How to Deal With Anxiety: 20 Practical & Natural Tips You Can Use Now
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Learning How to Deal with Anxiety? You are not alone.
I have felt the reach of anxiety in my life in the worst way. One of my dearest friends lived with me for about 6 months and struggled with anxiety so bad she was convinced that something physical was wrong with her.
I remember the relentless search for something… anything to help her get past the feeling of her mind getting cloudy and swimming in absolute un-controlled depression about life in general.
Not knowing any better, I searched with her. I was desperate for the friend I considered a sister to find a solution to this overwhelming problem. in March of 2017 she tried to take her life. She cried and cried for days beforehand. She kept saying things like, “I can’t live this way anymore” I remember holding her and trying to calm her down.
What followed was a long line of failed attempts to “cure” what was wrong with her body, but ultimately it was her mind that needed healing alongside with the physical relief she craved. Unfortunately, this story does not have a good ending; and now, 2 years after her death, I decided to start this blog with the mission of helping other women like my friend so that no other babies end up without a mommy and so that we can all live our best and most powerful lives.
Let’s Be Friends…
I am going to let you know now, I am a Christian. I am not ashamed of it, but I regularly have conversations with people who do not believe like I do and guess what… we are FRIENDS! ???? Shocker right? Well, that is how I run my blog too. You know I am a Christian, but you do not have to agree with everything I say because that is just not how friendship works. I actually do not agree with how anxiety is addressed in religion most of the time, so I will talk about some of that here as well.
So, I wanted to say all that because I want you to know that some of my advice is faith based. Take it or leave it. Use what works for you and DO what works for you. I am not a doctor or medical professional.
I am just your friend, and as such I am going to give you what I have seen that works.
What is Anxiety?
Also known as generalized anxiety disorder, anxiety disorders are are some of the most under recognized illnesses in the United States. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting… 18.1% of the population every year.” By todays population, that is over 58,000,000 people in the United States alone!
So why do that many people go untreated? The treatments are misunderstood as weakness, which is INSANE… Can I just have a moment with that? Seeking help for anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of! That would be like saying don’t go see a doctor if your arm is falling off. Not wise!
Why does anxiety happen?
What most people do not make allowances for are that we ALL live with a measured amount of anxiety (also known as stress in our everyday terms). With everyone and everything calling for our attention, we have to to find our center and create a safe place. If you are a mom, this is even more vitally important. We have to create boundaries. Say, “no”, in a healthy way. Give our best yes to the things that matter the most. We have to protect what is precious in our lives. Most importantly, we need to ASK for HELP.
20 Practical Tips for How to Deal with Anxiety
Now, I said it before, but for the skimmers, I am NOT a MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. I can only give you my best friend advice, share my life experiences and research findings, as well as things I use to keep my anxiety under control!
If you are having feelings of harming yourself or others around you, please, for your sake say something and get help. There is no shame in asking for help, it’s what makes you human.
Tip 1: Remember anxiety is not your friend
The biggest thing you can do is to literally learn to identify that ANY worry or stress in your life is not healthy. We were not made to be worriers, we were made to be WARRIORS, and you are, mama! Keep you self in check and when you feel that anxious pit in your stomach coming on, stop and address the fear in your mind. Do not let is just happen and let it go just because you are thinking well I have always worried about “XYZ”. The FIRST thing you need to know about dealing with anxiety is that your mind is the battleground and you are the only one that can fight there.
Tip 2: Eat Healthy
This is one of the unpopular answers about how to deal with anxiety. I particularly hated this one. I love to eat my feelings… Well I did before I lost 40 pounds earlier this year! ???? Snacking on foods like salmon, chocolate, and chia seeds can help you lower your anxiety levels naturally by giving your body signals that you are NOT starving to death and making sure you have all the essential nutrients your body needs for proper functions. One issue my friend faced was a severe lack of appetite, so making sure you get what you need and making a schedule can really help keep you well fed. This article from healthline.com has some awesome foods to help reduce anxiety and explanations of how they help.
Tip 3: Problem Solve
Take a few minutes and think about the problems you are facing and try to find a creative solution for it. Do not allow your mind to accept, and default, to the fear of the situation; instead, find all the possible outcomes of what you are facing and let your mind settle into an acceptable solution for your situation.
Tip 4: Relaxation
Sometimes you literally need to chill. Worry and fear are not going to do you any favors in this situation. Take a few moments to actually relax your mind and body. Deep breathing and meditation can go a LONG way to getting your mind an actual helpful and usable solution.
