3 must-have journal exercises for anxiety

3 must-have journal exercises for anxiety

Dealing with anxiety can feel extremely overwhelming. When an anxious thought pops into our head, it can be difficult to know how to get rid of it. But most of the time, the answer is much simpler than we may think. In fact, it can often be found at the end of your pencilThat’s right – I’m talking about journaling!

Journaling is such an amazing (and speedy!) way of reducing anxiety and sorting out your thoughts. So in this post, I’m going to be showing you 3 fantastic journaling exercises that use cognitive behavioural therapy principles in order to help re-wire your brain and get you thinking differently about your anxious thoughts!

The exercises in this post will not only help you think about your anxiety differently, but they’ll also help you reduce any bad habits that are making your anxiety worse.

  Just want to let ya know: The information and tips on this website are from my personal experience with anxiety and are not a substitute for any type of medical, psychological or health advice. My goal is to empower people struggling with anxiety in non-traditional ways that they can do alongside professional help. 

There is always help out there, and you can find a mental health professional locally, through your doctor, or through an online directory like this one. This is a link to a great article with affordable therapy options and this is an affiliate link to a great online therapy option. If you are in a crisis, there’s a list of help hotlines here. You are not alone!!

Here are some common things that most of us do when we’re feeling anxious:

  • Sometimes we accept the anxiety we have and never dig further. This is harmful because then we don’t get to the root of our anxiety which will prevent us from being able to fix that fear
  • Sometimes we really believe our fears and give them much more power then they deserve
  • Sometimes we’ll do certain behaviours (such as avoiding certain situations), which will also cause us to feel more anxious because then these situations become much bigger and built up in our heads

 Disclaimer: products on this page may contain affiliate links. We only promote products that we think are super awesome and will provide value to you! You can read more about our terms here.

How journaling and writing down your thoughts will help you if you are experiencing anxiety

Journaling allows you to gain a different perspective towards your thoughts and fears.

This will allow you to escape from your little “anxiety bubble” and help you see the situation from a more logical point of view.

Let’s look at the first exercise, which covers the identify portion.

Identify:

The 5 Why’s Exercise

1. Write down the anxious thought, fear, or mental hold-back that is troubling you.

2. Ask yourself “why am I having this thought?” or “why do I feel this way?”. Does it remind you of a past stressful experience or trauma?

3. Based on your answer above, ask yourself why you feel that way now.

4. Ask yourself ‘why’ again 3 more times, each time trying to dig deeper into your thoughts and feelings.

5. Based on those answers, you should hopefully have an idea of what the root cause behind your fearful thought is.

Bonus questions:

Is this how I should feel about this now?

Can I reframe the way I think about this past event (i.e. stop blaming myself or others and just accept it for what it was)?

If/when I have this thought again, is there a better way I can reframe it?

How it works:

This exercise is helps you become more aware for your thoughts and fears. We often get so caught up in our anxious thoughts that we completely forget to ask “why?”. You might realize that this thought is caused by something untrue (maybe a misinformed fact or your interpreted someone’s behaviour in the wrong way) or something that poses a lot less risk than you thought.

Challenge:

Thought Dissection Exercise

This actually combines many different cognitive behavioural principles. It’s basically a one-stop exercise for challenging your anxious thoughts.

It’s called a “thought dissection” because the idea is to pick apart your thoughts (i.e. dissect them) to understand them better.

How it works:

As I said, it’s based on proven cognitive behavioural principles.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a form of therapy that helps you to challenge your thoughts and behaviours that perpetuate your anxiety cycle (if you want to learn more about how your anxiety cycle works, check out this post!)

If you can take a deeper look at your thoughts, and challenge the thoughts or behaviours that are irrational or unhelpful to you and causing you to feel more anxious, then you can start retraining your mind to think differently (that is, less anxiously).

How to do the Thought Dissection Exercise:

  1. Write down your fear/anxious thought.
  2. Try to identify if this is one of the common cognitive distortions.
  3. If this is a common cognitive distortion, try to un-distort this anxious thought.
  4. Write down a counter-statement to your original anxious thought/fear.
  5. Assess the likelihood of this fear actually happening.
  6. How could you lessen the impact if this fear actually happened?
  7. What are your strengths that would help you handle this fear?
  8. Write down a list of thoughts surrounding your fear that are allowed and not allowed. Try to determine which ones are healthy, rational thoughts vs. unhealthy irrational thoughts.

