Anyone who suffers from anxiety will know, once it starts it can be difficult to get out of it. Once the negative thoughts start, they're hard to stop.
Sometimes you just have to ride it out and know that this too shall pass. And it does pass. Other times, you can catch it pre spiral and try to stop it in its tracks.
It’s not always easy and it certainly takes some practice, but there are some ways to stop an anxious moment becoming an anxious day.
Start with gratitude
It sounds cliché, but this really works. For whatever reason, our minds are almost programmed to see the negative first. But, by starting each day with gratitude you can literally train your brain to see the positives.
Have a small notebook on your bedside table and each morning jot down 3 things that you’re grateful for. Small, non-materialistic things and a few lines about why you feel grateful. You will be amazed how quickly you begin to notice the things you can be grateful for and not the things that are difficult.
When possible, try to start your day with some movement. It could be some light stretching, yoga, a run or even some dancing. Nothing starts the day off better than some of your favourite songs and a dance around the kitchen!
Mind, Body, Feeling
This is an exercise that can be hugely beneficial when you are starting to feel anxious.
You close your eyes, take some deep breaths and literally do an internal scan of yourself. Start with your body, are you holding tension anywhere? Often, we can be stressing about something we are not consciously aware of. You could be extremely irritable and realise later you were hungry or thirsty. Check in with yourself, how are you feeling?
Try to use one word or two to explain how you are feeling and see if that is the cause of your anxiety. Lastly, take a minute to check in with your mind. Watch your thoughts as they rush by. See if there is one thought that is jumping out at you. That could be the reason behind your anxiety, too.
Find your resources
Unfortunately, the more anxiety you experience, the more it helps you to find what works in that situation and what doesn’t. For me, the gym and music are my go-to.
I will almost always feel a turn in my day if I go to the gym. For some, it could be a run, a walk, some yoga, journaling. Find your own resources and what works for you. Keep a list of them and when you feel anxiety taking over and your mind is telling you that nothing will help, use it. And know that it will pass.
Accept and Move On
Sometimes we can get more anxious trying not to be anxious. If you are having a particularly tough day, sometimes all you can do is accept it. It’s important to remember that’s ok.
Make self-care a priority, whether that is staying in bed all day, staying on the couch drinking tea or crying to your best friend. Know that for this moment that is what you need and that’s okay. Try to quieten the anxious part of your mind that will tell you to do more and remember, whatever you do to get through the day is enough.