Tip 5: Talk to Yourself
I will never understand why some people think it is crazy to talk to yourself. I mean there are crazy ways to talk to to yourself. ???? It does look a little strange when you see someone talking to them-self, but in the age of Bluetooth we can all get away with it now. However, you spend all day with people telling you what to think and how to feel. Why not try listening to yourself. Learn now how to tell yourself, out loud, that things will be ok. I put together a few affirmations to speak to yourself that will help you to actually keep your mind healthy and keep your mind poised to find the JOY in each situation.
Tip 6: Talk to a Friend
Sometimes we need to talk to someone, like a real live person. Often times when I am feeling anxious it leads back to some lie I am allowing my mind to perpetuate. Friends, real true friends, will help you by identifying non-truths in your life and helping you find a creative solution. Sometimes even just saying what you are dealing with, out loud, can help you process what you are dealing with.
Tip 7: Go For a Brisk Walk
While brisk walking is amazing for weight-loss, it has a host of other benefits as well. One of the most notable benefits of walking outdoors is actually a spike in the hormone that calms our mind, endorphins. I love walking outdoors because it also reminds me that I am not stuck anywhere, and that compared to the nature that surrounds me, my problems are really small. Plus, a little Vitamin D never hurt anyone! ????
Tip 8: Spend Time Meditating
This is the one where you need to find the answers that work for you. I know not all of you believe like I do and that’s ok. What works for me is actually soft music and meditating on God. I take time to let his greatness and goodness fill me. Then, I focus my heart on what my real priorities are. After that, I make it a point to pray for someone other than myself (bonus points if you pray for someone you do not like- I promise it helps relieve emotional tension to see someone as God sees them). I take time to say a thank you for the breath in my lungs, the health of my family, and the good that is coming my way that day. Those small changes make a HUGE impact for me. It is like letting the sunshine into my mind.
If you want to learn how I pray everyday to keep my mind healthy and focused on good things, check out this post…
Tip 9: Challenge Your Thought Patterns
To change what you are experiencing, you have to CHANGE your thoughts. I know you have heard it before but life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how YOU deal with it! Our thoughts are some of the most important things which we are responsible for taking care of. A therapist cannot solve your unhealthy thoughts without honesty from you. Our spouse can not read our mind and see when we are giving into little lies that are beginning to eat us alive. Your kids can not remove guilt from your life through good behavior. Often times, I find myself trying to correct my actions before correcting thinking. The issue there is that every action comes from a deeply rooted belief system. Our thoughts will be evident in the actions we take each day.
So, when you are getting results you do not like, the change begins with (wo)man in the mirror. (Sorry I couldn’t resist!)
Tip 10: Give Up Your Unrealistic Expectations
Stop beating yourself up girlfriend! You can never, will never be, and shouldn’t be perfect. Perfect is boring. Love is messy and unpredictable, and you my friend were made for love. You were made to love, and to BE loved! You were designed to make messes and mistakes. I love reading quotes about failure because so often we take failure so personally, when in reality, we are supposed to FAIL! Do you think a baby just gets up and decides to walk one day? Most of the time, the answer is nope… there is a whole lot of falling involved. However, we never see that as failing, do we? We always see that in the frame of TRYING. We celebrate it and cheer for them with every small step they take. Why not try doing the same thing in your own life? Try celebrating your failures, because you actually made progress!
If you want to read more, you can check out my other post, dedicated to overcoming perfectionism.
BONUS: This song says it ALLLL. ❤️
Tip 11: Recognize that Process is part of life
I get it girl, I want to just be there too! I want nothing more than to sit on my front porch sipping sweet tea thinking, “This is it, I have arrived”. However, that is not how life works. Life is about savoring the process of getting to where you want to be. I listened to the most amazing woman talk all about this in a teaching recently. Christine Caine, talks about why the best things will always take time and if we rush the process we are actually missing half of the JOY in life. You can check out the full article I wrote on it here!
Tip 12: Use Essential Oils
I am a huge fan of essential oils. There, I said it. ???? I used to think they were all hype and placebo effects. But after doing much research on the topic, I am a fan. I like not putting medicines and toxins in my body all the time. There is nothing quite like feeling so good because I use only natural things in my body. I have used tons of different brands but Newton Homeopathics is my favorite by far. Below is the anxiety blend that can help with feelings of calm and rest in your mind. The bottles also last FOREVER. I have had one of mine for 2 years now!
Tip 13: Consider Using CBD Oil
I have a very dear friend that has used CBD (non THC formula) to help ease the symptoms of her anxiety. I know there are a lot of sellers out there and I have never used it personally, but I have heard really good things from my friends that do use it to help with pain, sleeplessness, and anxiety. Like I said, I do not and have not used CBD so please take this with a grain of salt. When in doubt, talk to your medical professional to make sure its good for your particular situation.