*Helpful tip on how to identify irrational thoughts*: If deep down you know that a though is not true/won’t happen, this is a pretty good indicator that it’s an irrational thought. Plus, an irrational thought is almost always accompanied by the phrase: “what if?”.

It can be nearly impossible to shake these irrational or anxious thoughts completely, which is why it’s crucial to just practice not listening to them and coming up with alternative thoughts and behaviours that will help you to be less anxious.

This is where the next two steps come in.

Override:

Created New Thoughts and Behaviours Exercise

This exercise is super simple.

For every bad/unhealthy thought or behaviour you have, try writing down a new and better thought or behaviour that you can start doing

It may seem very basic, but sometimes basic is just what you need!

How It Works:

This is going to help you override the thoughts and behaviours that perpetuate your anxiety cycle. You can use this for any and all of your anxious thoughts as well as your anxious behaviours.

And the ONE secret ingredient that so many people forget…

Practice!

Nothing changes overnight. You have to practice implementing these newer, better thoughts and behaviours until they become totally natural!

Overcoming anxiety is a skill. And just like any other skill, you have to practice the steps in order to master them.

As an engineering graduate, business owner, and anxiety-recoverer, I’ve had to develop a lot of new skills.

And every time, the process is the same: figure out what you need to do, learn how to do it, then PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.

It’s that simple! And honestly, it’s taken me SO far! And it doesn’t hurt to get the help of a professional too!

6 common destructive behaviours you need to stop now

6 common destructive behaviours you need to stop now

Dealing with anxiety on your own can be tough.

I know this from experience – I struggled with crippling anxiety for years. I hated my anxiety, and I hated that it got in the way of my life. 

But I didn’t know how to fix it.

We humans aren’t born with the innate knowledge about how to properly deal with anxiety, and we’re certainly not taught it in school either. So what do we do? Well, many of us (including my younger self) often develop certain behaviours in an attempt to lessen, avoid, or help us cope with our anxiety.

The problem is, most of the time the behaviours we develop just end up making our anxiety even worse. These are called destructive behaviours. And if you want to truly overcome your anxiety, you need to learn to recognize these destructive behaviours so you can cut them out of your life (or at least, reduce them).

In this post, I’m going to be explaining 6 common destructive behaviours that many of us with anxiety have.

  Just want to let ya know: The information and tips on this website are from my personal experience with anxiety and are not a substitute for any type of medical, psychological or health advice. My goal is to empower people struggling with anxiety in non-traditional ways that they can do alongside professional help. 

There is always help out there, and you can find a mental health professional locally, through your doctor, or through an online directory like this one. This is a link to a great article with affordable therapy options and this is an affiliate link to a great online therapy option. If you are in a crisis, there’s a list of help hotlines here. You are not alone!!

1) Avoiding anything that scares you

This is probably one of the most common destructive behaviours around. If we just avoid everything that *might* trigger our anxiety, then we’ll be safe and happy – right?

Not quite.

You can’t go through life trying to avoid everything that could hurt you. Think about it – there are so many possible triggers out there, and you have NO idea where they all are. Trying to avoid them 24/7 would be EXHAUSTING!

Even if you did know exactly where every trigger was, this still wouldn’t truly heal you. Your anxiety would still be there in the background – lurking, watching, waiting.

You must get used to the idea of risk and slowly teach yourself that doing the things you are afraid of isn’t actually as bad as you thought it would be.

2) Indulging in escapist behaviours

When the going gets tough, it may seem like a quick-fix solution to just hide away from the world for a while.

But quick fix solutions rarely work. Escaping reality as a way of managing your anxiety is no exception.

Now I’m not saying you can’t spend a couple hours on your couch watching Lord of the Rings and dreaming of running away to Rivendell. But the trouble comes when your escapist behaviours turn into unhealthy, long-lasting behaviours (such as overeating, sleeping for hours on end, or watching TV all day long).

