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When anxiety strikes it can feel like an uphill struggle to slow down your mind and find a moment of calm. And to one extent or another I’m sure it’s something that we’ve all experienced. But, I’m grateful that today it’s at least something that we’re talking about because nothing good comes of things that are left in the shadows.
So, whether anxiety is a daily battle for you or something that raises its head occasionally, what can you do to tackle it? Now, I’m not a medical professional and can only speak from personal experience. But, I want to share a few things that have helped me over the years and that i use daily while managing a home and full time business...
TURN DOWN YOUR INNER CRITIC
There are occasional days when I can still struggle a little with this one because my inner critic has been loud and unrelenting in the past - I’m sure you know the feeling! But patience and perseverance really pay off. Be mindful of when your inner critic is at its worst and when you hear it, take a deep breath and begin to fill your mind with positive emotions. You can do this by remembering a time when you felt more powerful, you could repeat a few positive affirmations, sing to your favourite playlist or exercise - anything that breaks the pattern and releases the grip your inner critic has on your mind.
WRITE IT OUT
Empty your mind onto a piece of paper, it’s simple but for me it’s like therapy. Once I’ve written it all down, the intensity of my emotions reduces significantly, my head is clearer and I feel in control again. You might find that using a daily journal helps or just writing on a scrap of paper when the need arises - there’s no right or wrong way to do this but I encourage you to give it a try.
Often our minds are filled with worries about the future and concerns about the way we behaved in the past. We waste so much time ruminating over things and wondering how they could have been different. This is one of the reasons why I believe that mindfulness and meditation has had such an impact on my life. When we learn to stay in the present moment our mind not only becomes calmer but we’re able to feel more gratitude for those little things that we sometimes miss or take for granted. Next time your mind begins to wander into the past or start worrying about the future, try letting your thoughts pass by like clouds while you look around you and take in the sights and sounds; one at a time. Take a few deep breaths and focus on what you are experiencing in the moment. Mindfulness is a wonderful tool to use to help your mind feel calmer and can be particularly useful for us introverts when faced with stressful social situations.
The food we eat nourishes our minds and bodies. Yet during times of anxiety or stress we often neglect ourselves and make bad food choices. We know that junk food makes us feel good in the short term but it really does much more harm than we realise. You can make small but significant changes; try adding more fresh produce to your diet, eat small but regularly to keep your blood sugar levels steady and if you’re on the move all day keep easy snacks with you - an apple, banana or a packet of nuts. I can’t leave this subject without also mentioning caffeine and alcohol - both are known to increase anxiety levels and reducing them as much as you can makes the world of difference.
MOVE YOUR BODY
We all know that exercise has a wonderful effect on our mental health but that doesn’t mean that you have to hit your local gym. It’s more important to find something that you love; for me that’s daily yoga and walking my dog every morning. But, maybe you love to swim or used to run often but haven’t for a few years? Starting something new can also be the start of a new chapter, opening up all kinds of opportunities. Remember that the important thing is to get started and so even a walk out on your lunch break or walking the kids to school is a great start.
Too often we think that change has to involve a huge gesture, but I believe that reducing anxiety and calming your mind can be achieved by taking small daily steps in the areas of life that we can control. Take care not to make too many changes in one go, be kind to yourself and don’t forget to celebrate your progress along the way.
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.