10 Tips for Dealing with Anxiety
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As you all know I’ve had a life-long struggle with anxiety. I mean for as long as I can remember. Growing up I remember thinking that I had to be the only one in the world who was feeling the way I was feeling. I felt like my world had the potential to come crashing down at any minute and it was scary. I didn’t understand it. And I wanted so badly to get away from it. As I grew and matured I began to learn so much about the world of anxiety; I learned that I was most definitely not the only one in the world feeling what I was feeling, and I decided to learn how to conquer it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still deal with it on a regular basis. But, panic attacks and days that were totally destroyed by fear have become a rarity rather than my normal. And I thought I would share the things that have brought me healing in that area.
So, here are 10 things that have helped me fight and find freedom from crippling anxiety.
My faith in Jesus Christ. I know, this is the obvious one. I just had to say it first because without this one I have no anxiety answers for anybody. He is the number 1 answer. There is no cure for fear or anxiety without Him. I do believe He has given us all sorts of tools to help us in the process and those are what I’m going to address next. But the thing is, that none of my other tips will mean anything without Him. He is the ultimate love and the one thing that can truly bring lasting and perfect peace to our hearts. We have to seek Him first above all else. That being said, we’ll jump into the next 9 things.
Talk about it. Not with everybody. But with the people you are closest with and trust the most. Keeping it inside will only make it bubble up and boil over sending us into total panic mode. It helps so much to say the things out loud. Things seem so much bigger when they are stuck inside our heads. And often the people we love are able to bring perspective and help keep us grounded. We have to be careful with this though. Sometimes we have a tendency to put all of our hope and trust into the people around us, and we rely on them to bring us peace and help us feel better. But they just can’t do that. People are just people and if we don’t bring our fears and anxieties to God first we won’t have the tools we need to fight it for good.
Be specific in your prayers. Sometimes when we’re praying about the things we’re anxious about, it just becomes a time when we get in our heads and start thinking more about the thing we are anxious about driving us to deeper anxiety. That isn’t God’s lack of hearing but rather our lack of handing it over to Him. Prayer can’t be a time for us to mull over our fears, it has to be a very intentional time where we pray about the thing that is causing chaos in our hearts, and then make a conscious choice to hand our fears over to God and let go of them. We have to continually remind ourselves that He is in control. And we have to purposefully ask for His peace over our hearts. When we give Him all of our attention and truly focus our hearts on Him and ask for peace, He never fails to give it.
Get enough sleep. It’s so simple. But our bodies are so much more capable of dealing with stress and anxiety when they are well rested. The less sleep we get, the less we are able to process our emotions and the more likely we are to feel overwhelmed and like our situations have taken over. Sleep and rest are soooo important.
Give yourself a little routine. But also don’t get super attached to it or you’ll be miserable when you don’t have it. But, give yourself a nighttime routine. It helps so much to come back to something familiar every night.
Turn your phone off. Like very often. An hour before you go to sleep, in the morning when you wake up and your first instinct is to grab it. Anytime you are beginning to feel anxious. Often we use our phones as a distraction from anxiety, but our phones hold the chaos of social media, the pressure of work, school, and social responsibilities, and the likelihood that they will add to our anxiety is so high! So it’s so important to put it down and walk away.
Exercise is so important. My anxiety levels dropped so much when I started working out. Getting your heart rate up and sweating gives a huge sense of accomplishment, allows me to feel strong and capable, and releases soooo many endorphins. It’s a huge help with reducing cortisol (the stress hormone) and it also just allows you to focus your mind on something other than your anxiety.
Check your nutrition and water intake. If you aren’t giving your body the nutrients it needs your hormones will be all off and as a result anxiety will be higher. Taking care of yourself in all the ways will help reduce your anxiety.
Lavender essential oils. Kind of a random one, I know. But sometimes if you’re having a really anxiety filled day, a little lavender essential oil can go a long way. They make pillow sprays, I usually defuse it in my room, or you can even put a little behind your ears. So calming and so helpful!! Also, if you take an epsom salt bath you can throw some lavender in there too and it makes a world of difference.
Change your environment, breathe deep, and write it down. I think I talked about this one in an Instagram post. But if you are stuck feeling super anxious, get up and change your environment. Often changing your environment helps so much to change your mindset and pull you right out of a panic attack. I tend to freeze when I get super anxious, I just stop what I’m doing because it feels so intense. But it makes a world of difference to do something. And breathe deep. Nothing makes anxiety worse than hyperventilating and it’s such a simple thing you can do to make a huge difference. And for me, writing it down is a really helpful tool when I am trying to let things go, it doesn’t work for everybody, but if you are a verbal processor like I am it will really make a difference!
Well, these are my little tips to relieving anxiety and bringing a ton more peace into life. You should never ever feel alone in your anxiety. And we (myself included) have to constantly remind ourselves who is in charge and who we are loved by. God has promised that His plans for us are good and it is our job to place our anxiety in His hands and trust in His goodness. There really is no answer outside of Him. No lasting peace. And no way to escape fear or anxiety. Jesus. First. Always.
Love, love, love you all!
1 Corinthians 16:13