As we all brace for what is being called the “worst week yet” with regards to the coronavirus pandemic, dealing with anxious thoughts is something many of us will face. Taking care of our mental health, especially in times like these, is so important. If you find yourself feeling like you’ve reached a breaking point, try the tips below to ease yourself out of the mental state and into a safer headspace.
Tips for Dealing with Anxious Thoughts
Ask yourself, “How would I be feeling if I weren’t stressed about [fill in the blank] right now?”
This tip is one that I learned from Gretchen Rubin’s “Happier” podcast that has really helped me over the years. It’s ultimately an exercise in visualization, and it’s been a very helpful technique that I can use at any time. For example, let’s say you’re running late to work and you’re worried you’ll be late for a meeting. At that point, there’s nothing you can do to change the situation, so the act of asking yourself how you would feel if you weren’t worried about being late forces you to imagine yourself being calm. I’ve been amazed at how often I’ve been able to use this simple technique and feel calmer almost immediately.
2. Do something just for you.
For many of us who are introverted, having a period with a lot events (like, say, the holidays) can be exhausting and bring on its own kind of anxiety. I’ve found it helpful to schedule some time to decompress on my own: getting a manicure or pedicure, reading a book, or listening to a podcast are all ways that I’m able to prioritize some “me” time to calm my mind and slow my thoughts.
3. Practice mediation
As I’ve been told many times, meditation truly is a practice. It takes time to master, and that is okay. Give yourself grace. Don’t worry too much on how to do it, just start. You don’t have to sit a certain way, you don’t have to close your eyes. You can practice in any way that makes you feel comfortable. Simply put your mind in a state of gratitude. Take a moment, breathe, take note of how it feels to be alive. Find gratitude in where you are and how far you’ve come in this moment right now. (Tip: If you’re not sure where to start, consider using a guiding app, like Headspace, to get you started.)
4. Embrace physical activity
Finding time to fit a workout in can feel like just one more thing when you’re already feeling overwhelmed, but it really does help to clear the mind. If you feel like you just can’t commit, start small. Really small. Go for a 10-minute walk during your lunch break; it gets you moving and fresh air to boot. Bite it off in small pieces that are easy to accomplish and increase from there.
5. Get it out.
There are times when your mind just won’t quit. In those cases, I’ve found that the best thing I can do it get those worries out. Whether that means writing them in a journal, talking with a friend, or setting up an appointment with a therapist, do what will help you to release those thoughts.
My hope is that these 5 tips for dealing with anxious thoughts may help some of you out there; each of these methods has gotten me through different periods of life. If you have others, please share them in the comments below!
Times right now are crazy, but it will pass. Take solace in knowing that this, like most things, is temporary and that we will all get through it together. Take care of yourselves, my friends, and take care of each other. If you do those things, we will be stronger on the other side.
Looking for more ways to practice self-care while at home? Try these posts: