Unplugging Anxiety

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I am a bona fide bundle of nerves some days, consumed with excessive anxiety. Sometimes I just wake up with it.  It feels like I have been plugged into an electric socket and all of my nerve endings are “live-wires” without their sheathing.  Other days it just creeps in when I least expect it.

The causes of my anxiety are endless. Here is just a snack-size sampling. If you struggle with anxiety, your list may look very different.

  • Unnecessary worry about what other’s think of me or my choices.
  • Over-thinking prior interactions.
  • Anticipated, potentially uncomfortable future conversations.
  • Old, unresolved hurts.
  • Embarrassment about procrastination of important tasks.
  • Feelings of perceived inadequacy.

There are SO many ways to address anxiety — diet, medication, meditation, therapy, exercise, etc.  The list goes on and on.   I have tried all sorts of things, but here are a few tricks that really help me to keep my anxiety in check, and slow down the anxiety hamster wheel that causes my productivity and peace of mind to plummet.

1.  Get to work.   I sit down and write out my to-do list.  The anxiety is then transferred out of my head and onto the paper.  That helps.  If I then complete an anxiety-producing task on the list, that helps even more.

2.  Put it on the shelve and find a distraction.  For example, I tell myself, “I will deal with this on Friday.”  My emotional space is now free, at least for a time and I focus on something else.  Often when “Friday” arrives, the problem seems smaller.

3.  Focus on daily self-care.  I wear my favorite comfy clothes, go for a long walk, call a friend, or read a book.

4.  Avoid caffeine.  For me, this is a BIG one and by far the hardest to do.

5.  Get some sleep.  My brain needs time to recover and reset.

6.  Talk about it.  Sharing ideas is powerful and keeps me from feeling isolated.  Anxiety should not be a taboo topic.

What types of things do you worry about?  How do you help calm your brain when you are feeling out of control?  Message me your stories and suggestions and I’ll share them.  Let’s help each other!