In theory, I am the worst person to teach other people how to chill because I tend to be a very anxious person, but in reality I'm actually the most perfect person because I've been there and I know what really works and what doesn't.
I've had anxiety ever since I can remember. In elementary school we had to do “STAR” testing (standardized tests in every major subject that lasted a week long and measured how well the school was doing as a whole) every year. I would get so stressed about getting high scores on the tests (that didn’t even count towards my grades mind you) that my mom would have to take me out of school for a whole day to go to the mall so I could decompress. I was only seven and I already needed to chill the F out!
After living with anxiety for almost 22 years now I've come across some life hacks that really do help in a moment of worry and I share them in hopes of sparking some sort of enlightenment today!
Some are big and profound while some are simple yet effective, but the message is this:
Find relief in the meantime until it all works itself out. Because it always does. Twee it
Procrastinate the Worry Until it Goes Away
We all love procrastinating so this is a great one if you're struggling to let go of a worry. This is the healthy kind of procrastination.
I learned this in a yoga class when the teacher was instructing us to leave the past and future out of mind and just stay present in the now. (Why is that so hard anyway?) She said something along the lines of “This hour is for you. Leave your worries outside of this class. They will still be there later if you wish to engage in them then…” with the “…which you probably won’t want to.” part already implied.
It really is a feeling of relief to think “Well, there’s not much I can do about this situation right now, so I’ll just worry about it later.” and usually by the time later rolls around you have either forgotten about your worry or it has resolved itself, rendering it obsolete.
The best thing to do is to put it off and take a nap instead. Napping helps reset your vibration and can potentially stop the anxiety in it's tracks before it gets worse. Sleep is like the reset button on your emotions (assuming you don't try to wake up right where you left off).
Remember that life is too short to worry
The other day I was at the grocery store shopping for some pasta sauce ingredients my mom had asked me to get for dinner. One of the ingredients was chopped garlic, not just any old garlic, but the chopped kind that comes all ready to go.
When I asked her why it had to be chopped garlic she simply stated this...
Mind mind was blow.
I still haven't stopped thinking about what she said. If life is too short to chop garlic, (in her opinion since that obviously isn’t enjoyable for her) then life is apparently too short for a lot of things! Including worry.
Life is too short to work at a job that you hate. Life is too short to always explain yourself to others. Life is definitely too short to waste your precious time worrying about stupid stuff.
I'd love to hear what uninspiring habits you think life is too short for on twitter! Tweet me @KelseyAida with the hashtag #LifesTooShort. Let's start a conversation that matters.
#LifesTooShort Tweet It
But you also have to be careful with the whole “life is too short” mentality. Especially if you are prone to anxiety because the thought of life being too short can also cause major anxiety!
Talk about frustrating! If you take it too far try this quote. It seems to calm me if I get all anxious about not having enough time.
Sigh... Doesn't that feel better?
Read A Course In Miracles
A Course In Miracles is exactly what it says: a course in miracles.
It’s essentially a guide for inner peace and it does not disappoint. If you’re anxiety prone you NEED this book. It will not only blow your mind about a million times, but it will instantly calm you with its comforting message.
This is the book that spiritual teachers like Dr. Wayne Dyer, Gabrielle Bernstein, Marianne Williamson, and (one of my favorite up and coming teachers) Lyna Jones practice and teach from. It will surely change your life.
With that being said, it is not a light read. It requires total focus while reading it. The wording is very formal and authoritative so sometimes it gets a little tricky to follow, but it is well worth the effort.
Reading A Course In Miracles in bed at night helps me relax me so I can sleep, especially if I’m really stressed about something. It always brings me back to the truth which is this…
Love is the only thing that is real. Everything else (cough cough fear) is simply an illusion of the ego. Tweet it
Put things into perspective
My little sister (a college student) recently had an epiphany about life while stressed over having to write a bunch of essays and work and whatever else she was stressed about.
She stormed into the house after one of “those days” and said, ”There are trillions of stars in the Universe and I’m worried about my freakin’ essay. An essay! THERE ARE STARS!” #perspective
In case that seems confusing or irrelevant, what she really meant when she realized there were stars was, “How can I be so stressed about something so insignificant in the grand scheme of life when there is so much beauty all around me?!”
Now, whenever one of us gets stressed we remind each other, “Don’t forget the stars!” aka “Put it in perspective”.
When I have long breaks at work (I do hair) I like to visit the local Mediation Gardens because there’s this one spot with a killer view of the ocean. And as soon as I step up there and whiteness the big, huge, giant ocean in all of it’s magnificent glory my worries seem so small in comparison.
I recommend everyone find a spot like this.
Even if you can’t see the stars or visit the ocean where you live, there has to be a place that can have this same effect on you. Find it and visit it often to stay centered.
Breath really deeply
When we get stressed what’s the first thing to always go? The breath. We literally stop breathing!
Breathing is everything. It is the very life force that allows us to live! If you’re not breathing you’re probably struggling through life (or you're obviously dead).
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to incorporate more (conscious) breathing into our daily lives so we can chill the F out! Two sure fire ways to incorporate more breathing into your life are to practice mediation and yoga, but if that's too much literally just sit and breathe.
As soon as you start to feel a worry or anxiety come to mind take 10 long, deep breaths.
Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth at first. Like a sigh. Then breathe in and out only through the nose.
Try to make your exhales even longer than your inhales because this will cue your central nervous system to relax. Even after one or three breaths you’ll start to feel a noticeable difference, but keep going for ten and you'll be golden!
An easy place to find time to breathe is in the car. This is especially great while you're stuck in traffic (so you don't kill anybody). Just turn off the music and try to breath deeply the whole way to or from work. It’s that simple.
Cry like there's no tomorrow
Most of the the other tips in this article are great for when stress is in the beginning or middle stages, before it gets a lot of momentum. But once you've gone past the point of no return you're definitely not gonna want to go to yoga or simply "worry about it later".
So when all else fails the best thing to do is to cry it all out.
Yup. Just cry your little heart out until you find relief, or better yet, until you fall asleep!
Works like a charm every time. It literally releases so much stress from the body I cannot recommend it enough. Don't be too proud or manly to cry either. Just find a private place and start crying. You might need a sad song or movie to get you going at first, but once you've started just roll with it so you can finally feel better and chill the F out.
Basically, if you have anxiety it’s because you're a control freak who doesn't trust the Universe and you only rely on yourself. #guiltyascharged This is a surefire sign that you need to chill the F out and start trusting the Universe for once in your life! Obviously only trusting yourself got you this far so maybe it's time to try something new. Next time you find yourself on the brink of spiraling into a worry tornado, instead of popping a chill pill, try one of these strategies and see how it goes.