Many people are feeling anxious during these uncertain times. This past two years have been full of added stressors, with the pandemic, racial injustices, political tensions, financial hardships, and more. However, one important thing to recognize through all of this is that we’re not alone. So many people are feeling the same weight of additional stress and anxiety right now. We’re all living through this together and trying our best each day.
If you are feeling the impact of anxiety at the moment, here are some of our tips to help reduce anxious thoughts and feel more at ease in the present moment:
Acknowledge Your Anxiety
First, give yourself the time and space to recognize your anxious feelings. Instead of distracting ourselves or denying any uneasy emotions we’re having, we can bring them to the light and evaluate them for what they are. You might even try giving yourself a few minutes a day to write down your worries or source of your anxieties. Can you pinpoint exactly what your anxiety is telling you? Perhaps it’s a signal to slow down, to prioritize your physical health or try to reduce your stressors. Acknowledging our feelings will better allow us to understand them and work through them.
Question Your Anxious Thoughts
After recognizing our anxiety, we can then try challenge it. Try the THINK method to question your inner thoughts. Are your thoughts True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, or Kind? Often our anxiety tells us things that aren’t necessarily true and that arise out of fear. Questioning our anxious thoughts is a technique that many therapists employ, but you can also practice it on your own. The more we question the reality behind our anxiety, the more we may realize that things will be okay and that we can manage these feelings.
Practice Media Distancing
The 24/7 media cycle is overwhelmingly negative and can fuel our anxious thoughts about the uncertainty of the world right now. For your mental wellbeing, it is perfectly okay to take a break or even completely cut off your media consumption if it’s contributing to worsened anxiety. It’s alright to channel your energy elsewhere to prioritize your mental health.
Focus on What You Can Control
Use this time to channel your energy into something positive. We may not have control over what’s happening in the world right now, but we can control how we react and what we do with this time that we have. This could be the perfect time for us to try something new or something that we previously didn’t have time for. Learning a new hobby or skill, like cooking a new recipe, beginning a yoga practice or doing art, is a great way to focus on something positive for ourselves and reduce stress. Creating and accomplishing will put our attention towards things that are intrinsically satisfying.
Exercise Your Body and Relax Your Mind
Taking care of our physical health and mental health go hand in hand. Bring awareness to your body and what it may need by keeping an active body and mind. For your mind, you might try gratitude journaling or guided meditations to root yourself in the present. Or you can get active by practicing yoga, going on daily walks or starting a stretching routine. All of these activities are great ways to bring our minds peace and reduce anxiety.
Focus on Your Breath
Even focusing on simple breathing exercises can significantly help to ground us in the present. The 5-4-3-2-1 method is a popular grounding technique to lower our levels of anxiety. This exercise is designed to distract and calm a racing mind and body that has gone into fight-or-flight mode. It will also serve to connect you with your physical environment and the present moment.
Do One Thing Each Day That Brings You Joy
Call a friend or family member. Pick up a book you’ve been wanting to read. Watch your favorite show. Choose just one thing each day that you know will bring you joy. The comforting things that bring us the most happiness and fulfillment can also help to ease feelings of anxiety.
Seek Professional Help
If you are still struggling with your anxiety during this time, you might also consider seeking professional help. Eugene Therapy & Oregon Counseling has helped thousands of clients manage the impact of worry and anxiety. Our compassionate therapists want to help you manage your anxiety in a sustainable and meaningful way that works for you.
Above all, we must try our best to not be too hard on ourselves and to be kind to ourselves during this time. It’s okay to take on less and slow down. Prioritizing our mental health and wellbeing is the most important thing we can do for ourselves right now, however that may look for you.