3 Things You Can Do to Reduce Worry and Anxiety Fast
Updated: Jan 23, 2020
As there has been a lot of change in leaving one practice and starting another it’s made me think about how to deal with change and the emotions that come with it. There are a lot of emotions that fluctuate day to day and even hour to hour: excitement, anxiety, frustration, happiness, uncertainty. What do you do with that emotional energy?
Usually my go-to response is to worry and feel anxious. If you are a worrier like me it can be hard to deal with uncertainty and change. I try to take action, be productive and make things go the way I want them to, but in the end some things aren’t up to me. That’s when you have to let go.
I found this quote the other day and it struck me how simple and true it is.
“Regret doesn’t change the past and worrying doesn’t change the future.”
Worrying is a waste of time. It doesn’t make you feel better, in fact, it makes you feel worse and ruins your day. That can be easier said than done so when I’m feeling worried or anxious there are a few things that I like to do.
5 Second Rule
This trick is one I learned from Mel Robbins who is a motivational speaker that I found online. She has a trick that she calls the 5 second rule that I use to refocus my mind when I notice I’m distracted by worry. It’s as simple as counting down “5-4-3-2-1” and then redirecting your thoughts or actions. The counting down gets your brain’s “attention” that it’s time to do something else other than worry and then you give your mind something new to think about or some action to do. Today I used it to get to writing this post when I didn’t feel like it. I counted down, got off the couch and sat down at my computer. If I notice my mind is busy worrying and I’m distracted by it, I use it to bring myself to the present and interrupt the cycle of worry. If you haven’t listened to Mel speak I’d highly encourage you to check her out online or on YouTube.
I’ve noticed that worry and anxiety tend to bring out negative thinking. I come to expect that only bad things will happen. I forget that good things can happen too. Visualization helps to stop that and bring about positive thinking. I do this in the morning if there is something I’m anxious about for that day. All you have to do is sit down in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted, close your eyes and imagine things going the way you want them to. Get really detailed about the picture in your mind. Where are you? Who are you with? What is being said? How do you feel when things go the way you want them to? Really feel what that would feel like. Really see it in your mind. Replay this imagery in your mind throughout the day and see if it comes true.
I like to journal everyday or whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed. As an introvert, getting my thoughts on paper helps me process them and form a plan for what to do or how to handle a situation. Gratitude journaling can also be part of this and is something I’ve been doing for months. You’d be surprised how much of an impact being thankful can have on your outlook. All you need is a piece of paper and a pen or your phone. Everyday take a moment to write down 3 things you’re grateful for. I like to do this at the end of the day. I have a reminder set on my phone that notifies me in the evening. I type in a few things that I’m grateful for that day. It can be anything from someone bought me a cup of coffee to I caught up with an old friend. It doesn’t matter how big or small it seems. If it brought joy into your day write it down. It’s fun to look back on past weeks and see all the good things that have come my way. After a while you’ll see how much you have and how good you feel when you focus on the positive. It can put things into perspective.
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