Mental Health Awareness: 5 ways to help ease your anxiety
No matter how well organised and conscientious you are, there can come a time when the stresses of a busy life become almost too much to handle.
When this happens, it can easily lead to mental gridlock, where the overwhelming pressure causes you to freeze in a state of near-panic. Not only is this incredibly exhausting and unhealthy, it will also make you less productive and risks sucking you into a vicious cycle of getting less and less done while worrying about it more and more.
How can we help ourselves, when we find ourselves in this position? Here are a few approaches and ideas that can be very helpful in helping us get a better handle on our stress:
When you feel the levels of stress start to rise in the face of all that you need to cope with, using a little mindfulness can be a great help. Bring yourself back into the moment by concentrating on a nearby object, such as a coffee cup on your desk. Mentally describe it to yourself, consider its shape and colour, and even think about what went into designing and manufacturing it. This will help to bring you back to earth, and dampen the upward spiral of your stress levels.
Restore Some Order
The old saying has it that a tidy desk shows a tidy mind, and while this may seem like a cliche, it's very true that there can be an overlap between your surroundings and your mental state. When things seem overwhelming, tidying up the physical clutter around you can have a positive and calming effect. It not only begins to restore a sense of order, but the very fact that you're taking action can make you feel you're back in control rather than being buffeted around by stress and mental confusion.
Review Your To-Do List
In theory, a to-do list is very helpful with improving productivity, adding organisation and structure to your tasks. It can however also prove counterproductive at times. If your list becomes a parking place for tasks you feel you can put off, it can quickly expand out of control - and then the mere fact of its existence becomes a powerful source of anxiety and stress. Cut it back down to size by ruthlessly culling items which are either optional or “nice-to-haves” but not priority items or as important. If nothing else, prioritise your tasks by making separate urgent and "in an ideal world" lists so that your key priority items listed are fewer and less intimidating.
Tackle a Task or Two
Taking this a step further, making even a token amount of inroads into your to-do list can begin to banish the mental paralysis. Rather than being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of your tasks, simply pick one job which can be easily accomplished and then crossed off your list. Even if this single action doesn't make much difference in the scheme of things, it's important to take that first step which will make the following ones easier. Also, the simple fact that you're being proactive will give you a little momentum and sense of perspective, while focusing your mind on something other than your stressful state.
Give Yourself Space
Lastly, no matter how urgent your deadlines or how pressing the demands on you, if you're being driven into a state of panic, you're not going to get anything worthwhile done. It can be far more productive to take yourself away from your situation and spend some time doing something you love, rather than worrying fruitlessly or forcing yourself to work for the sake of it. Switching mental modes like this can also help remove the blockage in your thought processes, breaking the cycle of inaction, stress and anxiety
Everyone feels burdened by life's pressures from time to time, whether professional or personal however, there's no need to let the stresses freeze you into inaction. Taking these few steps will begin to break your mental gridlock, and while this won't make your life any less busy, it'll help you deal with stress far more productively.