Am I Just Wired to be Anxious?

You need to take a chill pill.

You’re just wired to be anxious.

Heard any of these?

Close your eyes & take a deep breath.

Today, we’re going to get down & dirty with our good ole’ friend anxiety.

In this post, I am going to share some common & not-so-common methods for tackling anxiety.

Here are some of the things I’ll be covering:

  • How to feel more grounded
  • A useful way to identify what has triggered your past anxiety
  • A simple exercise to prepare you for future anxious days
  • Simple & effective journal questions to help you identify triggers  & escape the anxious cycle

HOW CAN i FEEL MORE GROUNDED?

You’ve shared with me that anxiety is one of your top struggles. ⁠⠀

How do I stop everyday anxiety from getting the best of me? ⁠⠀

⁠⁠By focusing on becoming more grounded & by giving myself grace.

⁠Below are some examples of what helps me feel more grounded:

  1. Exercise⁠⠀
  2. Get better sleep⁠⠀
  3. Reduce caffeine & alcohol⁠⠀
  4. Practice mindfulness⁠⠀
  5. Practice breathwork⁠⠀
  6. Address negative self-talk with compassion⁠⠀
  7. Relax your body with yoga & baths⁠⠀
  8. Get creative

⁠These things are not unique to me. They often help anxiety sufferers escape the anxious cycle.

 

BUT I NEED TO UNDERSTAND MY TRIGGERS.

⁠Here are FOUR STEPS to help you understand your triggers & manage anxiety. ⠀

STEP 1 – Identify triggers⠀

In some sense, “triggers” can be thought of as nothing more than a form of energy input.

This energy comes from both your outside world (external) & your inside world (internal).

External triggers could be loud noises, visual clutter, & phone notifications.

Whereas internal triggers could be thought loops, negative self-talk, & lacking proper boundaries.

STEP 2  Impact triggers⁠⠀

Once you know what is triggering you, it’s easier to impact triggers in a meaningful way.

And the way we impact triggers CAN be quite simple.

For instance, if you’re triggered by loud noises, turn off your phone notifications & limit TV for a bit.

Or if you’re someone who struggles with expressing boundaries, practice saying ‘no’ & speaking kindly to yourself.

Don’t forget! Small changes compound over time.

STEP 3 – Identify where your energy goes⁠

Since you’re now thinking of triggers as a form of energy input, identify where that energy goes.

For instance, on days when my energy is grounded, I might garden, create art, or write a blog post.

However, when I am not grounded, all of that ungrounded energy leads to anxiety.

And my anxious actions might look like feeling distracted, mindless eating, & zoning out in front of the TV.

STEP 4 – Prepare for the anxious days

When you’re feeling grounded, here is a simple exercise you can try to prepare for anxious days.

Buy a stack of index cards & write down simple actions to take based on the following categories:

  • find & appreciate beauty
  • express gratitude
  • feel self-compassion
  • get into your body
  • take care of your basic needs

On anxious days, draw ONE card & do what it says.

In my own card deck, I include things like go to an art gallery, do yoga, write a thank you letter, & eat fresh greens. 

I have found this tool to be extremely helpful on anxious days, because it takes away the responsibility of planning.

It leaves me with only one job – do what the card says.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I FEEL ANXIOUS RIGHT NOW?

Everyone is different, but the best way I have found to escape the anxious cycle is to get out of my head & get into my body.

That means that I go for a walk or go to the gym.

⁠⁠If getting exercise feels daunting to you, try something simpler.

  • Jump in a cold shower.
  • Reach for something tactile like play dough, slinkies, & fidget spinners ⁠⠀

⁠The point of any of these actions is to jolt your brain out of the anxious state by introducing distracting, physical stimuli. ⁠

⁠Once I’m out of the immediate field of anxiety, it’s easier for me take other actions that help me manage my anxiety further.

Those might be practicing breathwork, journaling, or mindful art. ⁠⠀

⁠In time, as I have become more aware of my triggers & have put plans in place for managing my anxiety, I have noticed that I am experiencing fewer anxious cycles.  ⁠⠀

Feeling inspired to take action & escape your anxious cycle? Download these journal questions, identify your triggers, & start reducing anxiety today.

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