Anxiety is an all too common part of daily life and more and more people are admitting to feeling this way on a regular basis. Personally, anxiety is something I’ve suffered with for the whole of my life. Like many other people I’ve developed ways and strategies to cope. It’s only recently that I’ve started making real progress in healing my anxiety and I want to share some of the ways with you here. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that there’s no quick fix to healing anxiety and things aren’t going to get better in just one day. You have to commit to the change and really go after it. If you stick with these practices they will help you in your journey to becoming a calmer, more present person.
The single most successful practice I’ve found in helping to heal my anxiety is meditation. This isn’t something everyone wants to hear, hell even I didn’t want to hear it at one point. But meditation is really the best thing you can do for yourself. Even my reluctant boyfriend has started doing it with great results!
Anxiety is mostly caused by too much focus on external matters, usually worrying about something that concerns the past or future. When you’re constantly worrying about the past or future you’re not present. Meditation brings your focus to the present moment and turns your focus inward; it helps you to quiet the internal ego noise and embrace stillness (or as near to it as you can get). If you can establish a consistent daily meditation routine (start with five minutes a day), you will start to see a reduction in anxiety. I found that once I committed to meditating regularly I became mentally calmer and when I did have an anxiety ‘attack’ its effects were lessened and I got over it more quickly. The best way to begin meditation is to download a meditation app which really helped me. I really like Calm which has a meditation timer and tracks your progress!
Another way to practice being present is to go walking in nature. I walk outside almost everyday and I try to go to the woods as often as I can. I find the woods to be very mentally cleansing and calming due to the lack of noise and modern technology. There’s just something about fresh air and observing the environment that centres you.
I love a good essential oil and I like to use them in my diffuser. Aromatherapy has lots of benefits and you can use pretty much any essential oil you enjoy but traditionally lavender and chamomile are very calming oils. You can diffuse essential oils around the house on a daily basis or you can choose to use them specifically when you meditate. I have a post about other uses for essentials oils here.
4. Rose Quartz.
Rose quartz is an incredibly peaceful, healing stone to carry around with you. It’s good at promoting self love and self care which is important when you’re an anxious wreck! When I was a child I used to collect rocks and crystals. One day I felt very anxious and my mum advised me to carry my rose quartz around with me, and to touch it when I felt scared or worried. It seemed to help me so it’s a practice I continue to do. I also like to hold rose quartz in my hands when I meditate.
5. Healthy Eating.
Another unpopular one. Yes, as much as we think we can go on eating lots of rubbish and it won’t affect us healthy eating has to be a priority for a healthy mind. I’m a vegetarian so naturally I would recommend that as a beneficial step. Even if you choose to consume meat I recommend cutting back on processed foods and concentrating on home prepared meals with lots of vegetables and fruit. Cut out caffeine as it’s a stimulant that isn’t beneficial for someone who has a lot of nervous energy; drink caffeine free herbals teas like chamomile and peppermint instead. If you know you’re eating healthily it does give a real mental boost as well as a physical one!
Sometimes you’ve just got to thrash it out and journalling is a great way to do that. To spare your loved ones the stress of a full on melt down why not try writing down everything you’re feeling in a journal. This helps to release you from those feelings. You can also ritually burn the pages after you’ve written them! Another way to deal with anxiety, is to set aside time every morning (or evening) and just free write for two or three pages about anything that comes into your head. This will help you to empty your mind of your worries and feel lighter.
7. Positive Affirmations.
I find repeating affirmations really helpful in realigning my thoughts to more positive ones. The idea is that you say them in the present tense and repeat them daily, multiple times. Try saying: ‘I am peaceful and positive’, ‘I am calmer everyday’, ‘I stay calm and centred’, ‘I radiate peace inside and out’, ‘I love and accept myself’, ‘I am confident and courageous’. I enjoy repeating my affirmations while I’m holding rose quartz, as this really aligns my thoughts with peace and love.
Reading is an excellent tool for reducing stress. If you’re not much of a reader, find a book that interests you and the next time you feel anxious start reading. The act of reading is another form of mindfulness, of being present. Getting lost in a book takes your mind off the anxiety and focuses it one something else. I like to read every night before bed, which helps me to unwind and get a good nights sleep.
If you’re an anxious person and you don’t have a consistent bedtime routine, you need to establish one right now! Go to bed at the same time every night (between ten o’clock and ten thirty is best), and get into bed an hour earlier so you can read for an hour. Put your diffuser on while you read, so you can inhale those calming essential oils. Consistency is key! Once you’ve established a bedtime routine and start getting sufficient sleep, you’ll find life a lot less stressful.
10. Reduce media consumption.
Spending too much time watching the news and scrolling through social media not only wastes your time, but can be highly stressful. You don’t have to stop watching the news altogether because it’s empowering to stay informed, but watch it for a set time and then turn it off. You don’t need to get sucked into the fear. What’s happening out there is rubbish, but it doesn’t serve anyone for you to get into a panic about it. If you want to do something about it, donate to a charity or stage a fundraiser. As for social media, get off it! Text your friends for a meet up and your put your phone away. Spending time with people we love makes us feel good.