You can’t escape your problems forever. Just like Frodo had to deal with the ring, so too must you deal with your anxious feelings. 

3) Refusing to get help

Whether it’s physically going to therapy or reading self-help books at home, it’s critical for those of us who struggle with anxiety to get the help we need for it. Remember, we’re not born with the knowledge of how to properly deal with anxiety. It’s so helpful to get an outer perspective (especially from someone who really knows how the mind works)

For many of us though, accepting help (or even just accepting the fact that we need help) is unthinkable. We think, “if I accept help, then I have to confront my anxiety, and this is something I can’t do”. 

I understand how difficult it is. I know how debilitating panic attacks are and how you probably don’t want to even TALK about anything RELATED to them. But to truly overcome your anxiety, you must acknowledge that there’s a problem, and you must be strong enough to ask for help.

4) Performing compulsive behaviours

Compulsive behaviours are things we do repeatedly because we feel compelled to do them. We often perform these behaviours in an attempt to get rid of our anxiety and to subdue our anxious thoughts. This is something more common to OCD, but it also can be a trait of anxiety too (with anxiety, they’re just not to the same extent as OCD).

Some examples of compulsive behaviours include:

  • Washing your hands excessively
  • Checking over and over to make sure you locked the door
  • Constantly checking in on loved ones
  • Finding ways to check that your friends still like you
  • Double checking your work TONS of times for mistakes

The thing is, while we may think that doing these actions will get rid of our anxiety (“if I just wash my hands ONE last time, I’ll be good from now on…”), they actually just add fuel to the flame. Why? Because they give your anxiety an immense amount of power

You can’t get rid of something by feeding it. You can’t defeat your anxiety by caving into its requests.

5) Letting your anxiety define you

I’ve mentioned this a lot, but the best mentality to have is one that knows that you CAN improve your mental health.

I used to think that because I had anxiety/OCD that it was ok if I gave into my compulsions or stayed home from events that made me anxious. I ended up using anxiety as an excuse to stay in my old behaviours and to avoid anything that made me uncomfortable.

liked my identity. I know that’s weird to say, but it made me feel different and I liked that. Even though it was horrible. I think it was a way for me to cope with it.

But it wasn’t really until I decided that I didn’t want to feel that way anymore – and that I wasn’t going to let myself be defined by my anxiety – that my anxiety finally went away.

6) Neglecting yourself and your life

When we go through difficult times, many of us may find that we begin to neglect certain aspects of our lives. Maybe we stop taking care of of appearance. Perhaps we isolate ourselves from our friends and family. Or maybe we stop putting effort into things we used to enjoy doing.

This is a dangerous because this is actually neglected some big factors of our overall wellness. You need to put effort into your physical health, your friendships and support system, and your hobbies to truly feel well. 

And take it from me, I know that when you feel mentally low that you don’t want to do ANYTHING. But even just doing one small thing for yourself, like cooking something healthy, going for a walk, reaching out to a friend will make a world of difference and drastically change your mental state. 

How to let go of things you can’t control to live anxiety-free

How to let go of things you can’t control to live anxiety-free

The world is big, our lives are complex, and the universe works in mysterious ways. What does that mean for us? It means that we can’t control everything. And guess what? That’s what makes life so exciting to live!

Not everyone will agree with this statement though. In fact, the idea that we can’t control everything is often one of the biggest sources of fear for many people – especially those of us with anxiety.

When we have anxiety, we tend to want to have complete control over everything about ourselves, our life, and the world around us. This, however, is an impossible feat – there are just WAY too many things that are beyond our control!

That’s why learning the art of letting go and surrendering control is a crucial step in your journey to overcoming your anxiety. So in this post, I’m going to be teaching you the three key steps that will help you accept, manage, and eventually even appreciate the unpredictability of life!

  Just want to let ya know: The information and tips on this website are from my personal experience with anxiety and are not a substitute for any type of medical, psychological or health advice. My goal is to empower people struggling with anxiety in non-traditional ways that they can do alongside professional help. 

