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Anxiety is awful.

Anxiety is a terrible feeling. It interrupts our life and makes us miserable. However, there are constructive things we can do. These same tips can be used to manage depression and low moods, while also improving your long-term mental health. Finally, Depending on your personality and the severity of your anxiety, some tips will work better than others.

Ones that work particularly well, no matter what, are walking, deep breathing, and distraction.

I will be adding to this list as I think of more things and as I continue to research ways to manage anxiety.

Tips for managing your anxiety

The ‘doing’ tips for managing your anxiety

  • Walk
  • Get outside
  • Learn something new
  • Read something.
  • Sing
  • Write a piece of poetry or prose. (It can be totally silly.)
  • Go to the library and browse through sections that don’t usually interest you.
  • Listen to your favorite music.
  • Watch something funny on TV.
  • Go to U-tube and watch something interesting.
  • Look at your cookbooks.
  • Plan your menus for a week.
  • Dance to your favorite music.
  • Bake something.

And more tips

  • Take a bath or a shower.
  • Wash your hair.
  • Buy some good-smelling oils, or candles. As an example, lavender is especially soothing. Spray where you can get a whiff. Spray on pillows at night.
  • Call someone.
  • Pray for someone.
  • Write a really short book where you are the hero. I mean just a few pages unless you find yourself on a roll.
  • Distract yourself. Make a list of distractions you can turn to when you’re feeling anxious. Cut them up and put them in a jar to pull them out when needed.
  • Find something to enjoy every day.
  • Write a piece of poetry or prose. (It can be totally silly.)
  • Organize something.
  • Clean something.
  • Write a really short book where you are the hero. I mean just a few pages unless you find yourself on a roll.
  • (From 101 ways to stop anxiety” by Tanya Peterson) “Create a passion board. Pin drawings, words, anything that sparks an interest.”
  • Paint something. (A picture or a vase. Doesn’t matter. Just paint.)
  • Write a short book where you are the heroine. (I really do mean just a few pages unless you find yourself wanting to write a whole book. Need a prompt? How about, Once upon a time……)
  • Learn about Zen gardening.
  • Use a ruler or draw a line with numbers on it. At what point on that ruler are you right now? Can you plan that by the end of the day, you will have moved down an inch? How can you do that? Make a plan. (Adapted from 101 Ways To Stop Anxiety.)

The ‘being’ tips for managing anxiety

  • Quit fighting it. Sometimes it works to give in and feel the fear.
  • Breathe from your diaphragm three times a day.
  • Speak kindly to yourself. Seriously, use words you would use to encourage someone else.
  • Tell yourself, “I am not my anxiety.” Don’t let it define you.
  • Keep something with you that serves as a “Stop” sign. I keep a small stone in my purse. You could keep it in your pocket as well. Rubbing it reminds me to reset.
  • Forgive anyone you need to. It doesn’t condone their actions. Why take poison (unforgiveness)expecting the other person to die?
  • Forgive yourself. You are worthy of forgiveness.
  • Write a letter to yourself that encourages you as if you were writing to someone else struggling with anxiety.
  • Get a ruler. (Or draw a line with numbers on it. )At what point on that ruler are you right now? Can you plan that by the end of the day, you will have moved down an inch? How can you do that? Make a plan. (Adapted from 101 Ways To Stop Anxiety.)
  • Avoid anxiety-producing situations until you are better. Remember, though, you can’t avoid them forever. There is something to be said for getting out of your comfort one.

More tips

  • Don’t feel guilty about your anxiety. You are human, after all. It is the most common mood disorder. Millions of people struggle with it.
  • If you are a believer in Christ, list all the Bible verses that address anxiety. Keep them where you will see them. Memorize your favorite ones.
  • Create some “quiet’ moment rituals that calm you down. Some people like tea for this purpose. But if you prefer coffee, just watch the caffeine!
  • List anything you would do if anxiety didn’t have a stronghold on you.
  • Write one full page about how you are feeling. Do not edit yourself. Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way” has some great ideas called, Morning Pages.”
  • Quit overthinking everything.
  • For every negative thought, examine just how much is based on reality. Is what you’re feeling anxious about likely to happen?
  • Think back to a time when you weren’t anxious. What was going on?
  • Don’t judge yourself or your anxiety.
  • Create a plan for social anxiety. Arrive early. Pick just one or two people to talk to. Have some conversation starters in mind.
  • Have an emergency plan for when you experience severe anxiety. Keep a list handy. The more detailed, the better. For me, having a distraction works every time. My personal favorites are getting outside, walking, and puttering.

Asking questions can reduce anxiety.

Sometimes just asking ourselves some questions can really help. How we answer can give us some clues about where to begin. They are not meant to take the place of sound medical advice or medication but can certainly be an adjunct to these. Feel free to show these to your doctor.

The first set of questions

  • Has anything changed recently? Changes, welcome or unwelcome, can cause anxiety.
  • Is this just an episode, or has it been going on for a while? If it’s recent, you can probably find the cause.
  • What am I afraid of? Anxiety is tied to fear.) Be honest about what causes your fear. Don’t judge it.
  • Am I unreasonably worried about something? How likely is what you’re worried about likely to happen?
  • Is what you are anxious about reasonable? Sometimes our anxiety is appropriate and reasonable. Most of the time, it isn’t.
  • Am I feeling guilty about something? If you are, should you?
  • Where have my thoughts been just prior to this episode?
  • Am I abnormally stressed? Extra responsibility easily triggers stress.
  • Am I feeling lonely? Have you been isolating yourself?
  • Is there an ongoing troublesome situation that doesn’t seem will ever be resolved? Long-standing problems can be emotionally draining.

Second set questions to help with your anxiety

  • Has something happened recently that I brushed off? For instance, we often we refuse to admit something bothered us because we don’t think it would bother anyone else. If it bothers you, admit it, and don’t judge it. If it bothers you, it bothers you.
  • Has someone said something recently I ignored and convinced myself didn’t bother me? Like the above. Don’t pretend hurtful words weren’t hurtful. Admit them and then do something about it.
  • Am I mad about something? Unresolved anger certainly triggers anxiety. Consequently, you need to admit it, come to grips with it, address it if necessary, and then move on.
  • When was the last time I did something I truly enjoy?
  • Have I been exercising (can be anything as long as it’s at least twenty minutes, four to five days a week.)
  • Could I be physically ill? Don’t assume it’s anxiety. Get a check-up.
  • Do certain people make me feel anxious? How can I limit my exposure to them for a while?
  • Similarly, why do certain people make me feel more anxious than others? Is there a common theme?
  • How have I been eating? Too much sugar and caffeine can jump-start anxiety.
  • Have I been drinking enough water?
  • Have I been getting enough sleep? Poor sleep can cause a myriad of mental, emotional, and physical problems. Make sure you are getting enough.
  • How regularly do I have my devotions? (No guilt here, just questions.)
  • How often do I express gratitude?

God bless, and have a great day.