Tip 14: Eliminate Unnecessary Stress
How many of us say, “Yes”, too often in your lives? ????♀️ I have gone through a huge schedule overhaul because of moving to full time RV living in August of 2018 (check out my other blog posts from last year, about this), but I STILL deal with this. There are times when you need to just say, “No, that isn’t going to work for me.” Taking time for the real things that matter to you is a huge thing. Make time to say yes to what you love. Make space for things to go a different (unplanned) direction in your life. You can not always predict every twist. Do not add unnecessary stress to your already overwhelmed mind.
Tip 15: Work on Sleeping
I know from experience, this is easier said than done. Sleep can be elusive and inconvenient when you are dealing with full blown anxiety issues. My recommendation, turn off the tech at least 1 hour before sleep. Not just for the whole “blue light” thing, but for YOUR peace of mind. Put on soft music, go through a healthy nightly routine, keep your heart and mind clear for processing anything you encountered that day, or try reading a great book! Also, make sure you are getting the optimal amount of sleep; not too much and not too little. Too much sleep can lead to depression and too little sleep can increase anxiety.
Tip 16: Drink More Water
I know this may seem like everyone’s answer for EVERYTHING under the sun, but there is a powerful truth in this. When you are dehydrated everything seems harder. Our bodies are made of about 60% water. That is more than half of our bodies! If you are overweight at all, this is particularly important because fat doesn’t hold as much water as our other tissues, making us more at risk for dehydration. One of the best challenges I ever did was to drink 1 gallon of water each day. It changed the way that I thought about my body and I started to see what being truly hydrated felt like. It was a huge game changer for me. I even lost quite a bit of weight once I started doing this.
Tip 17: Speak With a Professional
I know we talked about confiding in a friend, but sometimes you need more than a friend. You may really need someone that will help keep you accountable in your thought patterns and actions. You may even need someone who has no “skin in the game” to just share those scary and problematic thoughts with. Dragging our baggage out into the light is the best way to clean things out. You can not overcome thing things you are not willing to face. I want to just take a moment and say, there is NO SHAME in going to see a professional about your problems. They are called professionals for a reason. I would just encourage you to find someone who believes like you do, and who supports your life choices. Do not be afraid to “interview” your therapist.
Tip 18: Practice Breathing
B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Seriously, in my journey for learning how to deal with anxiety, breathing is one of the most important keys to making my mind take a break. Sometimes, just by taking that moment we do not feel like we have, we can dispel the lie that we are drowning in stress and emotions. Take time and focus ONLY on your breathing. If you are at work, go take a bathroom break. At home? I used to like to hide in the pantry! ???? Now being in an RV, I have to head to the bedroom… alone. This was ONE thing I loved about my apple watch. It was helpful to have a breathe function right on my wrist!
Tip 19: Journal Your Feelings
I am just now getting into bullet journaling for real (I know, late to the part as usual ????). The concise and simple-to-follow system is amazing for organizing your thoughts. I am naturally a very organized person and tend to use the bullet journaling method with my other note taking strategies but there is something about actually getting those thoughts out of your head and writing them down. I loved this super helpful articles from “Slap Dash Mom” on How to reduce anxiety with bullet journaling.
If you are looking for a super cute bullet journal, I found this one on Amazon that I am ordering. I will post an update once I get it!
Tip 20: Remember it’s Not Your Fault
So often shame, blame, and feelings of never being enough tend to take us over. Just a reality check, those feelings are lies! Maybe you are not at fault, but you may be responsible for dealing with the fallout. I watched an awesome video from Will Smith about fault vs. responsibility and it was life changing. I have since tried to challenge my thoughts about situations. Trying to shift blame to myself or others doesn’t help me actually deal with what is going on. However, even if something terrible was done to me in my past, I do have the obligation to deal with my reaction and find a workable solution to what I am going through. Trying to figure out the “why” of it all can sometimes be the most unhealthy thing for us. Crappy stuff happens to everyone. We all have something we are walking through. Let’s just try and be kind to one another and be the best version of ourselves we can be, without stress and striving.
The Last Thing You Need to Know About How to Deal with Anxiety
Anxiety is 90%… mindset. Keep your mind healthy at all costs and if you are mentally “out of shape”, as long as you are breathing there is still hope for you. Put in the work, be honest and get healthy. If you are only dealing with a small measured amount of anxiety, count yourself as blessed and start working hard to get the healthy mind you deserve.
Lastly, I am going to tell you the thing I WISH I could say one more time to my friend who took her own life while battling anxiety… (Please never doubt these words of truth in your life).
You Are Fiercely Loved & Vitally Important.
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Hey, I'm Brittany
It's nice to meet you! I am a mom, wife, daughter, sister and hopefully now your friend. My mission is to empower women to be whole and healed through physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. I write tips on aligning your life to live your WHOLE life!
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