There is always help out there, and you can find a mental health professional locally, through your doctor, or through an online directory like this one. This is a link to a great article with affordable therapy options and this is an affiliate link to a great online therapy option. If you are in a crisis, there’s a list of help hotlines here. You are not alone!!

Disclaimer: products on this page may contain affiliate links. We only promote products that we think are super awesome and will provide value to you! You can read more about our terms here.

Step 1 – Have faith in the world

The word “faith” may conjure up images of churches, worship, and higher powers – but this isn’t the type of faith I’m talking about here. Faith doesn’t necessarily mean religion, it just means believing in your heart that things will be okay.

When we have anxiety, we tend to believe that the WORST is going to happen ALL the time. We think that some HUGE, TERRIFYING disaster is always lurking right around the corner. This is just irrational thinking though.

And this is where having faith in the world comes in.

Okay, okay – I know what you’re probably thinking: “easier said than done!“. But before you go giving up so soon – don’t forget: we’ve got an All-Star team playing for us…

The entire Universe is on our side.

It’s true that bad things happen, but I promise you – bad things happening is not the norm.

So what is the norm of the world? 

The norm is regular, everyday life. It’s waking up in the morning and having a cup of coffee while watching the birds outside. Spending hours at a cute little cafe and being tempted into buying that huge slice of cake in the display case. Getting together with friends on a Friday night and gabbing all night long. 

If you spend your days constantly worrying that something “could happen” because the world is “unpredictable”, you’re going to miss all the beautiful moments that make life truly worth living

You’re right, the world is unpredictable, and something could happen. But worrying about it won’t change anything about the fact – it will just make you miserable.

Have faith. Trust me, the alternative is much worse. If you can’t accept the slight possibility of something going wrong, and you don’t believe that things will go right, you will suffer. 

Step 2 – Show gratitude

Showing gratitude is probably the closest thing we have to real life magic on this planet. It’s a simple practice that totally shifts your thinking from the bad to the good. It changes your perspective from “I don’t have…” to “I am so grateful that I have…”.

Magic, right?

When we have anxiety, we too often focus on our problems, the things we lack, and all the things that we *think* would make our life better. “If only I had this” or “if only I had that”. These “if-only’s” are very dangerous. They warp your mind into believing that you would be happy and anxiety-free only if you had complete control over every aspect of your life and only if you could mold your life into exactly what you want it to be.

But we’re not Michealangelo, and we can’t go sculpting our life into a perfect specimen. Why?

Because we don’t have control over everything.

There are factors completely beyond your control that may be preventing you from having absolutely everything you “want” in your life – whether it’s a new car, a new body, or a new personality trait.

And this is where gratitude comes in.

What gratitude really comes down to is accepting things that come to you that you have no control over. 

Accept your life the way it is.

It’s not perfect, but that’s okay, because you’d drive yourself  insane trying to force every piece of your life together into a picture-perfect puzzle (hint: your life isn’t a puzzle that you have to solve – it’s more like a bouquet of wild flowers that you have to just appreciate).

You can’t control everything in your life. Therefore, being grateful for and accepting what you have is really the only rational solution – it will allow you to live a contented, calm, anxiety-free life. 

Step 3 – Accept yourself

Self-acceptance means fully embracing every aspect of yourself – flaws, imperfections, and all. This may again sound like one of those things that’s easier said on paper than done in real life – but let me fill you in on a little secret as to why it’s actually VERY simple:

Because we are all human.

No human is completely perfect. By nature, humans make mistakes. We have weaknesses. This isn’t bad, this is just the way it is.

Remember: there are certain underlying factors that are just out of our control (like being human!). Only once you fully realize this will you be able to truly accept who you are. I mean, you can’t control that you’re human, can you?!

Keep in mind: there should be no conditions on our self-acceptance.

Many of us think that we would accept ourselves “if [fill in something here]”. This isn’t how it works though.

Once one area of our life gets “fulfilled”, we’ll just look for something else that needs “fulfilling”. And this creates a vicious cycle of never being satisfied and therefore NEVER fully accepting ourselves.

