Saturday, January 30, 2016

Every Day

I deal with anxiety every day. But, even as I write this...I realize..I'm (pretty much) okay with that. It has been interesting as I have learned more and more how to work with it instead of against it. I still have loads to learn, but it amazes me how much better I have gotten at dealing with it. Here are some things that help me:

1. I have found one of the best things for me when I start to feel anxious is to pay attention to my breathing. I am a religious person, and I fully believe that God sends His spirit (the Holy Ghost) to comfort us. When I feel anxious, I strive to breathe and pray to invite Heavenly Father's Spirit to comfort my heart. I am so thankful for this. I tell myself, "Just breathe. That's the only thing you have to do right now. Just breathe."

2. I have been learning not to fear the actual physical anxious feeling. Everyone may experience it a little differently, but I tend to feel my anxiety in my chest and sometimes in my legs (I know it sounds weird). I have started to almost "step back" from the feelings to observe them. When I step back, I realize this feeling that seemed so HUGE and SCARY is just a sort of pressure on my chest or a tightness in my legs. Like my mom has told me, "Remember, it's just a feeling."

3. I talk to myself. I'm not ashamed to say it! I often have to talk myself through things. I often say, "Everything is just fine. I'm feeling a little anxious, but that's okay." I tell myself to breathe. I tell myself I only have to do one thing at a time. I tell myself everything is going to be great. I tell myself that God loves me.

4. I try to validate my feelings a little bit. There are some things I get anxious about that are quite ridiculous or don't make any sense, but there are some things that are very normal to worry about. I try to tell myself, "It's okay to worry about <insert fear here>, but I don't need to let it debilitate me."

5. I try to give my brain time to rest. If I can tell my mind is starting to obsessively worry about something, I try to do something that doesn't take a lot of brain power: TV, solitaire, resting, taking a shower, surfing the internet, etc. I try not to waste a lot of time, but give my brain time to rest and recover.

6. I've talked about my quiet book before, it has helped me so many times. My quiet book is filled with quotes I have collected that really touch my heart. Most of mine are from religious leaders, but they can be quotes from anywhere. If I start to feel my mind get "cloudy" or I start to obsessively worry, I pull out my quiet book and read the quotes that are special to me.

7. I talk to others about it. One of the things that has helped me the most is talking about it. I used to hide my anxiety. I didn't want people to know about it. Now, I am very open about it. I try to communicate with my husband when I am having a hard time. I try to notice others I see struggling and talk to them about it. I blog about it. It really helps to talk. When I talk, I realize I'm not the only one who experiences these things.

I used to react to anxiety by trying to fight it. I would try to force my brain to think differently. I would get extremely tense, emotional, and unhappy. Now, I try to "go with the flow." I know the anxiety will pass, so I try to calmly deal with it until it subsides. Sometimes it's hard, but it is very doable.

I can't lie, I often imagine what it would be like to have anxiety completely out of my life. But, until then, I can use the things I've learned to live with anxiety and still be very happy.  

A page from my Quiet Book
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