We view anxiety as situational and not that big of a deal when in reality we underestimate the joy it steals from our everyday life. It doesn’t always manifested the way we expect, or when we expect. We have mislabeled anxiety as a personality traits such as anger, irritability, stress, or laziness Instead we need to recognize these issues as symptoms. Symptoms of the bigger issue.
When depression’s gone, but anxiety stays.
After dealing with my third round of depression I still didn’t feel like myself. I wasn’t depressed anymore, but my anxiety was through the roof. I had only dealt with one part of the problem. I had to address the anxiety, because if I didn’t I’d get depressed all over again. I refused to let that happen. Anxiety and depression are sisters and constantly feed off each other.
I was stressed out, short tempered, over planning my life, executing nothing and procrastinating about everything. Anxiety is a stronghold that creeps in undetected and when we least expect it. I say all this not to discourage you, but to reveal it to you and open your eyes. You can’t always control when anxiety comes, but you can control how your respond. Our current culture has taught us that anxiety is the norm, that everyone is amped up, fearful, stressed out, and overwhelmed. All you have to do is watch the news for ten minutes or spend time on social media, and see we are a culture that is maxed out! I don’t know about you, but that is not how I want to live my life. It’s exhausting. Anxiety is exhausting.
Now that we can identify some of the ways anxiety manifests itself, how do we combat it?
Three daily habits to reduce anxiety.
- Limit your social media. Not only limit the amount of time that you spend on social media, but the content of your social media. For example, reading the news before you go to bed isn’t the best idea. Fill your mind with things that bring you hope and laughter, not fear, worry or comparison.
- Take control of your day. One of the most powerful things I did was an anxiety time chart. I monitored what I did every 15 minutes for about a week. I was blown away by the amount of time I spent either on my phone or watching TV, or browsing online. So many wasted hours. By not getting to the things I needed to get done, my anxiety was only increasing instead of using my time wisely.
- Exercise! It’s really important, but something I probably struggle with the most. Yeah, you read that right. Exercise. Try to find 30 minutes a day where you get your heart rate up and clear your head. For me, thirty minutes a day is much more doable than driving to the gym, going to a class, driving home, showering, etc., You know the drill. You can do a lot in thirty minutes. There are tons of resources online now that are free to help you. One thing I really enjoy is listening to podcasts, sermons, or audiobooks. You’ll be amazed how excited you’ll be to get outside and go for a walk! I’ve found that I do my best thinking when I’m on my walks. I love listening to my Steven Furtick when I lift weights or when I’m out for a walk. He’s over the top and gets me motivated.
I’ve attached the anxiety time chart I used but broke it down to 30 minute increments. If doing it for a week is overwhelming just try three days, or maybe even one. Don’t pressure yourself to do the time chart, we are all in different stages of our journey with anxiety. If it’s too daunting just pay attention to how you spend your time, and you will see where you aren’t using your time the best of your ability.