Working on improving yourself is a worthy goal, HOWEVER, you need to be realistic and realize that working on yourself will never completely erase all your flaws (because that would mean you’d no longer be a human – now go ahead and try to figure that one out!). 

Okay, now that you’re finished the article, if I were to say to you “you can’t control everything in you life!”, what would you think? Would it still be an anxiety-inducing statement?

It’s one thing to read a blog post about it, but it’s a whole other thing to actually practice training your mind into thinking differently. That’s why I’ve created my Anxiety handbook and all of my other free self-care resources (you can sign up to get them all at the bottom of this post!)

Final thoughts and reminders

 It is impossible to control everything that happens in our lives or the world around us

Therefore, we need to reframe how we think about uncertainty by letting go of expectations and yearning

In order to do this, you must learn to have faith in the world, show gratitude, and accept yourself

If you want to learn more about how to let go of things in your life, you can sign up for my vault of free journal exercises and resources!

4 ways your physical health can heal your mind

4 ways your physical health can heal your mind

Your physical health can be slightly complicated…but also entirely simple.

Let me explain:

It’s complicated because there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to “attaining good physical health”. We’re all completely different! There are SO many external factors that play a role in  determining our physical health – genetics, hormones, environment, gender, age, etc etc. 

But I’d like to put the confusing world of genetics and hormones aside for a minute. Because no matter what the external factors may be, there are still some totally universal and totally effective ways of making sure your physical health is in the BEST condition possible.

Now this is where it gets nice and simple! In fact, it’s so simple that a lot of people tend to overlook it. This is such a shame too, because your physical health is what’s really going to make or break your mental health.

So in this post, I’ll be exploring the four universal, effective, and super crucial ways to take care of your physical body in order to strengthen and heal your mind.

So let’s get physical!

 

  Just want to let ya know: The information and tips on this website are from my personal experience with anxiety and are not a substitute for any type of medical, psychological or health advice. My goal is to empower people struggling with anxiety in non-traditional ways that they can do alongside professional help. 

There is always help out there, and you can find a mental health professional locally, through your doctor, or through an online directory like this one. This is a link to a great article with affordable therapy options and this is an affiliate link to a great online therapy option. If you are in a crisis, there’s a list of help hotlines here. You are not alone!!

1) Exercise (even a little bit!) every single day

Exercise is such a quick way of boosting your mood and alleviating anxiety. I mean, know they say “quick-fix” solutions never work, but honestly, this one does.

One study even found that exercise may be just as effective as taking anti-anxiety medication! It’s all thanks to those magic little hormones we call endorphins. The best part? It doesn’t matter what exercise you do – it’s allll good, and it allll helps.

PLUS, because exercise makes you feel so good, it also has the added benefit of giving you a clearer and more positive outlook on life. This is especially helpful when you’re dealing with a particularly stressful situation (which let’s be honest, we all are every now and then!).

So if you feel like you’re in a rut, get moving!

It can be as simple as doing 5 minutes of walking/running per day, or squeezing in a 15 minute yoga session in the morning. And hey, if that’s not for you, try jamming out to some music in your room (I’ve found this one to be particularly effective!).

2) Eat foods that are good for your body and your brain

There always seems to be a heated debate online about what the “proper” diet is (is it paleo, keto, or the south beach diet? Who knows!). But when it comes to your mental health, it’s really not that complicated.

In reality, all you have to do is eat a diet high in fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. Foods like these are jam-packed with all the essential nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy, happy, and anxiety-free.

Seriously, it’s that simple!

The connection between nutrients in foods and anxiety has only recently been studied by scientists, but it’s gaining more and more popularity as new discoveries emerge.

And the simple truth is: eat a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, some healthy fats, and some grains. Here’s my article on the best nutrients for anxiety and where to get them!

It can be hard to eat healthy when you’re feeling mentally low and you don’t feel like doing much of anything, but if you can make some healthy switches (like olive oil instead of margarine) and find ways to just add and snack on some healthy fruits and veggies – you will quickly notice that you’ll be feeling more energized and more mentally resilient!

3) Avoid these anxiety-inducing foods (as much as is reasonable)

Every yin comes with its yang. Just like there are foods that decrease anxiety, there are also foods that increase anxiety – and these are the ones that you’re going to want to look out for.

