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I have struggled with intense nervousness and social anxiety for over ten years. It has impacted my relationships, career, and happiness. The most difficult part is feeling like I am not in control of my own body.
After taking a record of all my habits over the last few years, I found a few patterns that have helped me. I’m not cured, it’s an ongoing struggle. However, when I do these six things, I’m better off than when I don’t do them. It’s a simple as that.
The point of this post, more than the habits themselves, is to pay attention to what is helping or hurting you. Add more of what helps and eliminate more of what isn’t. Make each day better than the last. Find more natural ways to decrease anxiety here.
I’m a daily coffee drinker, so this is an ongoing battle for me. I have one to-go mug of coffee per day, probably equivalent to two cups every morning. If I consume more than that, I feel anxious and jittery. If I drink coffee later in the day, it keeps me up at night. I’ve tried cutting out coffee completely, but it didn’t appear to have additional benefits when completely removing from my routine. Learn how I reduced my daily caffeine intake.
Who knows if this one is a placebo effect or not… I take a multivitamin every morning. I got into this habit after learning about the side effects related to B-12, Magnesium, Iron, and Zinc deficiencies. My diet is decent, but multivitamins (I think) help keep my daily values balanced. There are also other great multi-herb formulations such as Calm Now, that can be beneficial for anxiety.
Getting to the gym during the (work)week is very difficult for me. That is one habit I keep trying to fit in. However, I do get to the gym on Saturday and Sunday when I’m off work. For me, two days of moderate to intense workouts are enough to keep me balanced. If I miss one day, I notice the difference throughout the following week. If I miss both days, I’m going to have a rough week.
This is a fun one for me. I don’t do it every day, but I pull in this tactic when I’m particularly anxious or the night before a big day. I use two apps called Anxiety Relief and Self-Esteem Hypnosis, by SurfCity apps. Oddly enough, the self-esteem one is better for me. It walks you through a calming story and peppers you with positive confidence building thoughts. Start with the free version. If you like it, you can pay the $2 or so to get the premium version. Learn more about hypnosis for anxiety here.
Writing is therapeutic for me and keeping a record of my experiences has been helpful. I go through the same things over and over again, sometimes once a month, sometimes once a week. Having the record of my best and worst days helps remind me that I have done this before. I have been through the presentations, I have been put on the spot in social situations, and I made it through. Some of them weren’t pretty, but that’s where I watch for similar patterns. This process can help you take an objective view of your life.
I’m a morning person. I found that if I wake up just 30-45 minutes before my spouse and kids, it lets me have my “me time.” I use this time to write, read, meditate, or do a hypnosis session. The main point is that it’s my time and I do what I want. No work, no kids, no significant other, just me. It might be hard to carve out the time at first, but you’ll find your time.