By Maya Nahra
It’s the fear that things won’t work out like you’d hoped they will. It’s the panic you get when plans change. Or when anything changes. That’s anxiety.
It’s the wired exhaustion that comes from an addiction to busy-ness.
It fuels the perfectionism in your projects and tasks.
It’s everyday anxiety, that can distract us from the magic of the present moment. In our society, this type of stress has become a habit. One that I witness wreak havoc on progress towards a happier and healthier life in my clients, friends, family and even myself.
Here are the mindset hacks I have used to diffuse everyday anxiety and restore peace:
Find the path of least resistance.
I consider this to be the one most sacred rule of which I live my life. Life wasn’t meant to be hard. It’s a playground to create what we want and should allow us to experience massive amounts of joy and peace.
Peace isn’t something you find one day and never struggle to hold onto.
Should you find you have a task to complete or a new goal to achieve, find the path of least resistance. If one way of achieving it is met with massive resistance, stop, and be open to another way, one that feels better to you. This one practice alone can be instantly calming.
Train your muscles for relaxation.
Systematic muscle relaxation training is a strategy used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to reduce anxiety.
You can do this on your own – very simply – by choosing a specific muscle, or set of muscles, (such as your upper legs, abdomen or neck muscles) and purposefully tensing them for seven seconds followed by purposeful relaxation of them for fifteen seconds.
Online guided meditations with muscle relaxation are a great tool for this.
Schedule ‘worry time.’
Scheduling in ‘worry time’ is a classic intervention in CBT used to help you gain control over anxiety and worry.
Here’s how it works:
Find a quiet space all to yourself. Set a timer, for no longer than 45 minutes (less is better) to journal and think rationally about the anxiety-producing thoughts. Two extremely helpful questions I use with clients in my practice are:
How can I see this differently?
How can I feel better about this?
After your timer goes off, ‘worry time’ is over. End your session with a meditation or muscle relaxation. When fear, worry or anxiety creeps in – outside of ‘worry time’, try to ‘save it’ for your next scheduled session.
Don’t get caught in the fear storm.
Fear storms: when your deepest worries come to life.
Fear is all-encompassing. Anxiety takes over. You create problems that aren’t really there. You find new levels of pain, overwhelm and frustration to exist in.
I’ve learned there is a quiet and calm eye to the storm, waiting for us all along. You can find this place by recognizing when in your thoughts are spiralling out of control and attempting to loosen your grip on those thought patterns. Whether it’s through finding a positive distraction, reciting affirmations or by recognizing that you cannot solve the problem in this very moment – consciously pulling yourself out of the storm is often the fastest way to calm your nerves.
Peace isn’t something you find one day and never struggle to hold onto. It is every day work and it is challenging. The good news? We are all capable and deserving of it.
Cheers to finding your peace!