Anxiety is awful.

Anxiety is a terrible feeling. It interrupts our life and makes us miserable. But there are constructive things we can do. These same tips can be used to manage depression and low moods, while also improving your long term mental health

I will be adding to this list as I think of more things and as I continue to research ways of managing anxiety.

Tips for managing your anxiety

  • Walk
  • Get outside
  • For every negative thought, examine just how much is based on reality.
  • Have some good-smelling oils, candles. Lavender is especially soothing. Spray where you can get a whiff. Spray on pillows at night.
  • Don’t judge yourself or your anxiety.
  • Quit fighting it.
  • Find something to enjoy every day.
  • Speak kindly to yourself.
  • Tell yourself “I am not my anxiety”. Don’t let it define you.
  • Keep something with you that serves as a “Stop” sign. I keep a small stone in my purse and pockets. Rubbing it reminds me to reset.
  • Call someone.
  • Pray for someone.
  • Distract yourself. Make a list of distractions you can turn to. Put them in a jar and pull them out when needed.
  • From 101 ways to stop anxiety” by Tanya Peterson “Create a passion board. Pin drawings, words, anything that sparks an interest.”
  • Forgive anyoe you need to. It doesn’t condone their actions. But why take poison expecting the other person to die?
  • Forgive yourself.
  • Write a letter to yourself that encourages you as if you were writing to someone else struggling with anxiety.
  • Write a short book where you are the herione.
  • Avoid anxiety-producing situations until you are better. Remember, though, you can’t avoid them forever. There is something to be said for getting out of your comfort one.
  • Don’t feel guilty about your anxiety. You are human, after all.
  • If you are a believer in Christ, make a list of all the Bible verses that address anxiety. Memorize them.
  • Create some “quiet’ moment rituasl that calm you down.
  • List anything you would do if anxiety didn’t hazve a stronghold on you.
  • Take a bath.
  • Color in an adult coloring book.
  • Paint something. (A picture or a vase. Doesn’t matter. Just paint.)
  • Write one full page of whatever you are feeling. Do not edit yourself. Julie Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way” has some great ideas called, Morning Pages”.
  • Quit overthinking everything.
  • Learn something new
  • Read
  • Read something funny.
  • Make a Zen garden so you can play in the sand.
  • Think of some rituals you might enjoy. Rituals can be very soothing.
  • Watch something funny.
  • Think back to a time when you weren’t anxious. Is there a way you can transfer some of those thoughts and feelings to anxious times?
  • Get a ruler. (Or draw a line with numbers on it. )At what point on that ruler are you right now? Can you plan that by the end of the day, you will have moved down an inch? How can you do that? Make a plan. (Adapted from 101 Ways To Stop Anxiety.)
  • Dance to your favorite music.
  • Sing
  • Create a plan for social anxiety. Arrive early. Pick just one or two people to talk to. Have some conversation starters in mind.
  • Have an emergency plan. What works best for you when you are experiencing anxiety. Keep a list handy. The more detailed, the better. For me, it’s a distraction, every time. My personal favorites, get outside, walk, putter.

Questions to ask yourself:

Sometimes just asking ourselves some questions can really help. How we answer can give us some clues as to where to begin. These questions are not meant to be used during an active grieving crisis, however. They are used when anxiety has become routine for you. They are also not meant to take the place of sound medical advice, or medication but can certainly be an adjunct to these.

  • Has anything changed recently? Changes, welcome or unwelcome, can cause anxiety.
  • Is this just an episode or has it been going on for a while? If it’s recent, you can probably find the cause.
  • What am I afraid of? (Anxiety is often tied to fear.) Be honest about what causes your fear. Don’t judge it.
  • Am I unreasonably worried about something? In other words, does my worry make real sense?
  • Is what your anxious about reasonable? Sometimes our anxiety is appropriate and reasonable. Most of the time, it isn’t.
  • Am I feeling guilty about something? If you are, should you?
  • Why wasn’t I anxious before right now? Where have my thoughts been just prior to this episode?
  • Am I abnormally stressed? Extra responsibility easily triggers stress.
  • Am I feeling lonely? Have you been isolating yourself?
  • Is there an ongoing troublesome situation that doesn’t seem will ever be resolved? Long-standing problems can be emotionally draining.
  • Has something happened recently that I brushed off? Many times we refuse to admit something bothered us because we don’t thing it would bother anyone else. If it bothers you, admit it and don’t judge it. If it bothers you, it bothers you.
  • Has someone said something recently I ignored and told myself it didn’t bother me? Like the above. Don’t pretend hurtful words weren’t hurtful. Admit them and then do something about it.
  • Are you mad about something? Unresolved anger certainly triggers anxiety. You need to admit it, come to grips with it, address it if necessary, and then move on.
  • When is the last time I did something I truly enjoy?
  • Have I been exercising (can be anything as long as it’s at least twenty minutes, four to five days a week.)
  • Could I be physically ill? Don’t assume it’s anxiety. Get a check-up.
  • How have I been eating? Too much sugar and caffeine can jump start anxiety.
  • Have I been drinking enough water?
  • Have I been getting enough sleep? Poor sleep can cause a myriad of mental, emotional, and physical problems. Make sure you are getting enough.
  • If you’re a follower of Christ, how regular are you in spending time with God. (No guilt here, just questions.)