The holidays can intensify feelings of anxiety and depression. If you're more than 'stressed out' this will help you take better care of your well-being. Stay in the conversation, don't isolate. You're not alone. Mental Health matters all year - for more tips on this please follow and share!
Today, I'm sharing tips to help you separate from anxiety and anxious thoughts and move closer to who you really are.
If you take a moment to try these steps, you'll create a better paradigm in these moments and hopefully overall.
Awareness that the anxiety is something that's happening - it's not who you are, you're an observer to it should help you start stepping towards more freedom.
Maybe it will lead to the worst feeling, a panic attack. But if there are some moments on the front-end where you can remember to take a breath and TRY one or all of these simple steps, you'll start to feel more control in these situations.
The first step is to notice when you're feeling triggered. Make a note when these moments occur.
Sometimes we think it's enough to go through it in our head - that's okayyy.
After you've done enough of "the work" (which is the writing), you may be able to get good results running through it mentally.
Believe me, I get it... Sometimes writing is easy, but sometimes it's the hardest thing in the world!
Start by recording the date and the time. Notice how frequently these episodes are happening.
Sometimes we think it's “all the time” but when we look at it, you see that there are times that it's not happening.
As the observer, you get clarity.
Vagueness adds to the problem because it leads to a feeling of overwhelm.
Rather than contribute to the problem by being vague, when you start to record the date and time, that will help you to see it realistically.
You're most likely not in a full anxious state 100% of the time.
If you actually are, this will help to segment it and create some space.
The second thing to record is the situation, exactly what happened? Try to describe any details about it.
And then, how severe was the anxiety on a scale of one to five?
A lot of times, again, we think it happens "all the time" and it's "forever" and it's "all or nothing"...
Mental health has episodes.
Your job as your best caretaker is to become aware in a way that only you can.
How long did the episode last?
It could have started at 10:00 AM and you were at a 5 for 20 minutes. Then you went down to a 4, and the rest of the day you were at a 3 until bedtime. Maybe your thoughts started racing when you laid down and you went right back up to a 5.
That's great information for you. You can start to see the pattern.
Next, record the the precise thoughts that went through your mind when you started getting anxious. (That deserves its own book!)
Get specific about your thoughts.
A life of problems can feel like a 'generalized' condition.
Let's say you're not good with money. That could be true to you because that's your opinion.
There are lots of opinions that could be applied to the same facts.
Break it down and get a lot more specific, more detailed. It's not "I have a money problem" or "I'm not good with money".
It gets more granular the closer you look at it. For example...
I overspend when I get triggered with anxiety.
When my mother calls, I feel this way and it triggers me to feel this way. I want to solve that discomfort so I go online and purchase something, or I grab my purse and go to Target, or whatever it is.
And you can go deeper than that. Just start breaking it down deeper and deeper, more detailed.
Again, it's not your whole life, it's a situation.
It's a pattern, yes, but it's one situation you could look at and think about what happened, exactly.
Go a little deeper.
Get a little bit more detailed.
What were you thinking?
What are your detailed thoughts?
What is the voice recorder that plays in your head when this situation happens?
What is it saying exactly?
When I work with my clients, a lot of times in one-on-one sessions, especially my 12 week program, we start to see patterns and then they start to realize, "Oh, it's not what I thought it was!"
It's actually this one specific thought.
This trigger happens and I think THIS. Of course, that thought is going to make anyone feel a certain way and have negative behaviors.
There's a cycle to it for all of us.
Your job is to break it down and get specific so that you have some separation from the problem.
You become the observer and then you're not so thrown around by the wind of emotions and triggers.
The last column would be what did you do?
Meaning, you felt the anxiety... this is what you did.
Did you do things that were aligned with your values?
Maybe it's actually something that feels right to you. Probably not though, you're in survival mode, you're trying to cope.
It's all very helpful information for you to track. It will begin to take you from "having anxiety" or being ONE with anxiety, to finally feeling some relief.
It's not going to take it away altogether but you'll develop a greater sense of control. It can be a life saver.
I hope this all really helps. I know around the holidays we have so many more triggers. It could be affecting you all year but I feel that it's intensified when we see this delusional world where everybody should be happy.
Everything's bright and colorful and cheerful and you should be a certain way - that makes anxiety and depression and mental health issues more apparent.
If you have mental health issues that you're able to work through on a daily basis (if you had the right tools), then be sure to follow me.
I share tips a lot about mental health because it really matters.
There is so much more that we can do and the conversation needs to continue at all times of the year - you need to hear a lot of different people talking about it. To me, that's the solution.
Hopefully, you don't need any of these tips today, but when you do, bookmark this page. Come back and do your writing. Take it one situation at a time, one step at a time. You got this.