Does worry sometimes overwhelm you? You’re not alone. Worry or anxiety stresses out millions of people every day. Here are six easy ways that really work to help you manage your worries and live a more fulfilling life.
When you find yourself going over and over something in your mind, ask yourself: “Can I control the outcome of this or not?” If you can control it, take the action you need. If you can’t control something, for example how someone behaves towards you, acknowledge this, but know that you can control how you react to them. You can make a choice to react authentically and respectfully, which could mean just walking away.
2. Identify what you stand for
Have a think about what you value most in life – is it family, is it health, is it fun, is it kindness, or is it a bit of all of these? When you’re deciding on whether you can control the worry or not, think about whether your proposed action fits with your values.
3. Catastrophising versus Problem-Solving
Are you someone that often goes to the worst case scenario? You’re not alone. Instead of catastrophising, I recommend you simply look at the facts and problem solve. Taylor thought she had offended her friend Milly because Milly hadn’t replied to a text for several days. She catastrophised and wondered what she’d done to offend Milly. She went over and over their conversations from the previous days but couldn’t pinpoint anything she’d done wrong. She then started to feel angry at Milly. She decided to look at the facts. Milly had just broken up with her boyfriend and she was hunting for a new job. Maybe she was just busy. Instead of texting, Taylor phoned Milly and sure enough, Milly had been completely preoccupied for the last few days, and had simply forgotten to reply to the text. Problem solved.
4. Eat regular meals
When you’re worried about something, it’s important to listen to your body. When we haven’t eaten for a while, some of us develop low blood sugar, which can cause us to feel even more anxious than usual. Check in with yourself, and ask when you last ate some food. You could just need a boost to your blood sugar. When you do eat, make sure it’s healthy and unprocessed.
5. Develop some positive catch-phrases
When you’re catastrophising, it is really useful to have some easy catch-phrases at your disposal such as: “I will get through this.” “Last time this happened I was fine.” “I can’t control this, but I can control how I respond.” “Before I say yes or no, I’ll tell them I’ll think about it.” “Before I make a decision, I’ll go for a walk.” “I’m catastrophising! I need to look at the facts.”
When you’re deep in the pit of anxiety, remember to breathe right down into your abdomen. If you can, stop what you’re doing and take yourself somewhere quiet. Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, allow your shoulders to soften and relax and do 10 long, slow breaths, breathing right down into your abdomen.
If you still can’t stop the anxiety it can be really useful to consult a therapist. Helping people with anxiety is an area I specialise in, so give me a call.