Life with anxiety isn’t a war that’s won or lost once. It’s an ongoing war with a battle every day. In general, I have the upper hand, and I strive to keep it that way by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising often. But sometimes, anxiety seems to get better of all of us.
And it’s okay to admit when it does.
Today has been one of those days for me.
I tried to start the day off right. After a breakfast of Cheerios and a cup of decaf, I got dressed for exercise and took the baby on a 45 minute walk while my husband worked on an assignment for a class he’s taking. Upon return, I did some basic housework and ate a healthy lunch, went shopping, watched some TV with Hubby, ran an errand, and took a nap with Jelly Bean.
Sounds like a good day, right?
Unfortunately, for all my hard work, I’m having one of my stomach muscle anxiety attacks
as I type this post on my phone. My tics are trying to drive me nuts, and I’ve got a new jaw-clacking one attempting to set in. So what gives?
Stop, Look, & List
Whenever I have one of these anxiety attacks, I have to stop and evaluate my life. Usually, it’s a combination of physical stress and just having too much on my plate that’s pushed me over the edge. While stress and anxiety aren’t the same things, they can sure team up and play dirty. I generally find that my anxiety skyrockets when I don’t keep a choke hold on the stressors in my life.
When asked how to keep a balance, I’ve advised people who struggle with anxiety to list out their stressors so they can see what’s pushing them past their breaking points. I’m going to do it for you now as an example:
Note: Everyone who’s signed up for my monthly newsletter will receive a free downloadable blank PDF copy of this chart in the next newsletter.
Don’t discount past stressors or problems that have already been solved. Believe it or not, you can be affected by stress after the event that caused it is already past. For example, I bet if you ask around, but you’ll be able to find a group of friends who always got sick with a mystery illness after
a school semester was finished. Being aware of stressors even after they pass is an important part of maintaining mental health.
Sometimes, these anxiety attacks are really hints that we need to slow down. After filling in your chart, sometimes it’s helpful to look at your current and future stressors to see if you need to eliminate some from the list.
I’m someone who tends to bite off more than I can chew, so sometimes I have to pull back and eliminate some of these stressors from my life. This can be difficult, but maintaining a healthy stress level is an important part of keeping good physical and mental health.
Striking a Balance
Sometimes, it’s impossible to eliminate the things that stress us most. These can be parts of life like jobs, school, or health problems. If it seems impossible to illuminate certain stressors, it’s important to take time to do some enjoyable activities that lower stress. These can be as simple as taking an extra walk, playing with your children, renting a funny movie, calling up a friend from church for coffee, spending time with God, or simply reading a good book. (See my posts about activities that lower stress here.)
One of the most important things to remember, is that each day begins anew. If today is stressful for you the way it was for me, tomorrow doesn’t have to be a repeat. Some days are just going to be more stressful than others. Once we accept that fact, life is going to be easier to handle.
Anxiety is not something we fix all into one scoop. Managing our stress to prevent anxiety attacks takes years of practice. On days like today, I must remember all the stressful days before, and just as the others did, I remind myself that this day, too, shall pass.
What do you do when anxiety seems to win? I’d love for you to share your questions and comments in the Comment Box below. You never know if your story might help someone else down the road. Also, if you haven’t subscribed yet to my monthly newsletter, you can do so and receive free extra resources in your inbox. Also, (hint, hint), there may or may not be a free ebook on life with Tourettes being released sometime in the future and available for free download to my subscribers sometime in the future. Just a heads up! As always, thanks for reading!
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