I get attacks of anxiety quite regularly – about once every couple of days or so, I’ll get anxious to the point where it’s hard for me to focus on anything or muster the energy to physically do anything. All my self-doubt comes out and I start to spiral into a pit of despair where I can’t think of anything but how much of an idiot everyone thinks I am. Obviously these are thoughts that don’t serve me well at all, but I’ve developed a few strategies that I’ve found work for me to drag me out of that self-loathing mindset.
I hasten to add that I do not suffer badly from either acute or chronic anxiety. If you do, seeking help from a professional is probably the best idea – I have seen a counsellor on a few occasions and it’s made the world of a difference for me. These little practises are for the day-to-day struggles where you don’t feel great RIGHT NOW and just need a little push to get out of the rut and carry on with your day.
1. I write or draw myself a quick affirmative statement or drawing on a post-it note. I find that I don’t even have to see it, but taking time to do something for myself always makes me feel good, even if it’s just a minute. I think this helps to quickly break the train of negative thought, which can be all that’s needed to stop the flow completely. It also reminds me of who is, or at least should be, my biggest supporter and fan – me.
2. Write down your feelings. Once I’ve written something down, I find I don’t have it at the front of my mind anymore, maybe because I’ve tricked my mind into thinking that I don’t need to try to remember it, seeing as I’ve recorded it somewhere. I even find that going back and reading past entries is helpful sometimes – I can see all the things that have previously made me feel anxious and how insignificant they seem now.
3. Have a personal talisman. I have a crystal that I’ve chosen that’s meant to bring calm and strength to the holder. I don’t believe that crystals actually have any spiritual energy, but to me, the crystal is a representation of the calm and strength I have within me and it’s a reminder that I can be calm and strong whenever I want to. I also think performing a ritual of some kind in times of stress and anxiety can also give you a sense of calm – you can trick your mind into feeling more prepared for a situation, even if it doesn’t actually physically do anything.