I’ve always wondered what it would feel like to go an entire day without worrying. Is that even possible? As a naturally anxious person, I can’t even imagine feeling so carefree that nothing bothered me. And I’m a writer, a profession known for inviting judgment, so you can imagine how the wheels in my head are always spinning. That being said, I’m grateful that my anxiety is manageable and doesn’t dramatically impact my day-to-day life. For many people, however, this is not the case. Some anxiety can be debilitating and life-altering.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 18.1% of U.S. adults had any anxiety disorder in the past year. To put it in perspective, that’s 40 million people who suffer from this every day.
Many people practice meditation to calm their anxiety, but it’s not for everyone. If you’re like me, the idea of sitting still and letting go can be stressful in itself. Here are five alternative techniques you can start trying today to overcome your anxiety and take back control of your life:
Journal Every Day
Writing down your thoughts can help rewire your way of thinking. When it comes to anxiety in particular, journaling is beneficial because it helps you identify your triggers. As you review what you wrote, take note of the people and events that left you feeling emotionally drained. By identifying what your triggers are, you can make a conscious effort to minimize or avoid them going forward.
Control Your Mental Focus
Becoming aware of your thoughts is a key component to managing stress and anxiety. The easiest way to accomplish this is to tuning into the present moment. By making this simple mental shift, you will be able to process your thoughts in a calmer, more level-headed manner.
Imagine you are the observer and your thoughts are passing in front of you. As an observer, you don’t get sucked into a negative thought spiral. You have the power to choose whether you want to lean in or take a step back.
Numerous studies have shown that repetition is vital to creating positive, lasting change. If you can find healthy coping techniques when you feel the anxiety creeping in, it will become a habit over time.
Visualize a peaceful scene in nature or a place that relaxes you. The point of this exercise is to bring your mind and body back into balance.
There’s no denying the mind and body are connected are many different levels, so by adopting healthier eating habits, you will start to see a positive shift in your mental state.
Avoid caffeine. This means coffee, soda and other drinks which affect the nervous system.
Eat nuts and berries. The berries with the most nutrients and vitamins are blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and cranberries. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts are also extremely effective to calm your anxious mind.
Connect to Nature
Have you noticed that sense of peace you feel after a long walk? Being outdoors is scientifically proven to promote physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing.
The beauty of nature is that you are effortlessly put in the present moment. For example, think about how it feels when you walk on the beach. As you admire the ocean, smell the salty air, and listen to the birds, you become deeply connected to your senses. This is what makes you feel truly alive.