By Ariana Nelson
You don’t have to be a therapist to become an expert in your own mental health. Ariana Nelson, one of PPI’s administrative staff, gifts us in this blog through her own experience and research.
I’ll tell you a little secret: We all have anxiety.
We all experience worrying, stress, nervousness, and unease at least once during our lives. For some people, like me, anxiety is a constant passenger. It accompanies us in the form of tangled, restless worries and fears. For others, it might come and go like waves against the shore.The difference is in how we cope with it. Here are five ways to reduce your anxiety from a fellow worrywart:
- Acknowledge and accept your anxiety. It’s important to listen to your body when it speaks. Ignoring feelings of anxiety is like throwing a rug over a mess you made: it’s still there. What’s worse is that hiding your anxiety prolongs your suffering. It continues the cycle of self-blame for the anxiety and in some ways, is a silent punishment. When you acknowledge the anxiety, you’re acknowledging how it makes you feel. You are giving yourself compassion and the room to understand why you’re feeling the way you do.
- Try out these relaxation techniques. There are several techniques used around the world today to reduce anxiety. The most common techniques include grounding,visualization and muscle relaxation. Although these are separate techniques, more than one is often used. To read more about grounding, visualization, or muscle relaxation techniques, visit one of the following links:
- Adopt a healthy distraction. Don’t take this the wrong way. Distraction doesn’t mean to ignore the anxiety or to find ways to avoid it. By distraction, I mean finding a means to give yourself a break when you need it. A good example of a healthy distraction might be remove yourself for twenty minutes to color or to listen to music. Distractions are meant to be temporary activities when you need to step back and take a breather.
- Give yourself a little love. When was the last time you had a “you” moment?Sometimes we focus too much on the barebones of life and forget how much a little selfappreciation every now and then can make a difference. It doesn’t have to be complicated: set aside a night to pamper yourself once a week, even if it’s just taking a bubble bath with candles. Watch a movie with a loved one, get a massage, read a short story, or take a walk. Don’t limit yourself to only doing stuff because you have to. Do things that feel good ‘just because’.
- Remember the importance of self care. When we’re stressed, our needs tend to fly out the window. We stay up late to finish projects, we skip meals to make up for lost time, and push ourselves to the limits. When anxiety pays a visit, we’re tired, hungry, and completely unprepared for whatever it throws at us. Instead of throwing good habits to the wind in a rush, stick to them. Be sure to stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, and eat well. Don’t forget to keep going to the gym and if you haven’t gone, try it out! Physical activity is one proven way to physically relieve stress and it makes your anxious brain feel good.