In trying times, our toolbox of emotional coping mechanisms may be taxed and exhausted.
The old, tried-and-true resources, tips, and tricks that helped us once may not be “heavy-duty” enough anymore.
If this is the case for you, if the cumulative impact of COVID, racial murders, and the failure of national leadership are taking a toll on your mental health and well-being, today’s post is meant to add a few more tools to your toolbox.
Explore these, try them on, see what feels helpful, take what works and leave the rest.
And please, in the comments of today’s post, let us know your favorite anxiety-relieving tools so that our community of readers can benefit from your insights.
1. The Headspace app. A wonderful collection of guided meditations and visualizations for calming the nervous system.
2. EFT tapping for anxiety-relief. Emotional freedom technique (EFT) is an alternative treatment for physical pain and emotional distress. It’s also referred to as tapping or psychological acupressure.
4. Compassion can help dissolve anxiety so try to bring compassion and kindness to all parts of you, even the parts of you that “make mistakes,” that you “don’t like” and that cause you anxiety.
5. Consider reading “Ease Your Anxiety” by Dr. Joan Rosenberg.
6. Have a conversation with this anxious part of you: What does your anxiety fear might happen if the anxiety goes away? What might happen if you start to be less anxious? This dialogue with yourself might reveal a younger memory or an early fear or a younger part of you that has something to say about your anxiety. If this happens, ask your younger self: How old is this part? Talk to this younger part kindly. Remind this younger part of you of all the ways you have grown over the years, acknowledge that while the anxiety served you very well back then, you have more skills and tools now. See what – if anything – this does to ease your anxiety.
7. Ask yourself: Is there a reward in being anxious? How do I benefit from being this anxious?
8. Listen to the ‘Feeling Good’ podcast by Dr. David Burns. He has a very straightforward approach to anxiety and anxiety relief.
9. Instead of automatically assuming that your anxiety is a “problem,” it can be useful to explore how the anxiety might be a “solution” for a problem. When you view it in this way, what thoughts and insights emerge for you?
10. Listen to these wonderful Guided Meditations To Deal With Anxiety & Panic by Belleruth Knaperstack, LCSW
11. Give yourself dedicated “worry time.” For a short, dedicated amount of time (5, 10, 15 minutes), make a list of worries that need to be solved. Set aside a certain amount of time each day to ‘worry.’ When it’s your worry time, actually use that time allotted to do so—using your problem-solving skills to tackle the easier worries first and then building up to the big stuff.
12. Build and shift your relationship with your anxiety. When you get to know this part of you more and more versus pushing it away, it may feel less intense and less overwhelming. Don’t resist it, turn towards it, and get to know your anxiety better.
13. Examine the root of what is causing your anxiety. For example, is it caused by a fear of developing a terminal illness, is it caused by past trauma, or is it caused by the fear of others’ judgment? If you need support exploring the root cause of your anxiety, work with a therapist.
14. Consider: What focus – if any – has there been in your life on pleasure, play, rest, and feeling good in your body? If you’ve been starving for these things, give them to yourself and see what, if anything, this does to shift your anxiety.
15. Use the script, “I am feeling (insert emotion), and that’s okay, and I am (insert positive and self-compassionate characteristic).” For example, “I’m feeling a bit worried, and that’s okay, but I am capable, resilient, and brave.” Doing this can help you notice the emotion, allow it without resistance, and also develop a more positive view of your emotions.
And if you find yourself struggling and needing extra support with your anxiety, please reach out and let us know. We’d be honored to be of support to you.