Hearing a lot of people saying they are fed up with the way anxiety is taking over their lives. Well, now is the time to change your life, rid yourself of anxiety and make the changes you want in your life.
It will not happen over night but with perseverance and a positive mind you can change your life around. Day by day and step by step is the way to do it. Do not put up with the things you don’t like in your life. Make the decision right now to start afresh.
So how do you do it? I hear you all asking.
Here is a list of things that you should integrate into your everyday life. You need to make the decision that today is the start of the rest of your life and don’t just try one or two of the following for a day or two. They are all very important and are things you need to do to change your life for the better:
- Talking is very important, whether it be with friends and family, therapists and doctors or with charities like No Panic. Keeping things bottled up always makes them worse, so get your worries/thoughts of your chest.
- Learn what anxiety is. Knowledge is power, so understanding why you feel and react the way you do is essential.
- Breath and Relax. Everyone tends to think that breathing comes naturally and that there can’t be a wrong way of doing it. Unfortunately that’s not true. There is a right way and a wrong way and it is essential that correct breathing is learned, understood and established. An anxious body is not a relaxed body, which is why learning to how to relax your body in any situation is a must. (No Panic teach how to correct your breathing and relax your body, you can also listen to our crisis message to learn how to do this daily).
- Exercise releases endorphins which are hormones that makes us naturally feel good. Exercise also increases our body temperature which can have a calming effect as well as burning off excess energy that can lead to anxiety. You are not expected to do a marathon or a gym class five times a week but a little something EVERY day.
- Diet is very important. It is very easy to eat too little or too much. Food is energy, therefore important in the upkeep of our body and the way it functions. You wouldn’t expect your car to run properly without it having the proper fuel, it is the same for your body. There are no banned foods, just moderation. For example: Not too much caffeine but there is no need to cut out your beloved cup of tea or coffee entirely. A good balanced diet is all that is necessary. Carbohydrates are the perfect food to give staying power. Little and often is also a good tip, this keeps our sugar levels balanced. Keeping yourself hydrated is another must, sip water throughout the day, ideally a litre and a half in every 24 hours.
One very essential thing is the importance of breakfast. After a night’s sleep, our body needs re-fuelling. So however hard it may be for some people, please eat something after getting up, a slice of toast and porridge of even a banana.
- Positive thinking takes practice but changes everything. When you wake up in the morning, instead of looking out the window and saying, “What a grey day” Say “Great it isn’t raining today”. Instead of thinking “I really don’t want to go to work today” think “I’m lucky I have a job with so many unemployed”. If there are things you don’t like in life, change them. If you can’t change them, change the way you think about them. Smile whenever you can, even when you are on your own. It sounds silly I know but give it a go, just by putting a smile on your face can change the way you feel.
- Thought control has an extremely strong influence on our lives. Letting your mind run away with itself is not good for anxiety. Look at the facts; Are your worries really a threat? Are you in any real danger? If your thoughts are causing you to be anxious they are unbalanced and need to be put in to context. Each time you feel negative thoughts creeping in, take control and replace them with positive ones. This can take time to achieve, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
- Write in a diary. Keep notes of your thoughts and feelings. Also add anything that you did to overcome the challenging times. Jot down anything positive that you can think of; Phone calls/visits from family or friends, sunny days, TV programs/films that lifted your spirits etc.
- Help others to help yourself. It has been proven that making others feel good has a boomerang effect. Is there anything you can do to be a service to others? For example offer a service to someone, maybe a lift to the shops, a bit of babysitting etc. Maybe you could visit a lonely neighbour? Volunteering for a charity is also a great idea. Another thing to try is, complimenting people. Whoever you may meet in the day, say something nice, try it because it really does work.
- Pause to appreciate all you have. Make a list of things that are good in your life. Oprah Winfrey once, very wisely quoted; “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
- Cease fighting the anxiety. When our bodies slip into fear mode, the automatic response is fight. This can lead to a vicious circle of the more we fight, the more we fear. And at times, this can even lead to avoidance. Try not fighting or running from the things that are making you anxious, instead accept what you are experiencing is a bunch of symptoms that cannot actually harm you. Calm your body and mind and flow through these feelings.
- Rest when you need it. Anxiety can be exhausting and it is common knowledge that our bodies and minds do not function as well when we are tired. A regular bedtime routine is always recommended. If you tend to have a brain that goes into overdrive just as you are tucking down, write down on paper any worries or fears and promise yourself you will take care of them the following day.
I would recommend anyone to write these 12 steps down on a card that you can carry with you at all times. I don’t just mean once evey couple of weeks, I mean several times a day. Like anything, the more you practice, the easier it gets. Anxiety is a habit, habits can be broken and by doing these things regularly they will become habits too and they really will change your life.
- Breath & Relax
- Positive thinking
- Thought control