I don't think I'm alone in saying 2016 gave most people a bit of anxiety. From the presidential election (and everything it entailed) to worries about the economy and global warming, it's no wonder people are looking forward to pressing "Reset" in 2017. If that sounds like you, you'd probably benefit from New Year's resolutions to make if you want to be less anxious. Which, if I'm being honest, sounds like a lot of people right now.
Of course, it goes without saying that if you suffer from a diagnosed anxiety disorder, you should consult with your doctor immediately. But if you experience anxiety that comes from life's ups and downs, there are ways you can actively tweak your thinking so that you spend less time worrying and more time living. The best part? Everyone can master these resolutions, because they rely only on your mind. You don't have to buy any high-tech device or go anywhere exotic — you just need to go into 2017 with an open mind and try to live out these resolutions with intention.
Ready to find out how to make your days far less worrisome? Read on and make a commitment to consistently practice these resolutions for fighting anxiety.
1. Focus On What You Can Fix
Often when people are freaking out about something, they are looking at it in big, broad strokes — stressing about the things they may not be able to fix for a while. But there are always plenty of little things you can do to improve your situation or lessen your worries. So the next time you start worrying about what you can't do, flip the script and make a mental list of what you can.
2. Talk About Your Troubles
Getting your worries off your chest is extremely therapeutic, as is talking to a loved one. Combine the two, and it would be practically impossible not to come out of the situation feeling like a huge weight has been lifted from you shoulders. Even if you feel anxious about reaching out, the odds are good that a quick vent sesh with your bestie will make you forget what was vexing you in the first place.
3. Express Your Gratitude More
Pscyhologists have found that people who express their gratitude more and find little things to be thankful for on a daily basis reap numerous mental benefits — among them lowered anxiety and a general sense of contentment. Sounds like a pretty solid reason to say thank you more, eh? Make 2017 the Year of Gratitude.
4. Get Busy
Here's the deal: any kind of physical activity will release endorphins, which will help flood your body with a sense of calm. Whether you choose to stave off your anxiety with a set of jumping jacks or by hopping in the sack is up to you.
5. Question Your Thoughts
When you start to feel your thoughts head along an anxiety-filled trajectory, force yourself to pause and question the panic. Is anyone dying? Is this a legitimate disaster? Are you hurt? Is anyone else hurt? If the answer to these questions is no, remind yourself the worry you are feeling is unrealistic.
6. Prepare For Different Outcomes
Think about the things that often trigger your anxiety. Are they based on the unknown? Not knowing what lies ahead or how you will be able to handle it can definitely create stress. So start with what you do know — plan for as many possibilities as you can in any given situation, and you'll have more confidence in your ability to handle whatever comes your way.
7. Try Meditation
If you are prone to anxiety and haven't tried meditation, get on it, girl. On the real — The Huffington Post noted that meditation offers so many benefits to your mental well-being. For starters, it reduces stress. And I think everyone can agree that's huge for anxiety sufferers. It also increases happiness and acceptance so, seriously, what are you waiting for?
8. Smell Something Relaxing
Here's a super-interesting fact out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison: people with anxiety can actually experience a heightened sense of smell and, as such, can sniff out things calmer people might miss. What's great about this is that it means you can really reap the benefits of aromatherapy. A few stress-busting oils to give a try? Sandalwood, German chamomile, basil, and anise.
9. Pick A Positive Visualization Point
When you are preparing to give birth, there's a little trick the doctors tell you — visualize something positive and let that be your center. And let's be real, childbirth is a moment riddled with anxiety. Very Well noted that this practice is called "guided imagery," and it is believed to offer significant stress reduction benefits.
10. Just Breathe
When The American Institute of Stress tells you there is one "super stress buster" that evokes a major relaxation response, you obviously want to know what that thing is and how you can get more of it in your life. Well, the latter is pretty simple, since the answer is breathing. By practicing abdominal breathing for 20 to 30 minutes each day, you can greatly reduce your anxiety levels. Who knew?