What to Do When You're Feeling Lonely

What To Do When You're Feeling Lonely

Feeling lonely? You’re not alone. According to a recent Cigna study, loneliness in America is at epidemic levels.

Did you know that while loneliness is defined as a state of solitude, or being alone, it is actually a state of mind?

Lonely people tend to see the social world through a pessimistic lens. As a result, they expect less positive social interactions, and store more negative social information. This gloomy view of the social world is often one of the underlying causes of loneliness.

Read on to find out how to change this state of mind and stop feeling lonely.

feeling lonely

Do these 5 things to stop feeling lonely:

1. Identify your loneliness type

Feeling lonely doesn’t always mean you are physically alone. Loneliness can be defined in a few different ways:

  1. Physical aloneness- being separated from others by distance, or for a period of time.
  2. Situational loneliness- created by socio-economic and environmental factors (like conflicts, or disasters).
  3. Developmental loneliness- experiencing a loss of meaning in your life (such as physical/psychological disabilities, significant separations).
  4. Internal loneliness- the perception of being alone without being physically alone (caused by mental distress, low self-esteem, or poor coping skills).
  5. Emotional loneliness- feeling disconnected, isolated and disengaged in your romantic relationship, or in your relationships with friends and family.

Determine what type of loneliness you are feeling in order to know what to do about it. 

2. Know why you’re feeling lonely

In certain situations, your loneliness can be temporary and time will solve it. But in others, it takes a lot more work to dig your way out of it. Regardless of how easy or difficult it will be to stop feeling lonely, knowing your why will bring you one step closer to overcoming loneliness.

3. Allow yourself to feel vulnerable

How many times have you avoided a social event because of fear of judgement? What about the times you thought you were not good enough, so you didn’t even give it a try?

The only way to connect with others is to teach ourselves to be more vulnerable.

Vulnerability is defined as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. And to some of us, this sounds scary. But there are two ways to look at vulnerability. On the one hand, we associate being vulnerable with weakness. We perceive vulnerability as such when our social interactions are dominated by fear of what others may think of us. On the other hand, we associate it with courage and confidence.  We see vulnerability as a positive when people are daring enough to show it. 

So allow yourself to be vulnerable at times. It can help you find your way out of feeling lonely. And keep in mind, we are all flawed, and we all have weaknesses. The only difference is, some choose to deal with them while others hide them.

4. Find a passion

A passion keeps your mind busy, and gives you a sense of belonging. As you can see, I didn’t say find your passion, I said find a passion because any passion you may have will do. If you wait to figure out your main passion, chances are it will take a really long time to find it. And in the meantime, your loneliness will deepen.

Therefore, find a passion you can act upon immediately. Join an online community, and/or participate in nearby events related to your passion. Surround yourself with like-minded people to increase your odds of developing meaningful friendships.

5. Go places

The best thing you can do when you feel lonely is to go places, and catch sight of other people. Take a walk around the neighborhood, go to a nearby library, or volunteer.

Become active in an online community, it is a great way to feel less alone, but strive for in-person human interaction. Also, try to let your guard down when you talk to someone, you’ll invite the other person to do the same. As a result, the overall quality of your social interactions is bound to improve.

At last, I believe that at the root of loneliness stands fear. When we feel lonely, we are afraid of getting hurt, of getting criticised, and of not measuring up. So we stand behind our shields in order to avoid being vulnerable, or trusting. We isolate ourselves. But the importance of social connection can’t be overstated. It is as crucial to our overall well-being as food and water. Therefore, don’t take feeling lonely lightly. Muster the courage to do something about it. Focus on how you make others feel rather than what you say, or how you’re perceived. You can do it.

Here is a great book to read that might help you through the process: Braving The Wilderness, by Brené Brown.

 

Read next: https://inspoplace.com/2019/11/overcome-social-anxiety/

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What Postpartum Depression Feels Like

What Postpartum Depression Feels Like

Before we dive into what postpartum depression feels like, and what you can do about it, let’s take a look at some statistics.

