On a recent interview with Cure Joy, I was asked to elaborate on certain changes one can make to their lifestyle (as preventive measures) to help curve anxiety
By creating a different environment for yourself, one with positive and mindful choices on everything from your activity level to your social life can assure ways to help you diminish potential risks to higher levels of anxiety and stress!
Set the stage for success by making conscious decisions to promote relaxation, vitality, and a positive mental outlook in your everyday life.
I had provided some suggestions that included:
- Learning about anxiety.
- Cultivating your connections with other people.
- Adopting healthy lifestyle habits.
- Reducing stress in your life
In this article I will elaborate on the first point: “Learning about Anxiety”
In order to better manage anxiety, it’s important to understand anxiety. Anxiety is a feeling of fear, unease, and worry. Every human being on this planet faces different levels of anxiety at different points of the day and at higher levels in midst of a drastic life event.
As you educate yourself on anxiety, signs and ways to cope; it is also important to find out what may be at the root of your own anxiety.
Everyone copes with life situations and events differently and the ways we react to them physiologically and emotionally can differ as well, depending on our personal history, cultural, societal influences and genetic makeup. There are similarities of course in how our bodies respond to outside stressors but more than anything one of the best things you can do for yourself is to dive in and start some research on yourself. Promote for yourself a deeper level of understanding in the way you react to the outside world and the way your mind relates to it.
One of the things I often tell my clients to do is to:
Start a journal! … This could be any type of journal you decide. It could incorporate visuals, such as drawing, or cutting and pasting stock images; it could be a journal in which you write, either your own thoughts and feelings or songs or poetry that reminds you of how you are feeling at any given time. Make it your own!
Decorate the cover, have it by your bed or at work, or have it travel with you everywhere you go.
Everything worthwhile takes a bit of effort on our part, so make sure you are proactive about it and buy or make one that speaks to only you.
Make it a point to enter something in it each day, once when you wake up or once when before you go to bed; as you get more comfortable in doing this you can add more entries throughout the day. Always write down the date and time of the day! This is a journal for your own research of you; as you start to feel the anxiety, check yourself as to where in the body it is you feel the anxiety the most. It may be a pain in your head or an upset stomach, or maybe you feel dizzy. Pinpoint it first, then take a couple of deep breaths and ask yourself what you are feeling (anxiety, fear, anger, worry, etc.), say it in your mind or out loud and grade it 1 to 10, 10 being the most anxious you’ve ever been in your life.
Once you have the feeling, where it is placed in your body and the level of the feeling, find out what thoughts may be going through your mind as you are experiencing this. Once you have connected all of these pieces… Write a short paragraph connecting them. Other thoughts may start popping up at that point, a message you received once from a friend or a parent or a coworker or your boss. Maybe it is something you have not thought about in years and thought you had moved pass. All of these different experiences are valid, they are yours.
By doing this: You are recording YOUR experience, it will not only help you day to day by becoming aware (this in itself diminishes anxiety) but in case that you do need to consult a doctor you have a record at your disposal that can help you talk about it more clearly. As you speak to a mental health provider or a private practitioner, remember that when these professionals first meet with you they will tend to ask you questions like, when did you first start to observe such-and-such symptoms? And when do they mostly occur? How severe? Etc.
You will have an upper hand therefore more control over your own anxiety.