There is no one magic way to deal with stress or anxiety, however, having a number of ‘tools in the toolkit’ means that you can use different ones depending on what is happening.
Here are the ones that I am regularly pulling out currently!
1. Stop planning!
This may sound a little ironic as plans tend to help people feel more secure. However, as things are changing so quickly, plans that then become unworkable mean wasted effort in creating them and disappointment when you throw them away as they’re no longer relevant. A compromise may be to dramatically reduce your planning horizon – mine is about 2 hours currently!
But if you need some sort of plan, there is then tool number two …..
2. Focus on what you can control
Anxiety is a response to vulnerability so focus on things that you can be in control of. This may be your exercise, your diet, what you choose to read (or not!) I am choosing to use this time to finish off a number of online courses I never quite gave enough attention too, cross some books of the reading list, get fitter, and teach my kids to cook. The last one may be a little out of my control but up I am up for the challenge!
If not planning makes you more nervous, put some short-term plans in place for the things that will help you feel productive and deliver a sense of achievement, such as having an amazing garden over the whole of the summer, learning something new etc.
3. Cut down on your news intake
This is a personal bugbear of mine as most of the news broadcasts I have watched are all doom and gloom. The only positive things I read about – and there are many of them – are on social media. There are huge acts of kindness and generosity going on, but I have yet to see any of the major TV broadcasters focus on these.
Negative energy will mentally drain you, so my advice is to move away from it. Select the resource you wish to follow and use it selectively. I am choosing to watch Boris’s broadcasts only which gives me what I need to know. Hearing how many people have died in Italy, or that Prince Charles has tested positive is not something that will boost my resources.
4. Up the focus on gratitude
Gratitude boosts energy. When there may be many things that are genuine sources of concern, our energy goes to these and we ignore the positives that are still there. I am grateful that this is happening now as we head into summer and not in September. I am grateful that we are all still fit and healthy. I am grateful that we live in the countryside and so getting out and about in nature is easy. What would you have on your list?
And there is a little exercise you can do each day that really helps build positive energy – a bit like flexing a mental muscle that when it is strong, gives you a wonderful resilience. If you would like a copy of it, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and simply put Attitude of Gratitude in the subject field.
5. Boost your immune system
Worry/anxiety/stress, they all impact your immunity and will potentially make you more vulnerable to illness. So be proactive in doing things to boost it; eating healthily, being hydrated and exercising are all things that will positively boost your immune system.
6. Notice your thoughts, change your language
Your subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between reality and imagination. If you keep telling yourself, “I bet I am going to get ill,” your mind literally hears “I am going to get ill, ” and says, “Yep, I can do that for you!” My husband got into a habit of every night, climbing into bed and saying, “I bet I will wake up early again.” After hearing this a number of times, I suggested he take another approach, such as “I am going to sleep through the night tonight.”
After a rather sarcastic repetition of my suggested wording, he woke up with his alarm the next morning and turned to me and called me a witch! Maybe I am but I’m a witch who knows that your thoughts create things and your language is an expression of your thoughts. So, when you use them, create the thing you want!
Over the coming weeks I am going to be running webinars that expand on some of these things, and more. I am also able to help people 1-2-1 remotely. So if you would like more help, please get in touch and I can let you know when the webinars are happening: Caroline@carolinecavanagh.co.uk
In the meantime, please let me know in the comments box below, which of these tools are you going to put into your tool box first?