One recent study found that out of the 4 million live births occurring each year in the United States almost 600,000 mothers will be diagnosed with postpartum depression. In addition, when including women who had a stillbirth or miscarried, the number of diagnosed mothers reaches 900,000.

However, if you add the women who never report their symptoms, or the women who don’t know what postpartum depression feels like, the numbers could be much higher than this. 

postpartum depression

Did you know that you can begin to experience postpartum depression symptoms during pregnancy? It is believed that up to 50% of women who develop postpartum depression after giving birth experience some symptoms during pregnancy. Therefore, early symptom recognition is imperative for prompt treatment. If left untreated, postpartum depression can wreak havoc on your motherhood experience, and it can even affect the development of your child.

What postpartum depression feels like…

Postpartum depression feels like being left alone to survive on a deserted island with no tools. And on this island most days are rainy and gray.  

When you suffer from postpartum depression, you are filled with self-doubt and self-judgement. You scrutinize your motherhood abilities, and focus on your failures. Your mind is flooded with negative thoughts that make it very difficult to enjoy being a new mom. As a result, you feel guilty for your lack of happiness with being a mother, and for your perceived shortcomings.

As a first time mom, I suffered from postpartum depression and I never got help for it. I didn’t know I had it until my second child was born. That’s when I was able to see myself as the good, caring mother I was. The birth of my second child made me realize what healthy motherhood was like.

Now that I look back on my first pregnancy, the signs of postpartum depression were there early on. They showed up mid-pregnancy, and further developed after giving birth. Had I been aware of what I was feeling, I could have avoided a lot of suffering. And I could have been a better mother for my daughter.

Here are the signs of postpartum depression I missed during pregnancy and after birth…

During pregnancy:

  • Lack of excitement
  • Feeling low
  • Lack of motivation to prepare for baby’s arrival
  • Moody and needy
  • Lack of connection with the fetus

After birth:

  • Inability to bond with child
  • Wishing I never became a mother
  • Sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Feeling constantly overwhelmed
  • Feeling inadequate
  • Oversensitivity to well meaning advice
  • Inability to cope with motherhood
  • Guilt

And 10 things I learned about postpartum depression after having three kids…

  1. It is more common than I thought.
  2. It distorts the reality of motherhood.
  3. You can mistake it for “baby blues” (“baby blues” should not last longer than 14 days after birth).
  4. You are not a bad mother for having postpartum depression.
  5. Don’t rely on your care provider to spot your postpartum depression symptoms.
  6. Antidepressants are not always necessary for treating postpartum depression.
  7. Postpartum depression can resolve itself over time, but I would not recommend waiting it out.
  8. You will have a hard time bonding with your child as long as you leave it unaddressed.
  9. When you suffer from postpartum depression you tend to socially isolate yourself.
  10. Once you get a grip on your postpartum depression you will feel liberated. 

Plus, 5 Tips: 

-Be ever observant of your feelings, thoughts and emotions during pregnancy and postpartum.

-Be aware of biological, social and lifestyle factors that can increase your risk of developing postpartum depression. 

-Learn the difference between the “baby blues” and postpartum depression.

-Don’t be ashamed to talk about how you’re feeling as a new mom. 

-Ask for help, and accept when others offer to help you during pregnancy or after birth.

Finally, my advice for mothers who suspect they may be experiencing postpartum depression symptoms is to talk about it. Begin by confessing your thoughts and feelings to the people you feel most comfortable with. Do it sooner rather than later. It is never too early to get the conversation about postpartum depression going. Surround yourself with supportive people, and avoid social isolation. Please remember, there is a way out of postpartum depression if you are aware of it. 

Helpful resources to learn more about postpartum depression and its consequences:

Postpartum depression and the baby blues

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/postpartum-depression-and-the-baby-blues.htm

Postpartum depression

https://www.womenshealth.gov/mental-health/mental-health-conditions/postpartum-depression

Maternal depression and child development

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2724169/

You might also like: https://inspoplace.com/2019/11/things-first-time-moms-should-know/

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10 Things First Time Moms Should Know

10 Things First Time Moms Should Know

The following 10 things first time moms should know are meant to help ease your transition into motherhood.