Here are the top offenders:

Sugar, refined grains, and other processed foods: they may be downright scrumptious, but these foods also have a nasty little habit of causing energy spikes and crashes. This can then lead you to feel more anxious, irritable, jittery, fatigued, and just downright not great in general.

Alcohol: when you drink alcohol, you’re actually slowing down the activity of your brain and nervous system. While this can feel nice at the time, it often leaves you feeling quite sluggish afterwards (hence the “hangover blues”).

Caffeine: caffeine is the opposite of alcohol – it doesn’t slow you down, it speeds you up! In fact, it actually mimics the physical symptoms of anxiety. Yikes! If you have anxiety, I suggest switching your morning coffee for a decaf.

Remember: moderation is key

You are always allowed – and encouraged – to treat yourself every once and awhile. It’s totally up to you to gauge how much is too much and how much is juuuuust right.

4) Take a minute to really relax

Taking a break and allowing you body and mind to unwind is another key in combatting anxiety.

I know, I know – saying that we have to “relax” in order to reduce anxiety may sound a bit on the obvious side, but I’m only saying it because it’s WAY too often forgotten about. In the ultra hectic, uber fast-paced world we live in, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle mentality and forget to just take a breather (literally!).

There are a lot of different techniques that can help you relax – whether it’s doing yoga, meditating, going for a walk, reading a book, having a tea – the list goes on and on.

When you begin taking care of your physical body, you’ll begin the process of healing your mind at the exact same time!

So if you’re unsure where to START your journey on overcoming your anxiety, taking care of your physical body should be at the TOP of your list. 

Final thoughts and reminders

Your physical health is the most important element of your mental health – you cannot have a healthy mind without first having a healthy body

Taking proper care of your body is much simpler than most people think – you just have to do 4 things: exercise, eat healthy foods, limit the “anxiety foods”, and incorporate stress reduction practices.

For more help and guidance (+ your very own healthy habit tracking worksheets), sign up below for all of my free worksheets!

the #1 secret that helped me overcome my anxiety

the #1 secret that helped me overcome my anxiety

I suffered from anxiety for years. I’ve dealt with social anxiety, panic attacks, specific fears, generalized anxiety, and even OCD – basically, I’m very experienced in the world of anxiety (strange thing to brag about, right?).

And the worst part about dealing with all of these different forms of anxiety was feeling like I was stuck that way forever – feeling like I would just always be “an anxious person”.

It wasn’t until I began immersing myself into the world of mental health, researching all things anxiety, and undergoing LOADS of personal growth that I finally discovered the secret to beating my anxiety – the key that would allow me to live my life free of fear and to the FULLEST extent possible!

  Just want to let ya know: The information and tips on this website are from my personal experience with anxiety and are not a substitute for any type of medical, psychological or health advice. My goal is to empower people struggling with anxiety in non-traditional ways that they can do alongside professional help. 

There is always help out there, and you can find a mental health professional locally, through your doctor, or through an online directory like this one. This is a link to a great article with affordable therapy options and this is an affiliate link to a great online therapy option. If you are in a crisis, there’s a list of help hotlines here. You are not alone!!

Okay, enough with all this build up – it’s time to fill you in on what this big secret is!

Are you ready? Here it is: I realized that I had the power to overcome my anxiety.

Which means…

YOU have the power to overcome YOUR anxiety.

So why is this so important? Because it shows us the importance of our mindset.

The main reason I spent so many years not trying to overcome my anxiety was because I thought I was stuck that way – that I was at the mercy of my brain chemistry and that there was nothing I could do about it. I thought I was just one of the unlucky ones. In other words, I had a victim mindset. I was letting myself be defeated by my anxiety. In fact, during those years you could probably hear me saying one of the most destructive sentences ever on a regular basis: “this is just how I am”. I was giving myself absolutely NO POWER over my mental health! And therefore, NO CHANCE of overcoming my anxiety! If you totally relate to this, then let me fill you in on another little secret:

You are not stuck with anxiety

Your brain can change.

