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5 Effective Skills to Reduce Anxiety in your Life

In this blog post, I want to focus on 5 effective ways to reduce anxiety in your life. When I first started typing this the title was ‘5 ways to calm anxiety quickly’ but then I started to think…what message is that sending to anyone struggling by saying anxiety is something we can essentially ‘rid’ ourselves of quickly.

I would love to say there is a quick fix for managing anxiety, and it was something I searched for for many many months yet come up empty handed because truly, there is no QUICK fix. There are effective tools to help navigate and manage anxiety as well as tools to help regulate your nervous system, but there aren’t practices to ‘fix’ or ‘get rid of’ anxiety in 10 minutes!


Now if you're at the beginning of your healing journey are are still struggling with what anxiety truly is and what it looks like. My dear friend Dr. Elise, a psychology PhD, has shared a wonderful blog post explaining what is actually going on in your body. Check it out here


That being said, let’s dive into what these skills look like and how you can incorporate then into your life.

ONE. COMPASSION.


I’ve spoken about compassion many times in my blog and on instagram, but I wanted to highlight it here because it truly is essential. The way we speak to ourselves matters. If you struggle with being compassionate toward yourself, consider how you many respond to a good friend or a child when you’re in a difficult moment. We often approach situations with others with more compassion and empathy than we may realize. Try reminding yourself of this the next time you feel like your inner critic is judging you.

TWO. SEPARATE ANXIETY FROM YOU.

Many of our negative and anxious thoughts will start to create a link between us and them. This link will start to make you believe that anxiety is just who you are. This can often create even more anxiety for many. Instead of creating that link, begin to create separation from you and anxiety. If necessary, give the anxiety you experience a name or a persona that you can refer to when needed. A lot of work I have done has been creating space between myself and my experience with anxiety that has helped me to change the way I see and view anxiety as a whole. You are NOT the anxiety you experience, never forget that.

THREE. GIVE YOURSELF SPACE TO FEEL.


Our initial response to anxiety is often to try and escape the uncomfortable sensations it creates. This may often also cause us to push these feelings away and bottle them up over time. Much like a pop bottle that shaken over and over again, one day the top will fly off, and that can be the same experience that happens with anxiety. Navigating this may look like creating space for you to feel and process big emotions. Maybe not in the exact moment you experience them, but its vital at some point near that time you give yourself the time and space needed to process some of those big feelings. That may look like writing those feelings out, journalling them, talking to a therapist, having a big cry, or sitting with the discomfort, just to name a few. Giving yourself that space will begin allowing your body to come back into a calm and relaxed state as we process those big emotions.

FOUR. LIFESTYLE MODIFICATIONS.


Now I know seeing ‘lifestyle’ changes can often be frustrating for some, because creating positive lifestyle changes doesn’t mean we are immune from experiencing anxiety, but I did want to highlight how our lifestyle may be contributing to how we’re feeling in hopes that for anyone that resonates its helpful to make these changes. Today Im going to focus on three essential aspects of our lifestyle that may be contributing to a dysregulated nervous system. 1. Diet. Now I’m not here to tell you exact what to eat and when to eat it, but it can be valuable to be aware of how we are fuelling our bodies. If we are living on caffeine and eating highly processed foods, we may be causing more imbalance in our bodies. If you’re open to it, start by making small shifts. Switch from coffee to tea or have one less coffee per day, or try adding veggies/fruits to each meal. 2. Sleep. Sleep is ESSENTIAL to our wellbeing, so it may be helpful to create a helpful sleep hygiene routine. In a previous blog post I talked about a few helpful tips to do so. Check then out here. 3. Movement. Notice how I didn’t say exercise? I have had a difficult relationship with the term exercise throughout my life because exercise can often feel very restrictive, where movement can encompass many activities that you enjoy - like gardening, dancing, stretching, or housework. All three of these components can have a HUGE impact on our lives and general wellbeing, so take a moment to reflect on where you could invest some time and awareness.

FIVE. CELEBRATE YOURSELF.


My final thought on effectively calming anxiety long term, is truly to celebrate each and every step on your journey. There will be days when things go great, days when things suck, and days when it feels so difficult you aren’t sure if you want to continue healing. No matter what, always remind yourself that you are capable, you are worthy and it WILL get better, because I swear it does. Taking time to celebrate your wins and acknowledge what you’re working on is HUGE. It also isnt about only counting the days you ‘dont feel anxiety’, its about celebrating the step you took out of your comfort zone, how you soothed yourself through a difficult moment, and even how you let anxiety happen without pushing it away. Its not about healing ‘perfectly’ its about embracing those imperfect moments of healing as a way to learn and grow.


I hope these tips resonate with you, and remind you that healing IS possible and you ARE so much more capable than you realize.


Sending you love,

Carly

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