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How to Start Your Week With a Little Less Anxiety

How many of you start your week off with a million thoughts racing through your mind? *raises hand*

The laundry list of things to get done, dreading that work meeting, feeling like you’re not doing enough, replaying last week’s embarrassing conversation in your mind, not knowing what to focus on or where to go from here …

Then comes the cascade of even more anxiety-provoking thoughts:

“Whoa, am I anxious? Wait … why am I so anxious all the time?”

And then, guess what? We feel more anxious about the fact that we’re feeling anxious. Great.

Hello vicious cycle of anxiety. It’s a cycle most of us are familiar with, and holy cow, is it relentless. I’d like to send you a message to help you start your week on a less anxious, more calm note:

Yes, you feel anxious. And yes — you’re going to be OK.

If your knee-jerk response was, “I am totally not OK!” — I get it. Anxiety is sneaky like that. The reason why the statement “You’re anxious, and you’re going to be OK” doesn’t make much sense for us is because anxiety tricks us into thinking we’re not OK. Our thoughts often trick us into thinking things aren’t going to be OK — and that that things will never be OK.

But anxiety is a liar (straight-up), and it’s really good at tricking us into thinking things that just simply aren’t true.

“You’re going to be OK.”

Does this mean everything in life is going to go your way? No. Does this mean nothing bad is ever going to happen again? Nope. Does this mean you’re not going to feel anxious this week? Sorry, no again.

In fact, things aren’t always going to go your way, bad things will happen from time to time and you will feel anxious at some points this week (even the Dalai Lama experiences anxiety — I think?). Just give yourself permission to feel anxious without being too hard on yourself. Remind yourself you’re going to be OK in spite of feeling anxious, and feel free to try out the calming exercises below to help bring yourself back into balance.

Here’s a quick 20-second exercise to help take things down a notch as you start out your week:

  1. Take a deep breath in.
  2. Hold.
  3. Deep breath out (slowly — as if you’re exhaling a long, deep sigh).
  4. Release your shoulders.
  5. Unclench your jaw.
  6. Close your eyes and just slowly breathe in and breathe out again.

Ah. Nice, right? The awesome thing is you can do this at any time and it only takes a few seconds.

And here’s a list of helpful self-reminders for the week:

  • “This is only temporary.”
  • “I am not my anxiety.”
  • “I’ve gotten through this before, and I will get through this again.”
  • “I’m exactly where I need to be right now.”

Feel free to choose one and have it be your mantra this week. You may even want to jot one down on a post-it note and stick it on your fridge, notebook, door, bathroom mirror, car dashboard — anywhere you can easily see it throughout the day.

Another idea is to look up the chosen quote in Google images and save it as your phone background, so you have a quick, feel-good reminder whenever you go on your phone this week.

Remember: you’ve got this! Yes, you’re anxious. And yes — you’re totally going to be OK.

If you’re struggling with anxiety and need some support, it’s OK to reach out for help. Talk to a trusted loved one, find a supportive community or do some research on mental health counselors who might be a good fit. You’re not alone and help is out there.

Unsplash image by Clarisse Meyer

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