So I was going to try and do this as a video, but as I work in London now time is not on my side. I know there are already similar posts out there, but I just wanted to share what works for me. I must stress, I am not medically trained, and I am not giving you any guarantees I am just stating what works well for me.
I always find that physically stopping myself in my tracks stops my anxious thoughts escalating. If you suffer from anxiety, you will be well aware of how much thoughts can spiral out of control. If I am having an anxious thought that I know is going to escalate, I tell myself ‘Stop’. If I am doing something, I have a little break from it. If I am at work at my desk, I get up and have a bit of a wander. When you tell yourself to stop, you will start to think a little bit more rationally.
My worst time for anxiety is when I am doing nothing. Anxious thoughts tend to spring up at random times, but mostly when I have nothing else to think about. The mind is a funny thing, and if it has nothing to do, it will inevitably create things to do. One of the biggest and best distractions I find to work is physical exercise and a bit of nature. So if the UK turns in the shitty weather for an hour, get outside and go for a nice walk.
Recognise Your Anxiety
Even though distracting yourself works, it is still a good idea to recognise you are feeling the way you feel because of your anxiety. Sometimes stopping your anxious thoughts in their tracks can be as easy as saying ‘this is just my anxiety’ and sometimes it is a lot harder, but it’s still worth a try.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
It can be easy to beat yourself up and get down on yourself for having anxious thoughts, but you need to remember it is NOT your fault. Most mental health disorders are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. There is nothing you can do to prevent yourself from suffering anxiety, and it is not your fault in any more of a way than it would be if you caught a common cold.
I’ve always found it hard to deal with the sheer amount of thoughts that go around in my head. They do not even have to be anxious ones. I’ve always been the sort of person who is just thinking ten to the dozen all of the time, and the only thing I have ever found to stop this is meditation. There are loads of guided meditation videos you can access on Youtube, and there is also a great app called headspace. Not only does the actual meditation work, but also you get a little bit of time to yourself.
It sounds like boring, standard advice, but eating well really does make you feel well. Stimulants like caffeine may wake you up, but if you are having an anxious day too much will only make you feel worse. Try and eat lots of fish and fresh leafy veg, and keep the coffee’s to a minimum. There are lots of foods that impact on your mood, so do a bit of research and make yourself a little ‘me’ diet.