how I cope with anxiety

Waiting is terrible. Whether it’s waiting for your food to finish in the microwave (longest five minutes of my life), or your drink at Starbucks, or your wedding day, or someone to pick you up, or in a line at the grocery store, or your food to come at a busy restaurant, (apparently I like food), etc.

Those things are silly and not that important, but waiting for more important things can be really tough. Nick & I have a lot of practice with this – we waited an extra 10 months than we’d originally planned before getting married. We also waited 9 months to move out to Salt Lake City after deciding we were actually gonna do it. And now, we’ll probably wait another 2 years to have babies. That’s heartbreaking for me to be honest, but the past two weeks have taught me a lot about coping with impatience.

I hate not being in control. It’s a huge struggle for me & the cause of a lot of fights in my marriage. The past two weeks, I have had no control over a very important situation and it has been difficult to say the least.

If you’re anything like me, you know coping with something like this can feel impossible and helpless.

This time it was about a job. One I’ve been praying for for months – it has everything I want, down to the location. I was going a little crazy with the anxiety that they’d offer the position to someone else because it was so perfect. I was completely doubting that it would actually work out. It was impossible for me to calm down and let it go, or be reassured by anyone that it would be okay. I got headaches. I would sweat every time I got an email from the company, truly believing it would be a rejection email.

This anxiety completely takes over my mind. It’s like an annoying gnat flying around my head that I can’t get rid of.

I try to fight through this every day but it’s not pretty. It can be really detrimental to every part of my life. I wanted to share the ways I cope with anxiety and hopefully encourage you guys if any of you deal with this too.

Here are 4 things that get me through anxiety with my sanity intact.

PRAYER

The most helpful thing for managing my anxiety is prayer.  Even though right now I have one specific thing that I’ve been concerned with, I struggle to manage anxious thoughts every day regardless. When I feel overwhelmed or completely out of control, I need to take time to pray.

It can be tough to slow down your mind when it’s running rampant with worry. Sometimes I have to force myself to sit down and write with a pen and paper. Other times I pace alone in my house and talk (/yell) about it. And other times, I’m not alone and I can’t sit still enough to write, so I type it out instead.

Whatever way works for you – get the thoughts out of your head.

I’m a Christian, so I believe in the power of prayer. I believe God hears me and is always with me. I get so much peace and perspective when I pray. Hear this though- this doesn’t mean I always feel better physically. Sometimes I still feel the anxiety after prayer, but I have a more peaceful mind.

I also find a lot of relief in reading Psalms. My favorites are: 34, 35, 46, & 103. They are a huge comfort to me because the author, David, is called “a man after God’s own heart” and even he sometimes feels alone and afraid. It makes me feel less insane.

TALKING ABOUT IT

I’m normally really terrible about sharing what I’m going through and leaning on other people, but lately I’ve been seeing how good it is for my friendships. I’ve been sharing my struggles with my friends and letting them give me advice. I’m usually terrible at receiving advice because I have so much pride and want to do everything myself. But how will I ever have deeper friendships that I want if I never let anyone help me? The struggle.

Often, my fear is burdening other people with my issues, but friendships are built on vulnerability. I have been really blessed with friends that care deeply about me and want to be there to help if I’m struggling. This is also vital in a marriage.

Talk about your stress, all your anxiety, even if it means you cry. Get it out! It’s so encouraging to have someone to remind you of truth and be praying for you.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

I try do a workout for 30 minutes to an hour every day and burn off all the anxious energy I have.

When you’re worrying about things, you’re using so much energy. It’s really helpful to use that energy another way. Plus, God totally did this on purpose and created a happy chemical in our brains that’s released when we work out and makes us feel better – why not utilize that?

I have friends that do yoga to help with this. I like to do yoga, but sometimes I have way too much pent up energy, so I love doing weighted workouts or MMA-type workouts to literally punch out my anxiety. I also run, do pilates, or take a bike ride too.

ALONE TIME

When I’m dealing with anxiety and feel like I can’t get out of my own head, there is nothing better than lighting a candle and curling up with a book.

Scents like cinnamon, peppermint, and lavender are super relaxing to me and help focus my mind. I’ve heard a lot about essential oils and how amazing they are for this – I’m thinking about trying them!

I also like to take a hot shower or a bath or do a face mask.

Painting my nails is also really helpful because it gets my mind focused on a monotonous task and off of the craziness. I do this about once a week, lol. I also will write, read a book, or watch a movie.

It can be helpful to distract yourself with working out or painting your nails, but I really believe the best ways to deal with anxiety and impatience that it leads to are the confrontational tactics. Talking about this with God and other people means you cannot hide from what’s going on. The easiest way for the devil to convince us that our worst fears will come true is if we believe that is the only option.

Hopefully this is helpful to you guys. And I hope you all know that if you are dealing with this and need to talk – I really would love to listen.

Thanks for reading!

Xoxo,

Erinn

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