This is all thanks to a little thing called neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity means that your brain has the ability to literally change its physical structure, which can then affect many (MANY) other areas in your life – often for the better!

When you do things that “work” your brain (such as meditating, doing aerobic activity, trying new things, and even thinking in a different way), you’ll actually modify the neural pathways in your brain. This means that you can change the way your brain thinks and operates.

It also means that you can change the activity in specific brain regions – such as those responsible for anxiety, fear, anger, and much more! For example, it’s been found that people who express gratitude regularly (that is, people who switch from focusing on the negative to focusing on the positive) have more activity in their brain’s “medial prefrontal cortex”, the region responsible for learning and decision making.

You need to get it into your head that you CAN overcome your anxiety – because you CAN! It is totally within your (and your brain’s!) power.

Now by saying these things, I don’t want to contribute to a common stigma that “you just have to think positively” and that “you just need to be mentally stronger and stop worrying”. THAT IS NOT WHAT I AM SAYING!

It is very difficult living with a mental illness (and even more difficult if you have tough circumstances to deal with), which is why professional help is always a good option and understanding that mental health issues are a big deal. And for many people, with tough circumstances (especially tough financial situations), it is not always so easy to get the necessary help.

BUT there is ALWAYS hope!

You just have to believe that things will get better (and then start doing things that will help you).

It might take time. It might take lots of therapy. Or it will take lots of self help. Or it might just take adjusting your diet and exercising more. Or it might take medication. Or it will take a combination of all of those things.

Everyone is different, but there is hope for everyone.

 

The importance of developing the right mindset

No one has ever accomplished anything great or overcome anything difficult without a strong mindset that they can do it. 

When you have a strong mindset, it doesn’t matter if you’re still feeling anxious or you still have low energy – you WILL be able to overcome your obstacles.

Why? because once you change your mindset, you’ll already have done half the battle – that is, you’ll have STARTED the process of healing. And starting is the hardest part of the entire process (as anyone who’s ever written an essay will be very familiar with!). 

Once you change your mindset, you’ll notice that everything else begins falling into place. Once you have the motivation to change,  the changes will follow naturally! 

Some of the most important changes you can make include:

  1. Taking care of your physical health
  2. Reducing stress in your life and doing more of what makes you happy
  3. Re-training your brain to think differently about fear, which you can start by doing these journal exercises.
  4. Facing your fears (slowly and in a controlled way)
  5. And practising!

Practicing? Say what?

That’s right! Practice is one of the most CRUCIAL components in overcoming your anxiety.

Overcoming and managing anxiety is a skill like any other.

After you identify what you need to work on, you need to then practice it every day (until it becomes totally natural). If you do this, you CAN and you WILL accomplish anything! So the only question is: where do you begin?! Here are the 5 first steps you need to take:

  1. Understand the root causes of your anxieties and fears
  2. Identify your specific thought patterns that fuel your anxieties and fears
  3. Determine what anxiety-perpetuating behaviours you have that are making your anxieties and fears even worse
  4. Challenge your negative thoughts and behaviours
  5. Retrain your mind to develop new, healthier thoughts and behaviours

Final thoughts and reminders

You completely have the power to overcome your anxiety. It’s all about your mindset.

If you take the right steps, it CAN and WILL happen. (One of those steps is to go get some professional help. I know it might be scary and it might cost a bit of money, but it’s the best way to get personalized help. And if you commit to self-care and practicing new habits, you can start to feel better even quicker!)

I KNOW you can do it!

If you want an extra little free resource, you can sign up for my self-care sheets that I continuously update and add to! 

3 life-changing realizations about anxiety and fear

3 life-changing realizations about anxiety and fear

Those of us who live with anxiety tend to have a certain way of thinking about anxiety. More often than not, this way of thinking tends to be slightly on the flawed side.

Don’t worry though – because this just means that you’ve got some good news coming to you! That is: once you come to know the truth about anxiety, you’ll begin thinking about fear a whole lot differently (and in a much healthier way!).

So get ready to open your mind, expand your way of thinking, and quite possibly change your life – because in this post, I’m going to be telling you THREE THINGS that will completely and totally change the way you think about anxiety and fear.

