This is a blog post that I never really planned to write until after I got feedback from my most recent post “How to love someone well in the midst of anxiety and depression”. It was my most read blog post ever, which was totally not something I was expecting! I was blown away by how many people reached out and just said it was so nice to know someone else can relate to how they feel. I think that just goes to show how much we need to talk about it and how desperate people are to know someone else out there is in the same boat! Alas, it led me to write this post.
Now, I shared before that I have done my fair share of counseling, and let me just start by saying that I went to the first time (and second and third) almost 100% against my will. I absolutely despised talking about my feelings, and going to talk to a complete stranger about feelings that I didn’t even understand myself sounded just about as painful as walking on a bed of nails. But my mom was so freaked out and didn’t know what to do that she made me go, and THANK GOD she did! To be honest, the first couple of times felt prettyyyyy painful and I barely opened up. But once I did, the benefits that came from it were literally life changing. Through counseling (also to note, I have gone to 3 different counselors. If at first you don’t succeed…or don’t click with a counselor…..try, try again!), I have learned invaluable coping techniques and insights into how I operate that help me deal with my anxiety. And the type of anxiety that I’m talking about here is the anxiety that may be triggered by certain things, it isn’t crippling you 100% of every single day, but it comes and goes as it pleases. Sometimes I can pinpoint the conversation or the life happening that is making me feel anxious, and sometimes it’s harder to discern and “I just feel anxious”. So, when those moments arise, these are 5 things that personally work for me to show anxiety who’s boss. And I know every single person is different, but if you are feeling anxious and maybe you’re not be sure where to go from there, first make an appointment to see a professional, and while you are waiting for that appointment date, these could be a good place to start.
- Take 5 deep breaths. 5, very slow, very deep breaths. This is something Brian always makes me do when I am feeling anxious. And honestly I put up a fight every time but then I begrudgingly do it and then feel heaps better after. I know what you’re thinking, that sounds way too easy to help. But it helps to calm you down so you can then move onto the rest.
- Go outside and get fresh air. Most of the time for me this consists of going for a run and listening to worship music. There is just something about running while being sung truths that is so very calming to me. If you’re not a runner, maybe walking outside. If music makes you more anxious, leave your phone at home and just get caught up in nature.
- The goals of #1 and #2 are to practice mindfulness and bring yourself to the present. Anxiety can take you into an unrealistic world in your mind, and being in the present and aware of the present brings you back from that world. So, spend time in that present. Where are you, what is happening, what can you do right now that will change the things you are anxious about?
- Write down the lies anxiety is telling me. I literally have an entire journal (and currently filling up another one) full of the lies I hear when I am anxious. Anxiety fogs your “normal” thinking patterns and leads you down into a dark path into your mind. That my friend, is the anxiety talking.
- Have a “go-to” person to talk things out with. Being able to go to someone and say “hey, I’m feeling anxious, I just need to talk it out” is immensely helpful because it serves a similar purpose as the lies task. That person is able to speak truth into your life and help you recognize what is the anxiety talking and what is actual truth. This may not be easy at first, especially if the person isn’t familiar with an anxious mind. But having conversations with them when you are not anxious about what you need from them when you are, can be super helpful.
But the most important step is going to see a professional! Even if you really don’t want to I can’t tell you enough how helpful it can be. And not being ashamed of how you are feeling, because girlfriend I’ve been there and you are not alone. So I guess that’s actually 7 things…….