they help you too!