Disclaimer: products on this page may contain affiliate links. We only promote products that we think are super awesome and will provide value to you! You can read more about our terms here.

  Just want to let ya know: The information and tips on this website are from my personal experience with anxiety and are not a substitute for any type of medical, psychological or health advice. My goal is to empower people struggling with anxiety in non-traditional ways that they can do alongside professional help. 

There is always help out there, and you can find a mental health professional locally, through your doctor, or through an online directory like this one. This is a link to a great article with affordable therapy options and this is an affiliate link to a great online therapy option. If you are in a crisis, there’s a list of help hotlines here. You are not alone!!

Life-changing realization #1 – Anxiety is meant to protect us

First things first – anxiety is completely natural. In fact, in its purest form, anxiety is actually a good thing. 

Why? Because it’s built to protect us. Let’s think about early human history for a minute – are you picturing that caveman yet? Good!

We humans have survived in the wild for millions of years. During this time, we encountered many life-threatening situations (lions and tigers and bears and the like).

In order to survive these life-threatening situations, we had to develop a defence mechanism that would give us an immediate physical response in the face of danger. 

And we did.

We developed a response that increased our adrenaline, increased our blood pressure, and increased our heart rate when confronted with a threat. Does this sound familiar to you? That’s because these are all trademark symptoms of anxiety.

And it was thanks to this anxiety that our ancestors were able to survive back in the day.

Picture, for example, a cavewoman going about her business gathering berries. All of a sudden, she spots a grizzly bear in front of her.

Right away, her anxiety response is triggered. Her adrenaline starts pumping, her blood pressure ramps up, and her heart feels like it’s beating out of her chest.

Within milliseconds, her whole body kicks into the knowledge that she must make a decision – either fight the bear, or run away (this is why anxiety is also called the “fight or flight” response).

After she makes and carries out her decision (let’s say she chooses to run away), the physical symptoms will disappear, she’ll feel a huge sense of release, and she’ll go back to her normal business.

Back when we were actually confronted with highly dangerous situations on the regular, anxiety was a hugely helpful thing.

The problem arises, however, when we mistake completely harmless things as life-threatening. This brings me to the second life-changing realization.

Life-changing realization #2 – PERCEIVED threats are not REAL threats

In the modern world we live in, we don’t often find ourselves face-to-face with lions and tigers and bears much anymore. There are of course still highly dangerous situations in life, but the point is: they’re not nearly as common as they used to be. 

So why is our anxiety response still so often triggered? Well, it all comes down to what we perceive as threatening.

The problem with modern-day anxiety is that we’re now perceiving normal, not-so-dangerous situations in life as completely life threatening.

Why? Because our brain isn’t looking at the actual situation as a threat, it’s looking at the negative thought patterns we have surrounding those situations as threats. 

Let’s look at an example:

You were raised by parents who only gave you praise when you did something outstanding. Later in life, you feel anxious at school, at your job, and in many areas of your life.

In this case, the negative thought pattern your brain has developed is: “I am only worthy of love if I am excelling at something”.

Therefore, the perceived threat that causes you anxiety is: not being great at everything you do.

But here’s the thing: not being great at everything you do ISN’T A REAL THREAT. Your mind is just tricking you into believing that it is – it’s tricking you into believing that something terrible will happen if you’re not great at everything you do.

And this brings me to the third and final life-changing realization.

Life-changing realization #3 – The risk isn’t actually that big of a deal

Everything in life comes with some amount of risk. There’s always a chance – no matter how miniscule – of something going wrong in a given situation.

But when you’re anxious, you start believing that the risk is: (1) WAY too high and (2) going to be the WORST thing ever.

Let’s go back to the previous example:

You feel anxious at school, at your job, and in many areas of your life because you’re worried about not being great at everything you do

In your mind, the risk is that something terrible will happen if you’re not great at everything you do. 

Now first of all – you’re probably a lot better than you think, so the outcome you’re so afraid of happening probably won’t even come true.

But let’s say it does come true. What’s the worst that will happen? Sure, it may suck for a little while, but you’ll survive. You’ll learn from it and move on (and be stronger because of it!).