If you worry excessively, it can seem like negative thoughts are running through your head on endless repeat…like a movie in your head. A movie you have carefully designed and produced. You may feel like you’re spiraling out of control, going crazy, or about to burn out under the weight of all this anxiety.
Come on, stop the chaos in your head. There are steps you can take right now to interrupt all those anxious thoughts and give yourself a time out from relentless worrying and beating yourself up.
Get up and get moving.
Get off your butt. Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment because it releases endorphins which relieve tension and stress, boost energy, and enhance your sense of well-being. Even more importantly, by really focusing on how your body feels as you move, you can interrupt the constant flow of worries running through your head. Pay attention to the sensation of your feet hitting the ground as you walk, run, or dance, for example, or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the sun or wind on your skin.
Take a yoga, tai chi or meditation class.
By focusing your mind on your movements and breathing, practicing yoga or tai chi keeps your attention on the present, helping to clear your mind and lead to a relaxed state. Be proactive and do something physical that affects your mind as well as your body.
Meditation works by switching your focus from worrying about the future or dwelling on the past to what’s happening right now. By being fully engaged in the present moment, you can interrupt the endless loop of negative thoughts and worries. You don’t need to sit cross-legged, light candles or incense, or chant. Simply find a quiet, comfortable place and choose one of the many free or inexpensive smartphone apps that can guide you through the meditation process. Use the resources at your fingertips.
Practice progressive muscle relaxation.
This can help you break the endless loop of worrying by focusing your mind on your body instead of your thoughts. You may think this is a weird technique, but it works. By alternately tensing and then releasing different muscle groups in your body, you release muscle tension in your body. And as your body relaxes, your mind will follow.
Try deep breathing.
Most of our parents tried to teach us this. You know, take a deep breath or count to 10. This is underutilized. When you worry, you become anxious and breathe faster, often leading to further anxiety. But by practicing deep breathing exercises, you can calm your mind and quiet negative thoughts.
Talk about your worries.
It may seem like a simplistic solution, but talking face to face with trusted friend or family member-someone who will listen to you without judging, criticizing, or continually being distracted-is one of the most effective ways to calm your nervous system and diffuse anxiety. Okay this is probably not the easiest person to find. This doesn’t mean to wear out your welcome or create a “Oh no, it’s her again” when the trusted friend sees it is you calling. Don’t specifically chose someone who you know will tell you want you want to hear. A little of this goes a long way. When your worries start spiraling, talking them over can make them seem far less threatening and many times you can gain another perspective, solution, or perceptive. Remember, chose the things really causing you worry and not always be the worrier.
Build a strong support system.
Human beings are social creatures. We’re not meant to live in isolation. But a strong support system doesn’t necessarily mean a vast network of friends. Don’t underestimate the benefit of a few people (or one) you can trust and count on to be there for you. Many times, a spouse, mom or dad are too close for comfort and a trusted friend can lend a sound ear and advice.
Know who to avoid when you’re feeling anxious.
Guess what? Worry, chaos, and feeling anxious can be addictive. Well, it can be your norm. Many times, this is a state you learned growing up. Mom as a chronic worrier. Dad stifled by mom’s worry. Fear setting in and being used as a barricade to growth. Chose your “go to” person wisely. Don’t allow them to help you jump over the cliff.
Find a therapist.
A therapist doesn’t have a vested interest in the outcome. A therapist isn’t approaching the issue as serving themselves and can teach you well deserved life skills.
If you are feeling stuck and need to talk, I would love to meet you! Email or call anytime to schedule a session. (817) 701-5438 | firstname.lastname@example.org
CRT, CCDC, CACC | Counselor & Life Coach
Empowering individuals, families and communities to grow and heal through advanced approaches in Creative Arts Therapy, setting the standard for treatment, practice and training within the field.