Anxiety plagues so many of us, especially moms. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health illnesses in the US. Women in particular are twice as likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Feeling of anxiety can come over us quickly, and handling it healthily and quickly is exactly what many of us need. Here’s 7 tried and true methods for conquering anxiety quickly.
1- Name it and validate it
The quickest way to make your anxiety WORSE is to let yourself feel like garbage about it!
Anxiety is something everyone at some point in their life is going to experience. You’re not a bad person or a failure for having this anxious moment. When you name how you’re feeling, you’re reminding yourself that how you feel is part of the human experience, and it’s ok to feel like this.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say you’re worried about an upcoming doctors appointment because you’ve had some unpleasant experiences at the doctor in the past. Your “name it, validate it” approach may sound like:
“Going to the doctor is making me feel anxious and nervous. I’m worried about having a bad experience again. It’s ok that I don’t enjoy the doctor. It’s ok that doctors offices aren’t a pleasant experience for me. I’m allowed to feel this way.”
Sometimes simply giving ourselves permission to feel will calm us. If anything, naming and validating can make us feel more open and ready for other coping strategies we may use to help with anxiety as well.
As someone whose been a panic attack sufferer for a while, hearing someone yell “BREATHE” at me is FAR from helpful! Some people with anxiety may have at one point or another experienced worse anxiety when asked to take big breaths. That’s because the way some people tell you to breathe during anxiety attacks is wrong!
It’s not about how deep your breath is, it’s about the rhythm of the breath. Breathing should be slow, timed, and in connection to your body. This is why I LOVE using deep breathing apps! They utilize visual cues as well as voice overs and sometimes phone vibrations to help you achieve a good breathing rhythm. Here’s some of my favorites:
3- write it down
Journaling has been long regarded as an effective method for curbing anxiety. How you write it down is pretty unique to you and what feels right for you.
Most of time I just do a “stream of consiousness” type of writing. Basically, I just word vomit on paper. Some people will write down what exactly is making them anxious, then throw it away as a symbol of letting it go. Others go through specific journaling prompts. Ultimately, beauty of journaling is that it is personal.
4- try the “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” method
The “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” method is a well known anxiety calming method. It’s more involved than simply counting backwards from five. Here’s how it goes:
- Name 5 things you can see
- Name 4 thing you can touch
- Name 3 things you can hear
- Name 2 things you can smell
- Name 1 thing you can taste
This is something you can combine with a breathing technique, or have a friend or loved one lead you through it. The “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” method basically grounds you and helps bring your anxious mind back to reality. This is one of my personal favorites, and one I’ve used during many a panic attack.
5- Move your body
Moving your body can be a major benefit for anxiety treatment. Not only is going on a walk or exercising a good distraction, it produces dopamine in your body, which is what your body needs to fight anxiety.
Going for a walk around the neighborhood when your anxious can help get your mind off what is bothering you. If getting out of the house isn’t an option, then turn on a quick Youtube exercise/calisthenics video, or even a good song and dance it out! Whatever gets your body moving!
6- give it over in prayer/meditation
As a Christian, I find prayer to be hands down my most effective tool for handling anxiety. Talking over my issues with the Lord is exactly what my heart needs in the heat of any moment. I find even just a couple minutes in prayer can change my outlook quickly.
Some people may struggle with how to pray when they’re anxious though. I recently discovered the Abide app, which is a prayer and meditation app specifically for anxiety. I have been hooked! It truly helps guide you in prayer when you’re struggling to find what to say.
7- Speak the truth over yourself
Anxiety can cause us to exaggerate our fears and our overwhelm to a point where it cripples us. We can find ourselves quoting our anxieties to ourselves so much that we at some point take them as truth. Reframing those thoughts and speaking the truth over ourselves can put our anxieties back into reality.
Speaking the truth may look like a few different things to you, depending on what’s making you anxious. Here’s some examples of ways you can speak the truth over yourself:
- Find a matra or a Bible verse to speak over yourself
- Remind yourself that you are safe
- Remind yourself that just because it happened one, doesn’t mean it’ll happen again
- Allow yourself to remember that the situation may be out of your control, and that’s ok
You can calm anxiety!
I can safely admit that calming anxiety is something I’m still learning how to do. I’ve struggled with it chronically for close to my whole life. I can safely say that I am better at handling it now than I was. It’s ok if these strategies don’t seem effective immediately, because many of them take practice. Handling anxiety in a healthy way is kind of like training for a sport, you need to practice it in order for it to be effective.
I have so many more strategies for calming anxiety, as well as any other overwhelming feelings, in my “Calm Down Checklist For The Overwhelmed Mom.” It’s totally free, just sign up below!