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This post was inspired by our friend Michele Rosenthal from HealMyPTSD.com who recently wrote a very supportive article: 5 Things To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do
In the introduction Michele wrote: “It’s okay not to know what you’re doing. In fact, that’s a natural part of the post-trauma world. Learning how to manage that space and grow in and from it is a major part of healing.”
That’s very true for anxiety too so, inspired by her wise words, we wanted to share four things really help when you feel stuck with anxiety and you don’t know what to do.
This is very different to just doing nothing because you don’t feel well enough and hating every minute of it.
That might look like resting but, in reality, it’s restless. It’s being physically inactive but mentally reactive. Outside we look still, but inside we are frustrated, we are resenting the loss of time, opportunity, the “missing out” that comes with anxiety. Inside we are fighting and that causes us stress which further increases anxiety.
The challenge is to accept that this is a rough patch. To say: "today I choose to rest, to nourish my body as well as I can, to calm my mind as well as I can."
We've all heard the advice about getting free from quick sand. Fight and flail around and you sink. Keep still and start making slow gentle movements and you should be able to pull yourself out.
Anxiety is the same: if you fight and get frustrated your stress levels will increase and anxiety will gain hold. If you can learn to take small self-supporting steps - you can escape it's hold.
Practising a guided breathing practice
EFT Tapping to clear painful thoughts of resistance, or feeling lost etc
Taking a mindful walk in nature
Anxiety is horribly confusing.
You want to know when you will feel well again, or if you’ll be stuck like this forever. And no one can give you a definite answer.
Save yourself the pain of thinking you have to work this out for yourself.
You are allowed to ask for help. And you are allowed to choose where you get that help. In other words, you can choose who you want to support you.
If your doctor is unsympathetic, you might consider finding a new one. If you choose to work witha therapist or counsellor talk to a few until you find someone you really feel safe with. You need to be heard with kindness, not humiliated or made to feel bad when you are already suffering.
Find authors, bloggers, podcasts, audiobooks that give solid information on the nature of anxiety. Listen to people who can tell you what to expect and, most importantly, ways of coping and reducing your anxiety.
Explore what you feel attracted to. Do you like the idea of guided meditation? EFT Tapping? Working with your breath?
Look up success stories. Learn from others how they overcame anxiety.
Notice what helps you feel better and what makes you feel worse.
If social events feel too much - step back for a while. It can take a long time to settle again if you get pressured.
For example: If walking helps, do more. If the news makes you feel worse, watch it less - or cut it out altogether.
You might like to keep a brief journal where you log what helps you and what doesn’t and gradually make adjustments to add more of what helps you feel less anxious and weed out some stressors.
You might not be able to fix your anxiety overnight but there is always something you can do, even if it’s a little something that just gets you though the next five minutes.
Value small steps and actions. Anxiety is a big issue but it is best handled with little steps.
Keep your mind on what you can do rather than letting thoughts of uncertainty oppress you.
Just get through now and you will soon find yourself unstuck and moving on with conquering your anxiety.
Listen to the full podcast here:
4 things that help when you feel stuck with anxiety and you don’t know what to do
For a quick and easy start to using your breath to calm anxiety, try our guided calming breathing practice - available in the iTunes music store: Nadi Shodhana Calming Breathing Practice
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