Whether anxiety is something you struggle with on a daily basis, or if you suffer from it occasionally, it’s a feeling we can all relate to. Most of us are familiar with some of the traditional coping techniques but let’s take a look at some of the unexpected ways to manage anxiety.
But if anxiety is a constant in your life and you’ve tried everything you can think of, it can be worth trying out a few new things. Of course, determining the origin and cause of your anxiety is highly recommended as well.
Here are 5 unexpected ways to manage anxiety!
1. Be More Mindful
Mindfulness simply involves being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and environment on a moment-to-moment basis. While this may seem strange, if you focus on the here and now, what’s right in front of you, you will often find there is no anxiety or worry or stress. The easiest way to begin practicing mindfulness is by focusing on your breathing. Slowly and consciously become aware of your in breath and your out breath. Take note of the sensations within your body as you focus on your breathing. Sometimes counting as you breathe can help as well.
2. Schedule Your Worry
Treat your worrying like an appointment with the doctor – schedule it. If you know you’re going to worry about something anyway, try telling yourself that you’ll worry about it in the morning, or tonight after the kids go to bed. By scheduling 10-15 minutes specifically for worry and stress, and using that time to purge yourself of all of those anxieties, you can free up other time during the day to not think about it.
This is helpful for a couple of reasons. First, it allows you to be more present throughout the day when you find the anxiety creeping up. Second, often when we really focus on our worries, and really allow ourselves to sit with the discomfort, we realize it’s not so bad.
3. Revisit the Familiar
Sometimes we all feel the need to retreat to somewhere, or something, that makes us feel comfortable and relaxed. Reading a favorite book, poem, or passage can bring about a sense of calm and comfort. Getting lost in your favorite movie can pull you away from the irrational and negative thoughts churning in your mind. Take a drive or walk to a favorite hidden spot that always makes you feel comforted.
Art therapy comes in many forms, and coloring is often the simplest and easiest to do. Grab your kid’s crayons or markers and a coloring book and let yourself zone out. Don’t have kids? You can quickly print adult coloring pages online or purchase adult coloring books.
5. Lean Into Your Anxiety
This seems counterintuitive, but sometimes facing our fears head on can actually result in a lessening of them. Sometimes just sitting with the feeling and really focusing on it and allowing ourselves to feel it can lead to clarity and often results in passing. What’s more is the realization that it’s just a feeling and nothing more can set it. Remember, feelings in and of themselves are completely harmless and totally natural. It’s what we do as a result of the feeling that becomes problematic.
Life is short. Anxiety can be too. If you find that no matter what you seem to try, you can’t get your stress and anxiety under control, find an awesome therapist you like and trust to teach you how to manage your anxiety in a way that doesn’t interfere with your life.
James Killian, LPC is an anxiety therapist in Woodbridge, CT and the principal therapist and owner of Arcadian Counseling. Arcadian Counseling is located in the Amity area of Woodbridge on the border of New Haven. If you need help managing the stress in your life, are struggling with a life transition or career challenges, call today for a free consultation.