We all have a different definition of the word anxiety.
For some of us, it makes our skin crawl and our chest grow tight. Specific images or thoughts might flood to the surface and in an instant it’s hard to breathe. For others, the word doesn’t phase you much, and it may even stay in your mind for only a split second before it’s gone. The truth is every single one of us deals with anxiety in some way or another. We might call it different things, but it’s there. And the way we choose to approach it makes all the difference in how much it gets to control our lives… or not control our lives.
Anxiety is fueled by fear, so the second that you give into any anxious thought and begin to worry about it you are adding fuel to keep the anxious fires burning. The most important thing that you could do when an anxious thought crosses your mind is combat it with something positive and true — something that is the opposite of what you’re afraid of. For those of you, who are like me, that fight anxiety tooth and nail every single day: I am not here to minimize you — I am here to empower you.
In the midst of your struggle, here are 4 things you can do to ease the heavy burden of anxiety and lean into peace:
Take a Deep Breath, Start Stretching
Did you know that deep breathing exercises are actually scientifically proven to relieve anxiety? Taking a deep breath allows you to refocus yourself and calm down. You could also sit down on the ground and start stretching while you take deep breaths as well. If you are at work, slip into the bathroom and try to bend over and touch your toes and breathe slowly counting to 10 — then reach to the sky and count to 10 again. Repeat 5 times or until you feel better.
Combat Fear with Positive Truth
The only way that your anxiety gets to take you over is if you give into the lies its whispering to you. Whatever it is, YOU get to decide what kind of power anxiety has over you. Replace the negative with the positive and dwell on those positive truths. Watch what happens! Here are some examples:
|Negative Thoughts||Positive Truths|
|You’re not good enough.||I am good enough.|
|You’re going to end up alone.||I have people who love me.|
|I can’t do this.||I am capable of success.|
Start Listing Things You Are Thankful for
After you replace your anxious thoughts with positive truths, start listing things you’re thankful for. It can be family, friends, running water, a roof over your head, the sun shining… Anything that brings you joy and purpose. List as many things as you can and before you know it, you’ll feel a lot better! You have a lot to live for, remember that.
Reach Out for Help
If you’re starting to feel anxiety crash over you, text your spouse or a safe friend and let them know you’re feeling really anxious and need some positive things to focus on. Get out your journal and start writing down everything you’re feeling. Call on the help of a professional! Just make sure you speak up — speaking up is key when it comes to battling anxiety. Remember: If you keep your anxiety a secret, it grows and festers in the darkness of your mind. But if you shed light on it and speak up, you take away some of its power!
Written by Anna Collins
Anna Collins lives in sunny Southern California with her husband and two children. She is passionate about her marriage, staying at home with her kids, writing, coffee, good conversation, and game night. Her life dream is to someday write a book and see it published.