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3 Ways to Deal with Anxiety When You're not an Anxious Person

There are big changes happening in my home at the moment, and I'll be able to fill you in on them in the next few weeks.  They're exciting, challenging and above all, affect us as a whole family.  So home is a bubbling cauldron of anxiety.  We're all tiptoeing around one another and just waiting for the next minor incident that starts World War III.

I'm not a natural worrier, it takes a lot to push me into a state of anxiety - the same can't be said about at least one of my children.

Living in a state of anxiety is never a pleasant one, but when your children are feeling stressed too, it's an awful place to be.  I've been thinking long and hard how to deal with that sickening lump of lead in the pit of your stomach that represents stress, and I've come up with three ways to try and cope a little better.  I'm planning on working through these with the kids, too, as they're not exclusive to adults.

Write it down.
I've found it really therapeutic to write down all the things that are stressing me out.  It's amazing when you do this how very few of them are actually that stressful at all.  It's normally a culmination of all those little things that leave you feeling overwhelmed.

As a little exercise for my daughter, who's struggling to sleep at the moment (well, actually she drops off fine, but then wakes in the night and can't get back to sleep), we're going to sit down and jot a list of all the things that are bothering her.  Sometimes it's difficult for children to verbalise their fears, so I'm thinking that if I sit with her and we chat about her fears we can make a list and she'll see, that just like my list, very few of her  anxieties are actually real at all.

Cut out the background noise.
Sitting down and "chilling" in front of the TV, or "relaxing" with the iPad, is a standard way of ending the day in our house, for us and the children.  There are so many studies that show these things aren't relaxing in the slightest and actually act as yet another stimulant to keep our brains active.

Cutting down on electronic goods is one of the steps I'm taking (for all of us) to reduce stress in the household. We played cards at the weekend, teaching our son Gin Rummy, and it was relaxing and fun to have some family time that didn't involve movies or apps.

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Children particularly need some time away from their virtual worlds in order to reset their already overstimulated brains.  Dog walks, playing hide and seek, and a game of soccer in the park are on our agenda for this week.

Focus on the good stuff.
Telling yourself or your children that "there is always someone worse off than you" is never a great way to deal with anxieties.  Making your problems seem insignificant compared to others means that you're less likely to try and deal with them.

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Acknowledging that you're having a hard time is the first step to finding a solution, but remembering that there are lots of good things in your life is just as important.  My kids know that change is happening, but that shouldn't stop them looking forward to playing with weekly sports or hanging out with their friends.  Constantly reminding yourself that everyone's life is a balancing act of good and bad is a great way to stabilise your thoughts and stop you from slipping into an even worse funk.

How do you deal with stress?  Are you a chronic list maker like me, or a non-sleeper like my daughter?

1 comment:

  1. Life is low-stress for me at the moment but there have definitely been times where I've been operating with high levels of it and the accompanying anxiety. I'd stay awake for ages, then drop off but if I happened to wake for whatever reason, I'd lie there fretting about whatever it was. It's not pleasant and I hope your household stabilises soon!


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