It’s easy to think that there are all these things you should be doing to stop feeling anxious and start feeling happier but the truth is, doing fewer things is what helps to reduce anxiety.
As a person who finds it hard to stop and just be, I found some of these things hard in the beginning, but when my anxiety kept coming back worse than before, I realised that it was imperative that I stopped with bad habits.
Stop doing these things to help your anxiety
Stop trying to do it all yourself
Seriously, none of us are super mums and I really dislike the term. A supermum insinuates that this woman does everything herself when this is something we should avoid for our mental health’s sake. Stop trying to do it all yourself and just do what you can. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t get all of it done because you’re NOT superwoman. Set priorities and focus on those things first.
Stop being so serious
Anxiety is bloody draining; it can quite easily zap all the energy you have for the day. Remember to have fun, to laugh, watch a funny movie, listen to a funny podcast or go out with your girlfriends. While you’re focusing on funny and positive stuff, you’re focusing less on the negative stuff you cannot control.
Stop surrounding yourself with negative people
This one is a biggy. Unfortunately, some people’s personalities just do not help those with anxiety. There are also those people who don’t understand mental illness and say the wrong thing – a big trigger. They can introduce anxiety or make it worse. Whether it’s that you don’t take a phone call from this person or you distance yourself from them altogether, it can be a good thing. Surround yourself with people who radiate positive energy.
Stop saying yes
If you say yes to absolutely everything because you feel guilty about saying know, you’ll likely find yourself drowning and suffering from panic attacks because you don’t know how you’re going to cope. Read this post on how to say no and give yourself some breathing space.
I know that it’s my bodies instinct to worry, it’s just how my brain is wired. But, I have slowly learned how to recognise this feeling of worry and then remind myself that if it’s something I can’t control, that I need to let it go. Once you can accept that there’s nothing you can do about the future, it gets easier.
I’m guilty of comparing, we all do it. Take school drop off as an example. You always see a mum who looks beautifully dressed, but you’re in your sloppy shirt and jeans. You had to bake a cake for the grandparents morning tea, yours is burnt around the edges, but another mum brought in perfectly iced cupcakes. You see mums laughing and smiling in a group, but you don’t think you’re cool enough to join the group. You’re too embarrassed to have friends over your house because your house is tiny and cluttered and their houses are new and immaculate. All these comparisons are huge sources of anxiety and you telling yourself that you’re not good enough. The thing to remember is that you have no clue what is happening behind the scenes in these women’s lives and you certainly can’t compare your life with someone who is at a completely different point in theirs.
Stop the social media
I have a love-hate relationship with social media. I love it because content marketing is my job. I hate it because it’s a distorted reality and there’s too much negativity. If you want to manage your anxiety, try a digital detox and read a good book or, listen to a podcast.
Stop being a couch potato
I need to take some of my own advice here because I am a couch potato. I could blame having two young kids, I could blame the fact that I’m always too tired because of my bipolar, I could blame my husbands work hours, but really, I don’t have anything to blame because I have my legs and arms and can easily do a quick workout in my lounge room. I’m still working on that. The most I’ve been doing are 20 squats everytime I go to the toilet. It’s better than nothing.
But, the reality is, physical activity and exercise definitely do help anxiety and mental health in general. This study suggests that exercise and physical activity could alleviate some symptoms associated with mild to moderate depression and reduce the symptoms of anxiety.
If you’re like me though, you don’t like exercising for the sake of exercising. I have to do something I enjoy which is why it’s a great idea to have fitness goals like running 5k or climbing a mountain, instead of focusing on something like losing weight.
Remember that simplifying things is better than complicating things when it comes to your anxiety and general mental health. Most people with anxiety will know their triggers so focus on removing these first.
Once you’ve stopped doing these things, why not start getting everything from your head onto paper so you feel you have more control. I’ve written a bit about mind dumping and have some worksheets you might find useful.
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