Take a Breath
I'm an innately anxious person. Maybe it's just something that's in my genes (thanks, Mom). Maybe I was just born this way, baby. As a kid, I can remember lying in bed in the middle of the night allowing thoughts of worry to ruminate in my head until I was completely consumed by panic. I obsessed over everything and often tried to predict every possible outcome of a situation before it happened. I allowed anxiety to hold me back from doing the things I really wanted to do. I skipped social events, held back from voicing my opinion in my professional life, and avoided risks at all costs.
I've missed out on a lot of moments of what could have been pure joy because I was too anxious to enjoy myself. Living in constant fear, especially when it begins to impact your daily responsibilities or your relationships, is exhausting and can be debilitating. After a panic attack so severe I convinced myself I was having a heart attack, I knew I had to make a change in order to manage my anxiety. I knew I couldn't necessarily control my thoughts or completely stop feelings of anxiety altogether, but I could control my behaviors and actions to help reduce some of the side effects.
I began to make a running list of things I did or used to help calm me down when I feel anxiety creeping in. I ended up finding over 50 activities and actions and decided I would practice the ones I felt had the biggest impact each day. I've found the morning is when I typically feel the most anxious, so I wanted to try to I pick a few practices from this list to try each morning. I've identified four rituals that I find to be the most feasible and most effective in the reduction of my anxiety. When I put these simple actions into practice (particularly first thing in the morning) I am noticeably less stressed, more focused, and best of all, less anxious throughout the day.