Small, but Significant, Lifestyle Changes to Help Manage Anxiety
Living with anxiety can be very difficult, but there are some steps you can take that might help. These are day-to-day changes you can make that will help you manage your anxiety.
These strategies are not a miracle cure. Breathing on a mat will not make your problems go away. But it is important to remember that you are not helpless in this fight. While something that worked for one person might not work for you, that does not mean there is nothing that will work for you — or that daily, destructive anxiety is inevitable.
Sometimes a slight change or tweak in our routine can at least make anxiety a bit more manageable. Making small changes also does not replace seeing a therapist or taking medication, if that is what you need.
1. Make Your Bed Every Morning
Making your bed is a way to start your day feeling like you have already accomplished something. Also, no matter how bad the day is, you have something nice to come home to.
2. Keeping Your Phone on Silent
Keep your phone on silent. Anxiety can come from sudden phone calls that causes you more anxiety/drama/stress.
3. Open up to Others About Your Anxiety
Being open and honest about your anxiety can reduce it. Sometimes, telling people you need to leave an area or take a break or give you space can make the difference.
4. Spending Less Time on SocialMedia/Limit Screen Time Take temporary social media breaks by uninstalling social media apps. Sometimes anxiety rises because people tend to compare their life to others highlight reel and it can do a number on your self-esteem.
Try not to reach for your phone first thing in the morning. Replace reaching for your phone with spending time with pets or appreciating the morning silence.
Take a complete day where you switch off. No phone, internet or leaving the house. Take a full day recharge,
5. Say No
Be honest and tell people no. Saying ‘maybe’ doesn’t help. We all have limits on what we can do. If you can do something, you will but it is OK to say No.
6. Use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques
Here’s one technique; Try to objectively reflect on and assess your day. For example, think about what happened that day and rate how good the day was. Be able to provide ‘evidence’ from the day to back up your rating. Since anxiety can convince you that you had a bad day, make it concrete by reflecting on the specific goals you did meet and the specific things you did accomplish and the specific little surprises that were positive. Your attitude towards the day can improve. It can cut down on how often you claim I had a bad day. You will be able to tell if it was just the anxiety or a bad day. There are apps you can use to track how you rated your days so you can see patterns and you can visually see that you are actually having more good days than bad ones.
7. Start a Mindfulness Practice
Yoga and meditation! Mindfulness can be really helpful; it helps you stay in the present moment. Focusing on your breathing can help you stay grounded.
Anxiety is often so future-focused about what may or may not happen. Mindfulness and gratitude keep you in the moment and help you appreciate what you already have.
You can use a few guided meditation apps and meditate twice a day. Once in the morning, and again at night.
8. Write Down Your Schedule/To-Do List
Have a daily planner, or a chalkboard wall, sticky notes, or an app on your phone to make reminders, goals and notes of encouragement more visible.
9. Work Out
Exercise. Simple but slow workouts consistently help manage anxiety
10. Practice Acceptance Accepting this is part of who I am. It allows you to step back, guilt-free, and helps you let go of how it makes others feel, guilt-free. It may not change the level of anxiety; it only helps takes away the guilt of having it.
11. Cut Toxic People/Things Out of Your Life
Consider dropping all the toxic people in your life. Block. Delete. Unfollow the news and political pages on social media. Without all the toxicity, you will have more time to focus on loving and caring for those who care about you and your well-being.
12. Establish a Bedtime Routine
Established a bedtime routine. This could include, using special lavender soap, taking a bath, reading something inspirational, breathwork, repeating a mantra of positive self-talk journaling. In addition, preparing for the next day by getting items ready, or making a to do list can help you relax and worry less about tomorrow.
Keep a journal to track what was happening when you began to feel yourself getting overwhelmed. Include a list in your journal of grounding techniques, or other self-care ideas.
14. Cut Out Caffeine
Cut out caffeine and drink more water. Not only does it help with anxiety, but it helps to be hydrated.
15. Give Yourself Time in the Morning to Prepare for the Day
Wake up an hour earlier to get some alone and free time in your home before everyone else wakes up.
16. Practice Gratitude
Listing three things you are thankful for every day. Or, when you think of something negative you must stop and think of something you are grateful for. For example, if you had car trouble during the day, you refocus on the help you received from the mechanic to get your car repaired.
-Carol Van Kampen, LMSW
Carol Van Kampen, LMSW is an individual private practice psychotherapist who specializes in anxiety, depression, grief, and trauma treatment at Marsh Psychology Group. Contact her at marshpsychologygroup.com