By Eevee Rogers —
Anxiety is something that I have learned to manage after many years of practice. Through experience, I have learned the most important thing anyone should know who is seeking help with this obstacle is that patience is everything. Just as a seed doesn’t grow into a flower in one night, anxiety cannot be “fixed” in one day. There is a misconception, however, alongside with this. I have found that most people will be tricked in a sense; thinking anxiety is something that keeps them from all sorts of things. It is so important for each of us to realize that we are not defined by the way our brain is wired. We hold the tools to reshape thinking habits in a conscious effort to deflect the negative energy all of your “anxious” thoughts are attracting. Once you start to recognize this, you will be on track to controlling your own brain as if it were a car, recognizing obstacles, but being able to maneuver around them.
Reflect and find the source of your anxiety.
Once you find the root of your troubles, you allow yourself not only validation, but you also open up answers and new doors. Sometimes trusting that everything will be okay doesn’t seem like it can help in your current moment, but it is crucial to take time to consciously say, “I am in control, not this obstacle. I will get past this and far beyond to greater heights; I need only to trust that everything will eventually fall into place. I am ready for the next steps to appear before me, and I am excited to take them head-on.” If you feel like you are lying to yourself at this point, then you find that the true root problem is you. You must believe in yourself, and your ability to conquer anything. Once you accomplish this, and you put out the effort and true belief in yourself, you will find yourself in places you only dreamed of in the past. Know your skies are limitless.
Empty your mind.
Sometimes the key to anxiety is allowing your conscious and unconscious mind to take a break. Regardless of tasks and daily functions, we all need to take even just 15 minutes out of each day for ourselves in an effort to nourish our minds. Each person has different things they do that they enjoy, and that allow them to free their minds for a bit. These things are important, but I have found that simple breathing exercises can also be helpful. Especially in the moments in which I experience panic attacks, I have found the best technique to initially slow down my breathing is by breathing in one nostril and out the other. There are many ways people have found the best comfort for themselves, and finding your own is vital. Once you find yourself focused solely on your breathing, you can allow yourself to relax. Once I reach this point, I like to practice a little breathing exercise that focuses on “healing” your body.
In this exercise, I take a deep breath and visualize that I am sending restorative and revitalizing oxygen to any area in my body that I feel discomfort. On my exhale, I then visualize blowing out all the negative toxins out of my body. If I am experiencing psychological stress, I will imagine that my inhale sends oxygen that carries whatever I need: peace, love, comfort, etc. I then visualize blowing out all negative emotional energy from my body when I exhale. This exercise will allow you to regulate your breathing and will assist in stopping your thoughts so you can relax. As complicated as it sounds, it takes a few minutes at most, unless you choose to meditate after, which I certainly suggest. I like to consider this “refreshing” myself.
Find the loop and stop it.
Once you clear your head, you will be able to calmly examine your thoughts and prioritize them. Sometimes, when I reflect in this manner, I find myself stuck in mental loops, worrying about situations I either have under control or don’t, but I simply doubt myself nonetheless. This is exactly where your issue lies: self-doubt. The moment you think you cannot do something it becomes impossible for you to do it. Likewise, the moment you find you can do something is the moment you find that all sorts of new opportunities arise. Sometimes we all get stuck in these sorts of circles. We doubt ourselves, we worry about worrying, or we have all the tools we need to move towards our goals but need to remind ourselves to keep using them.
Whenever you realize you’re going around in circles, it’s important to stop and give yourself credit for all you have done. Sometimes life moves so quickly that we forget to take a step back and feel accomplished. Do something for yourself. Reward yourself for even the smallest things.
Make a change.
Motivate yourself to do something different if you find yourself in the same, dull way of living that is making you stir-crazy. If you find yourself in a negative place, this means that you are not centered within yourself. Once your core issue is identified, you must make a change. Albert Einstein notoriously said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” You need to change your perspective, or even better, try to add a sense of optimism to it. Although it seems silly, you must constantly remind yourself of the positive affirmations previously mentioned above. Most of us have a common understanding that our obstacles are not the end of the world, but this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do our best to solve them.
The less you focus on all the things you do not like and do not have, the better. Get rid of negative thoughts by replacing them with gratitude and recognize all of all the blessings in your life, big and small. Every detail counts. Even if that moment of gratitude lies in being thankful for the fact that the sun is shining today, it is a powerful feeling. Be thankful that your body is serving you, and affirm it is serving you well. I personally love practicing this outside, in nature. Take a deep breath of fresh air and focus on something simple: tree branches swaying in the wind, rain forming puddles on the ground, birds playing in the sky, or even the slow movement of clouds. Take a moment to be mindful of your surroundings and focus only on the things you can see, touch, taste, smell, and hear around you.
None of these things will “cure” a mental disorder. They are only tools to empower you to build a happier, more peaceful lifestyle. Once you become confident in yourself and know that you are doing things to keep you aligned with your goals both mentally and physically, you will not need to fight as much negativity. When good things are happening you cannot focus on the bad. When you are open to change and open to answers coming, and you have faith that things will fall into place, you can truly become the master of your own destiny. It takes dedication, consistency, and patience. One cannot expect a lifetime of negativity to be swept up and washed away in one motion, but you can switch the tracks at any time on your train through life. The power is within you.