The air is thick with anxiety these days. The recession and money worries drag on. Just when we feel safe to travel, terrorism threatens again. There’s unease about the competency of our leaders, locally, nationally and around the world – no matter on what end of the political spectrum we find ourselves. There’s a sense we don’t know what’s going to happen and we couldn’t control it even if we knew. That’s a recipe for anxiety! What to do?
Here are a few tips for managing the anxious malaise you may be in now:
1. Get outside (yes, even in cold weather!) exercise and breathe. (Some of you who know me are snickering – I’ll have you know I just got back from a lunch time power walk around my office neighborhood. Yes, I keep my walking shoes in the trunk of my car.) For maximum anxiety control, walk fast for 45 minutes to an hour.
2. Journal your anxieties. I just posted about journaling and how helpful it is. Try this: make a list of your specific anxieties using no more than 1 – 2 words. Go back and cross through the ones you have absolutely no control over. Set those aside in your mind. Beside each of what’s left on your list write one thing (just one!), one step you can take in the next 24 hours to change it, improve it, delegate it, resolve it. Now do those things and no more. Repeat this exercise each day in your journal and note your progress.
3. Turn everything OFF! Try a news fast for one week. Unless your job absolutely requires it, do not watch or read news for at least a week. Swear off political talk shows, websites and emails. Do not even watch TV at all or get on any electronic device, computer, etc. for at least an hour before bedtime. You’ll sleep better and feel better.
4. Take care of yourself. Slow down, get some alone time, listen to music, meditate, pray. Become mindful of the present and remember you have all you need for this moment.
5. If anxiety becomes so overwhelming you find you cannot leave your house or function normally, see a mental health professional.