Julie Andrews as Maria Von Trapp in The Sound of Music seemed to know what she was talking about when she sang “My Favourite Things”. Many of us will experience anxiety at some point in our lives, and dealing with it on a daily basis can be difficult and exhausting. While a mental health professional can help you work through your thoughts, feelings, and actions related to anxiety, there are also things that you can do to help yourself.
Try to recognize the things that cause you anxiety and your responses to them so you can plan how you will respond in the future. Many situations can cause anxiety, from work life to home life, and there are different strategies that you can use in each situation. For example, if your work situation is unclear and has you upset or stressed, seeking clarification from your boss or leader in writing about your expected task or role may help ease your anxiety.
Other strategies include box breathing. For this technique you sit up straight with your palms facing up on your lap while breathing in slowly to the count of four and then exhaling slowly to the count of four. Being conscious of your breathing gives you something to focus on and can help ground you. Grounding simply means to bring you out of your problematic thoughts by focusing on things in your present surroundings, like your breath.
As Maria’s song suggested, it is best to acknowledge our anxieties and have healthy ways of dealing with them, and if those strategies include laughing, dancing, or singing, you might just find yourself brightening someone else’s day as you improve your own. (Okay, so my singing is not likely to brighten anyone’s day, but yours may be much more pleasant!)
For more suggestions and information on dealing with anxiety, you can visit Depression, Anxiety, and Other Conditions.