Anxiety can be a beast, distracting at its best, debilitating at its worst. It’s something I used to struggle immensely with, and still do here and there. While sometimes medication is helpful and needed, there are tools and practices we can use to manage and even sometimes eliminate it, with or without the help of medication.
Today, I’m sharing my practice I go to when I’m having a hard time, one that helped me so much as I went through everything with my face recently. It’s honestly just some simple mindset + thought vetting/controlling tools I’ve learned over the years pieced together, but learning to manage our mind and control our thoughts really is so powerful that it can make a huge difference in both short + long term depression + anxiety.
The freedom, mentally and physically mindset work can create is truly life changing.
Step One – Express
It’s important to do this to yourself, either out loud or in a journal. It can also greatly help to express it to someone who is a safe place and you trust, whether a loved one or a stranger.
Getting the thoughts, the feelings and everything that’s going on inside of us out is so powerful.
Once it’s out you can fully work with and through it, partly because you actually know what you’re working with and through. Sometimes our brains spiral really fast or things are kind of fuzzy up there. Getting clarity is a powerful first step in many regards, and it’s no different when dealing with anxiety.
Expressing it also helps take away some of the weight of it. Partly because sometimes once we get the thoughts and feelings out, we realize how crazy they actually are (I remember one time I was worried Geoff got killed coming home on the subway; I said it out lout to myself and was like wow, am I really buying this?? …It really does help!). But also because when we keep them in they tend to compound and feel a lot more real + heavy than they actually are.
Step Two – Accept
Fighting it, pretending it isn’t there, or shaming yourself for having it doesn’t help. It’s human to experience fear and anxiety. And it’s normal to have a lot of it if you’ve had a lot of trauma, been around people who operate from fear & anxiety, have a chemical imbalance, and/or not done a lot of healing or mindset work… your brain has been programmed to operate this way, some of it from people you’ve been around and some of it is our helpful primal instincts.
Fear and anxiety can be helpful when they get us to take action and prevent something from going wrong. However, often times they end up consuming a lot more of our time and energy than they should and exist to a point in our minds and bodies that’s much more unhelpful that helpful.
The goal is to learn to work with your fear and anxiety in a way that keeps it in its proper and helpful place, which is a state of being centered and regulated that empowers you to show up your best and thrive.
Accepting it doesn’t mean you’re going to continue to allow it to consume you, it means that you are making peace with what is (and with yourself) so that you can move on and shift into something better.
Step Three – Release
Once you’ve accepted it, you can then release it.
It’s something that I end up doing over and over and over again because it’s certainly not easy.
Some things that helps me with releasing:
-Journaling, even something simple as saying “I release my anxiety surrounding “xyz”.
-Tying it to something physical, such as exhaling, water running off you in the shower, or movements in a workout.
-Tapping is also a really powerful way to regulate and center by accepting and releasing. You tap the pressure points on your body and accept and thank the fear and anxiety but then release it.
-Going down a ‘What If’ path: What if what I’m afraid of did come true? Would it be the end of me? Could I handle it? Usually I realize it wouldn’t be the end of me or the world, and I would be able to handle it. This helps take the power of the anxiety coming up away.
Step 4 – Replace it
With the space that you’ve cleared from releasing, you now have room for thoughts that are much more helpful! Now you get to fill that space with better ones you choose.
For example… I was really anxious about my face, that it would keep going on and on, that it would get worse, that it would spread to the other side, that I’d have permanent damage, about what days it might flare up preventing me from filming a campaign or working… so many things.
After I have release these thoughts I replace them with better ones. Ideally I want to get to Super empowering,high vibe thoughts like: “My face is going to heal quickly and easily, it already is!” Sometimes that’s just too far of a jump. But I can always pick something better, even if it’s just a little better, like: “My body is strong and fighting this infection. It won’t last forever.” Start with the next best thought and continue to work your way up to better ones as able.
Step 5 – Believe and Feel
So this is how you start being empowered. This is the whole point of self-care!! To get us from a very disempowered state to an empowered state, because that’s how we start creating the amazing realities that we want.
Believing and feeling the new and better thoughts can be hard, so some thing that I do to help me is look for evidence (which I sometimes use as the ‘better thoughts I can get behind till I can get behind even bigger and better ones’). Going back to my example of my face… I’ll remind myself that I’m being treated my a doctor that greatly cares of me. The swollen/affected area is getting smaller. My doctor believes it will heal and is on that track. Realizing what I’m anxious about is actually contradicting my reality really helps relieve the anxiety!
Sometimes we are seeing what we’re anxious about in our reality, ex. the swelling and pain came back a few times. In that case, it took a lot more mental work to believe what I want to believe, like “my face is healing quickly and easily”, but I chose to spend time focused on those new and better thoughts and feeling how it would feel if they were true. It did good vs. the harm than the anxiety was doing, allowed me to show up for my work + family + friends much more, and it helped me build new neural pathways so that my brain went less to those worse thoughts and more to better thoughts.
Step 6 – Repeat
This is a practice. The more you do it the quicker and easier it will become. But know that this is something you’re going to have to do over and over and over and over again.
Neuroplaaticity is our brains amazing ability to change. You can build new neural pathways, but it, just like building muscle at the gym, takes a lot of reps.
Every time you have the fearful or anxious thoughts come up, go through this practice.
Step 7 – Elevate
This is where the fun comes in, and it’s really just repeating steps 4 and 5 with bigger and better thoughts. It always will be a bit of a stretch and step of faith to choose to believe some thing that’s different than what you’re afraid of or seeing, but this is how we elevate, and is essentially manifestation.
This is how we create new realities, and bring in the things that we’ve always wanted to have. There are some other steps to manifestation that are really important, but this is the grunt work and groundwork that really supports the elevation and manifestation!