No, but really.
I am in no way trying to make light of what I know for a fact is a very real and nasty disease. It not only affects me, my mother and arguably my grandmother, but according to the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America), 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population.
Um. 40 million people. That’s a freaking lot.
I won’t go into the different ways anxiety can present itself, you can read about that on the ADAA website. I also don’t want to go too much into the different ways it shows up for me. The goal of this post isn’t to get sucked into talking about how much having anxiety sometimes drags me down, but instead to focus on the different ways I’ve found to handle it and
mostly keep it at bay.
I do need to say, though, I realize that everyone is different. Every person will have their own ways to banish (or contain) Anxiety Girl(Boy?) and I would absolutely love to hear them! Sharing is caring, after all! Finally, before I get to list-y things (yay!)- mental health is not something to play around with. If you need help, get it.
Trish’s Top 5 Ways to Kick Anxiety’s Butt (in no particular order)
I’m serious! I don’t mean go out and run a marathon. Unless that’s your thing, then by all means, do! What I mean is that even a stroll around your neighborhood can help get those endorphins pumping and smack anxious thoughts and feelings out of your head. Doesn’t that sound better than sitting on your couch and stewing, fixating and obsessing? Focus on moving your legs, moving your arms, breathing- and before you know it, you’ll feel much more calm and clear headed.
Trust me, I realize that if you’re depressed or anxious, motivating yourself to exercise is the furthest thing from your mind. Think about this, though: if we channel our thoughts into getting moving, getting up, and getting out; we can take back some control. I like control. I’m all for anything that gives me more of it.
Cut away the NEGATIVE!
All of it. This is so hard for most of us, myself included, but we don’t need any of it. It is so true what has been said about negative inviting or creating more negative. You’re setting yourself up to get caught in that never-ending loop of, “I can’t do this, I can’t control this, I can’t help the way I feel.” It has no end, it’s forever on repeat. So don’t do it.
You CAN do it, you CAN control it, you CAN help the way you feel!
It’s as simple as reminding yourself about the things that you’re thankful for. There’s always something to be thankful for, even if you don’t want to let yourself see or think about it. Life is wonderful that way, guys.
Have a schedule (and keep it)
I’m a teacher. Granted, I teach in a country other than the USA, but the basic formula for holidays is the same: long. This gives me more time to marathon Gossip Girl (Blair Waldorf is my spirit animal) and not move from my couch. Oh, and stay up as late as I want, sleep as long as I want, basically be a blob of human; then rinse and repeat. For like over a month.
THIS. IS. HORRIBLE. Bad Trish!
Getting out of a normal schedule throws everything off-track. Especially emotions and mental clarity!
It’s one thing to have that day on the weekend when you stay up entirely too late, drink a little too much and then sleep the next day away. It’s a whole other thing to do that for an entire month. …and I so
have would. Not only does this make me The Laziest Human Alive™, it causes me to lose my ability to cope or deal with things that normally wouldn’t be a big deal at all.
Moral to this story: try not to deviate too much from a schedule you keep when you work, or have other obligations. Weekends and time off will be that much more productive and you’ll keep your head happy and clear.
We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘you are what you eat,’ and if you’re like me and you put weight on easily, maybe you’ve heard it more times that you care to count. Also, if you’re like me, you eat your feelings (of which your bounty is always overflowing). When I realized that I was getting on into my 30s, I wanted to make some life changes. It wasn’t prompted by really anything other than the fact that I was getting older and not younger, lol. To tell the truth, I had no idea the things I was eating (or wasn’t) had such an affect on my moods! Thinking back, it should have been obvious that the bag of potato chips I consumed daily didn’t have the same nutritional value as green veggies and grilled chicken, but I was completely ignorant to the nutrients that my body was craving. Still, when you’re upset, a salad doesn’t have quite the fulfillment of a bowl of mashed potatoes.
Making changes to the way I eat is a work in progress. I’m still figuring out what works for me, and that doesn’t mean that I don’t eat pizza if I feel like pizza.
Just maybe not every day.
More on that later, but for now I can’t stress enough how when I eat better and cleaner, I just feel better and cleaner!
Do things for yourself!
Last, but certainly not least, take the time to remember YOU! Maybe reading a book in a cafe all afternoon is your happy place. Maybe it’s outdoors- on a beach, in the mountains, or taking a stroll through a shopping district and just looking at things. Maybe you find time to check in on yourself while getting a massage or taking a relaxing bath. What ever it is, you have got to take time to communicate with yourself. How are you? You doin’ okay?
Making sure to do something for yourself once a week or so will keep you relaxed and happy! Relaxed and happy people don’t jump to conclusions and overthink everything. They just don’t. ♥‿♥
I guess what I’m trying to say is…
For me it’s a balance of these things that keep me collected, for the most part. Of course I have my days where it’s a battle to stop from tipping over into Anxiety Girl, I think I always will.
Still, I don’t want to be defined as the ‘anxious’ or ‘nervous’ one, because I have too many other qualities to showcase!
We all do!
Check out these pages for more information: