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Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths. —Charles H. Spurgeon
It’s an all-too familiar feeling. That churning lead knot in your stomach, feeling like you can’t catch your breath, a heart beating too fast. Your head starts to pound and you wonder how on earth you will possibly meet that deadline, make that mortgage payment, or face that problem. You toss and turn at night, unable to sleep, consumed by the worry and stress. You feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders.
While anxiety affects some of us more than others, it is almost universally self-defeating. The more anxious we become, the less we are able to deal with our problems in a constructive way. Succumbing to anxiety takes away all our power in a given situation.
Years ago, in the midst of my deep depression, I also suffered from debilitating anxiety and insomnia. I was often paralyzed by panic attacks and weakened by a lack of sleep, all of which only made my depression worse. In fact, it wasn’t until I began to adopt some concrete coping methods that I was able to finally become healthy again. In fact, I still use these same strategies to overcome those occasional moments of anxiety:
- Deep breathing. Anxiety and stress often causes shallow breathing, which in turn compounds our stress because our body is not getting enough oxygen. I’ve found that taking a few moments to focus on my breathing, drawing in deep breaths through my nose, then letting it out through my mouth can help calm my nerves, slow my heart rate, and help me relax.
- Positive self-talk. Sometimes I just need to just tell myself that everything is going to be okay. Sometimes it is hard to see the forest through the trees, and occasionally I need to remind myself that whatever I am worried about will blow over eventually, and that in the grand scheme of things it is not the end of the world. Other times I need to talk myself into acceptance of a situation that can simply not be changed.
- Writing lists. Often my stress comes from having too many things on my plate and worrying that I might forget something important. I’ve found that writing things down (or making a note on my phone) as soon as I think of something helps keep anxiety at bay.
- No backlight before bedtime. I try to make a point to stop looking at any backlit screens, such as my phone or computer, just before bed. Instead I usually try to read for about 20 minutes, which helps me relax so I can sleep well.
Although it probably won’t happen all at once, refusing to give in to anxiety will ultimately make a dramatic difference in your overall wellbeing. Even better, it will give you the strength to overcome your difficulties instead of just worrying about them.
Be sure to read Edie’s corresponding post, More Rest.
Take some time today to do something kind for yourself that you don’t normally make time for. Read a book, take a bath, bake cookies, get a pedicure, take a walk, sit and watch the sunset over a glass of wine, do some yoga…..give yourself at least 60 minutes today to rest and recharge. Share what you did or what you are planning to do today in the comments below or on Facebook.
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Do you ever struggle with anxiety? How will you relax & recharge today?