Anxiety–that ill-feeling you get when your mind is consumed by worry, dread, and fear. It’s when the words “Keep Calm and Carry On” written across posters and coffee mugs just seem like a beautiful sentiment–a statement of something that’s ideal but unrealistic.
Yes, not being anxious is about keeping calm and carrying on. So it is actually good advice. But how does one learn to keep calm and carry on?
Here are some strategies.
Six ways to keep calm and carry on
- Breathing: Sometimes the biggest thing we need to do is press the pause button and just breath. Take deep shallow breaths, counting to five with each inhale and exhale.
- Thinking: We can be anxious because we’re thinking and worrying about a lot of things. Our mind is swarming with worst-case scenarios or it feels overwhelmed. So the trick here is to refocus our thoughts on something else that requires just as much intense thinking. For example, try to recite the alphabet backward, sing song lyrics, or listen to a captivating audiobook.
- Exercising: Regular exercise is said to release endorphins, which can help counter feelings of stress and anxiety. So, try getting in some physical activity. Better yet, listen to music or an interesting audiobook while working out.
- Writing: Sometimes we just need to put all our worries on paper. Simply writing or journaling how we feel or the things that are concerning us can help lay them all out, appearing much less intimidating than they do when they’re all bottled up inside our head.
- Doing: If all the things we have to do is what’s at the center of our anxiety, getting those things done will naturally help ease our anxiety. Try making a to-do list. Tackle the biggest, most worrying things on your list first. Accept the fact that something might have to give (like the time spent on Youtube, Netflix, Pinterest, or social media).
- Praying: Whether it’s praying for peace, the strength to get things done, or simply faith that things will work out in the end, there’s a sense of peace that comes when we let our worries go and lift them up to God in prayer.