Managing Anxiety

Everyone gets anxiety, and thus everyone should take time to learn about their anxiety and how to manage it. Even if you are not currently feeling anxious, planning for anxiety before you are hit with stressful life events is incredibly important; you will be well-equipped to weather the storm. Learning about your anxiety and how to manage it will take a lot of time, self-discovery, research, and, perhaps professional help. Since I am not a professional, I cannot provide you with advice on how to manage your anxiety, however, I can share with you the skills I have picked up that help me manage my anxiety to get you thinking about techniques you may wish to explore!


1. Shelving

Often when we feel very anxious, we are too immersed in our emotions to properly evaluate the stressful situation. I find shelving to be an extremely useful skill when I am faced with great anxiety. Shelving involves setting aside the worry with the intention of evaluating it later. With practice, this is a very effective skill that helps resist the urge to rabbit hole. I shelve my worries by telling myself I will worry about it later, when I am feeling less reactive and/or when I have more information, and then I distract myself. I find it helpful to actually visualize myself putting the worry on a shelf for later. 


2. Recognize when you are catastrophizing 

Anxiety can make you believe that the worst-case scenario is the most likely outcome. When I notice myself catastrophizing, I remind myself that everything exists on a spectrum and it is more probable that the outcome will fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum of ‘all bad’ and ‘all good’.  


3. Remind yourself that feelings are not facts

 Sometimes when we feel anxious, we assume that what our anxiety is telling us is reality. I find it helpful to remind myself feelings do not equal facts, that my anxiety is telling me ‘x’ BUT ‘x’ is not necessarily true. This awareness can help me gain perspective. 


4. Practice Mindfulness

Do an activity that forces you to focus on the present moment and distracts you from your worry. For example, colouring in an adult colouring book, exercising, reading a light fiction book, crocheting, or calling a friend are all activities that I like to do to refocus my brain. 


5. Be kind to yourself

 Talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend or a family member. Being a human is not easy; you deserve to forgive yourself for mistakes and credit yourself for doing your best.