In the recent months, I’ve been really trying to be consciously aware of myself and my environment. Whether it’s watching my thoughts or watching other people’s words, I tap into how specific people and vibes affect my thoughts, beliefs and behaviors. I have cleaned up my environment and realized I am in control of what I watch, what I listen to, what I’m reading and who I’m around.
By nature, nurture or a little bit of both, I’m prone to anxiety, but I am 100 percent responsible for the content I feed my soul. In the past few months, I disconnected from the belief that anxiety is a huge part of me and I accepted it’s just something that happens to me sometimes. My relationship with anxiety is healthier now. I’m able to understand it, instead of blaming it. I accepted I am in control and I took responsibility for what once were my excuses.
It hasn’t all been easy. The negative thoughts, the insecurities, the heart palpitations are all slowly creeping in. Some days are better, some are worse, but I’m smiling through the pain. These are the moments of truth. All the coping skills I have learned and implemented are now being put to the test.
So what do I do to stay on point? Some of these things may seem like a long shot and I get it. I used to think these things wouldn’t help until I actually did the work to see for myself.
1. I show gratitude.
First thing in the morning, as soon as I open my eyes, as soon as the negative habitual thoughts start making their way into my conscious mind, I grab my journal and get to writing. What am I grateful for? The birds singing outside the window, hugs, freedom, opportunities, warm blankets, my family. I can keep going forever. But it wasn’t always so.
When I first started writing down what I am grateful for, I could barely think of one thing. So if you find this to be impossible, don’t give up, the benefits are there. Not only do I show gratitude first thing in the morning, but I make sure I interrupt negative thoughts with showing gratitude. As soon as an intrusive thought makes it’s way in, I start listing all the wonderful things and people I have around me. Then I can watch my negative thoughts begin to deteriorate.
2. I filter my content.
I stopped watching TV. That meant no more “Jane the Virgin.” What we watch on TV filters into our subconscious mind and gets stuck. Turn off the shows that give you negative feelings, they are causing more damage than you think. No wonder my anxiety was at its highest during my obsession with shows about serial killers.
3. I control my interactions.
Stop hanging out with anyone who gives you negative emotions. Whether it’s a Facebook friend or someone you go out to dinner with, if they’re giving you bad vibes, disconnect. At least for now. Do you and say no if you need to!
4. I meditate daily.
Stop what you’re doing and download the Headspace app on your phone immediately! Every morning right before leaving the house, I sit and meditate for 10 minutes. Some mornings it really sucks and I can’t wait for the 10 minutes to be up so I can finally leave the house, but sometimes it’s nice to catch your thoughts.
5. I read books.
Before bed, I try to read as much as I can. Honestly, I should be reading more than I do but I am on my way to developing this healthy habit!
6. I listen to podcasts.
I like to listen to podcasts, especially when I’m driving. I noticed listening to podcasts lifts my mood and empowers me. If you try this, I believe you will feel much more empowered and less anxious!
7. I’m learning to forgive others.
Be like the flower that gives its fragrance to even the hand that crushes it. I make it a priority to send love and positivity to anyone who has ever hurt me. I don’t hold grudges and I understand if someone has hurt me, they are just seeing me as a reflection of themselves.
8. I move.
Like Tony Robbins says, “emotions are created by motions.” I’ve committed to going to the gym every week, not for a summer body, but for a healthier mental state. If the gym isn’t your thing, find what is and get to moving!
9. I cry.
I love to cry. Crying is my outlet when I’m overwhelmed with emotions. I hop into the shower and allow myself to feel and give attention to the things I’ve been holding inside.
10. I talk it out.
Talk out your feelings with a friend, a therapist or me! We care more than you think!
11. I try to be vulnerable.
I will forever share my experiences with anxiety publicly because vulnerability is my greatest strength. Thank you for reading and allowing me to be vulnerable with you.
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Thinkstock photo via Nathings.