Fear is inevitable, I have to accept that, but I cannot allow it to paralyze me. – Isabel Allende
My anxiety used to get the best of me. It crippled me from doing more of what I love because I’d feel trapped by my own thoughts. My anxiety had complete control over the decisions I made, the life I wanted, and what I thought I couldn’t do. I was so afraid. After years of beating myself up over my anxiety, I’ve found ways to help cope with those persistent thoughts that run through my mind. These 5 daily practices have helped me worry less to focus more on what I really need and deserve.
5 Daily Practices to Help You Worry Less
I sit in silence for at least 20 minutes a day. As your thoughts enter, try and observe them as they come through. I like to think of them as “auditions” for your day, examining whether those thoughts are actually going be helpful. It also gives me alone time and the power over the thoughts that arise. The more I practice this, the easier it becomes to detach myself from the pervasive thoughts that distract me from taking action.
If I wake up each day knowing that if I do my best, that is good enough for me. In fact, I look in the mirror every morning to remind myself that all I can do is my best. Sometimes I do more than I expected and other times I’ve come up short. At the end of the day, those earlier moments are no longer here and we can look back knowing we did our best. Tomorrow is always another day. This doesn’t mean you get stepped on or taken advantage of. In fact, it’s the opposite- you are better prepared in responding to adversity.
In other words, pay more attention to what you are doing than what you are thinking. This takes a lot of practice but starts with something small. Pay close attention to every detail of the task at hand. When worrisome thoughts arise, try and fully immerse yourself in what you are doing at this very moment. If you’re not doing anything, in particular, take a walk, write a letter, organize your closet. Notice something different about the environment right in front of you.
This is the best way to keep your life in perspective. We can become so wrapped up in our own minds that we often forget to appreciate what we do have. Write down 10 things that you are grateful for. It can be your something obvious like your family or something silly like how I am grateful my paintings are still hanging on the wall. AMAZING (I know, I’m weird). We need to remind ourselves to be grateful.
Practice Slowing Down
This is the most challenging one for me. I like to get things done and get it done right now. It’s ok to want to accomplish more in life, but at what cost? Begin to slow down and take the time to enjoy the little things. Eat slowly. Take a little extra time to hug your kids tight. Breathe slowly, enjoying a nice deep breath. Finish that awesome song that you just don’t want to end on your commute to work. Take the time out for you.
Sometimes life can be so overwhelming that we can’t imagine adding one more thing to our busy lives. I encourage you to just start with one practice that you can add to your day. Give yourself that and don’t beat yourself up about it if you don’t do it every day. By just adding one new practice to your routine, you will start to notice small changes in your life. The more you add, the bigger those changes will be. It takes time and it’s not easy at first. That’s okay.
But, when we begin to distinguish ourselves from those voices in our heads, we can begin to live a more peaceful, abundant life. If each day, I can practice seeing the present moment more clearly, worries about the future no longer have the power to take over. I can then see what I need in this moment rather than worrying about what I won’t have tomorrow…