Take a long hard look at your life. What tweaks and changes could be made to assist you in living in a healthier and happier way? If you are thinking that you are way too busy to add anything else to your plate right now, then this article is for you! Even the smallest changes can make a big difference.
Have Direction in Your Life
Do you have direction in your life? More than creating specific goals, where are those goals going to take you? This may require exploring your values. Writing your values down and periodically reviewing them will afford you the opportunity to make sure they are still aligned with the direction you wish to head. Values may change over time as life changes around you. Refine them, rewrite them, and make them a priority.
Eliminate Negative Communication
Self-talk and communication with others tend to be negative at times. Be aware of this and make changes. Negative thoughts are going to come in, which is not the issue. The issue is believing that those negative thoughts are true.
One of the keys to making changes in your thought pattern starts with nonjudgmental awareness. How are you going to be able to make changes if you are not aware of what needs to be changed? Practice reframing those negative thoughts into something more positive. Practice challenging and disproving them.
Right now, this will be work. You will have to be consciously aware of your negative thoughts as they happen and then work hard to make changes. Just like learning to drive a car… as you are learning, you need to pay attention to EVERYTHING. Checking your mirrors, looking for your blinker, remembering to use your blinker, etc. Gradually, you begin to do these things automatically. A similar thing happens with negative thought patterns. As you work to pay attention to and alter your negative thinking, it becomes more natural and automatic.
Put into action all the useful information you have gathered on stress and anxiety. Practice the strategies you have learned from articles, books, podcasts, and even advice from good friends or family members who understand what you are going through.
Take a few minutes to think about what relaxes you. What gives you peace, brings you joy, helps you come down from a highly emotional time? Common ways of coping with anxiety would be listening to music, lighting candles, deep breathing, meditating, cleaning, and journaling. Make a list of the things that work for you and post it somewhere in your house or on your phone. At the start of feeling anxious, do those things. Take action…
Be Vulnerable and Compassionate
Give yourself a break. You are not perfect and will never be perfect. No one is. In fact, behind that Facebook or Instagram post where it seems like that person has the perfect life is an imperfect person. They have struggles in their life as well, they just don’t post about the bad stuff.
Learn to be vulnerable and accepting of mistakes and challenges. Find peace in the knowledge that you don’t have to be perfect in order to live a fulfilling life. When mistakes are made, own it. Take responsibility for your actions and move on because, guess what, you can’t go back in time. So, remember that it will do no good to worry about it now. Learn from mistakes and move forward.
Be Mindful and Present
Instead of worrying about the future or regretting the past, focus on the present moment. You can use mindfulness skills such as paying attention to your 5 senses in order to bring your thoughts into the present moment. Notice the beauty of what is around you. Listen to the music in the background or the leaves blowing in the wind. Take your shoes off and notice the ground beneath your feet. Take a slow sip of your morning coffee and enjoy the flavor. Light candles. Pay attention to the smell of food cooking or freshly cut grass. Living in the moment and being consciously aware of your surroundings may help you get out of your head. This could lead to increased feelings of happiness, as well as experiencing less stress and anxiety.
Although it is tough to do as we muddle through life’s challenges, attempt to be aware of the positive things that are going on around you. Take that magnifying glass off the negative things that happen in your life. Be grateful for the good and accepting of the bad.
Yes, it is possible for you to decrease your anxiety. The time to act is now. If you are at the point where your anxiety is hindering your daily functioning, it may be time for you to seek help from a counselor. Give Amy Wine Counseling Center a call at 832-421-8714 if you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment.