Hey everyone, this is Sean coming to you live from Wellspring. Today I just want to talk a little bit about anxiety. Anxiety is one of the mostly commonly felt emotions that we feel; probably at least once a day for most people. And that’s normal. Our brains are built to feel anxiety, it’s a survival thing. You have acute anxiety when something jumps out in front of you or a car swerves at you and you have a response to that. You have a fight or flight response to that and that’s totally normal, it’s helping you stay alive. However, anxiety can get out of hand, as we all know. Then we can have chronic anxiety where we constantly have that elevated stress response and maybe we don’t know why. So I wanted to give 5 tips to manage anxietywhen it’s kind of getting out of hand.
So the first one is exercise. Exercise helps with so much. Mental health and physical health are tied together very intimately. So anything that you can do to be physically healthy is probably going to help with your mental health including anxiety, depression, anger, really anything. It doesn’t have to be a lot. You can run up and down some stairs, get your heart rate elevated, and that may lower the stress hormones in your body. Also, going for a 20 – 30 minute walk everyday. Overtime, that also helps you feel a little more calm and relaxed and helps to keep the stress hormones down. Exercise is very, VERY important.
Number two is deep breaths. I know we hear that all the time, but it really, really works. The best thing to do is to count to three or four (whatever you can count to when you are breathing). Breath in for one…two…three. And then breathe out …one…two…three. Try breathing through your nose. This will also bring that fight or flight response down. It really works works; it chills you out. So if you are feeling intense anxiety at a specific moment, try deep breathing, it really, really does work.
Number three is mindfulness. Last month I did a little video on five easy ways to be mindful everyday. Mindfulness doesn’t have to be anything crazy or big or a lot. It is just tuning in to how you feel at the present moment; what’s going on around you at the present moment. This also, much like the deep breathing, helps bring you back into your body, into your mind right then and there so your not worried about what is going on in the future. Which is what causes a lot of anxiety.
Number four, don’t fight the anxiety. I know that sounds a little bit counter intuitive when we feel something unpleasant our immediate response is to fight back, push back against it. But, a lot of times trying to avoid the anxiety is what creates more anxiety. Sometimes the more you struggle against it the more anxious you get and you just kind of spiral out of control. So, this takes time, it’s very hard to do. But mindfulness, deep breathing and exercise will all help with this. Just letting your self sit with the unpleasantness of anxiety and telling yourself, “I am feeling anxious.” And saying that even out loud can help you deal with it. It may not totally go away, but that is not necessarily the point your going to live your life a little bit more calmly and let that anxiety pass through you. It comes and goes. it’s an emotion. Nothing serious is going on.
And then, number five is do what you love. Figure out who you are, what you live for, what gets you excited, what do you want out of life. You know a lot of times anxiety can prevent you from doing what you want and that just creates more anxiety or that can feed into depression. So, with these other four tips and with regular therapy, this will help you do the stuff you want to do in spite of feeling anxiety. Or your feeling anxious, but your going to do it anyway. And then over time the anxiety will go down, because you are like “hey, there is really not that much to worry about.” And your body will adjust to that. So, figure out what you want and go get it! Even if you feel anxious.
There are plenty of other ways to manage anxiety, there are so many articles about managing anxiety. There are a lot of great resources online and of course there are all of us here at Wellspring and we would love to work with you! If you are feeling anxious all the time, you are not alone. It is very common. It is probably the most thing that people seek out therapy for. We have a ton of great therapists here at Wellspring, so please get in touch with us and we will help you out with anxiety.