Motherhood comes with so many expectations which often don’t match the reality of it all. Being aware of the challenges that come with being first time moms is essential in order to allow ourselves room for error and for self-compassion.  

These 10 things first time moms should know are based on research, and on my personal experience as a mom of three.

1. Your pregnancy and birth experiences matter a lot

Having complications during your pregnancy, or having a negative birthing experience can prevent you from instantly bonding with your baby. It also makes the new mother experience less enjoyable, and it increases your risk of developing postpartum depression.

Tip: Don’t blame yourself for any negative outcome. The formation and birth of a human is highly complex. Things can go wrong even if you do everything by the book. 

2. Breastfeeding is amazing, but hard

No amount of reading or training can prepare you for the actual experience of breastfeeding, but I will try to be as precise as possible in my description. Breastfeeding is such a rewarding experience if you produce milk, and if you can live through the extreme pain of the first couple of weeks. Be prepared to see your breasts expand to many times their actual size, and feel like they could burst at any moment. Your nipples will be sore, and will likely bleed until your baby learns to latch correctly, so use a lot of lanolin nipple cream.

Tip: Use a breast pump to express some milk if you produce more than your baby needs. It will help relieve some of the engorgement pain. 

3. The baby must-have list is much shorter

When I had my first baby I bought every possible item that claimed to make being a new mom easier. By my third, baby I realized that my list of must-haves for a new mom and baby was much shorter than my first.

Tip: Must-haves: Car seat, crib (if you’re not co-sleeping), pacifiers, breast pump, muslin wraps, baby blankets, onesies, a play gym, teething toys and other age appropriate toys, baby bathtub, some hooded towels, baby nail clipper, basic nose sucker, a bouncer, baby carrier or wrap, a stroller, lots of diapers and wipes. Nice to have: baby monitor, Boppy pillow, Dockatot lounger and white noise device.

4. Lack of sleep is more than physical exhaustion

You probably know that babies wake up every two to three hours to be fed and changed. And, if you are part of the  pack with not-so-easy-to-soothe babies, you might spend most of your time between feeds trying to comfort your baby and keep him/her asleep until the next feed. The reality is, you will be sleep deprived regardless of how fussy your baby is. Among other things, sleep deprivation leads to irritability, anxiety, forgetfulness, increased errors, lack of energy, and symptoms of depression.

Tip: Don’t worry about creating a sleep schedule for the first 3 months. Feed on demand and co-sleep if you’re comfortable with the idea. It will make your life so much easier. In addition, remind yourself often that the newborn stage won’t last forever. You will be able to sleep eight hours a night again.

5. Don’t take the “baby blues” lightly

“Baby blues”  leave you feeling impatient, irritable, moody and emotional. They usually peak around four to five days after the birth of your child, and should disappear within fourteen days. However, if symptoms persist, speak to your doctor as it could be an indication of postpartum depression. 

Tip: Be vigilant and track the duration of your “baby blues”. Talk to loved ones about your feelings and have other adults around as often as possible during this time. 

6. Social support is crucial

When I had my first baby it was just me and my husband. We had no family or friends around and it was very difficult. And because my daughter was born prematurely we were advised not to take her to public places for six weeks due to a weakened immune system. It’s needless to say how lonely and isolating those six weeks were. 

 Tip: If you have no family or friends around have a postpartum plan for socializing. Nowadays there are a lot of resources available for new moms. Try to connect with other mothers through social media groups and local events.

7. Read as much as you can about motherhood

Becoming a mother for the first time is such a wonderful experience that we often forget the hardships that come with it. Therefore, it  is very important to be aware of the changes and struggles that come with motherhood as well. 

Tip: You can learn so much from reading other moms’ stories and tips on motherhood. There is so much information like this on the web.

8. You might hate being a mother before you love it

My experience as a first time mom was definitely not what I had expected it to be before giving birth. I expected to euphorically give birth to my child, instantly fall in love with her, and get through all the challenges of being a new mom because of the unconditional love I had for her. Instead, I was terrified of giving birth and questioned if I’d even wanted to be a mother. Also, due to pregnancy complications, my baby ended up staying in the NICU for ten days while I had to go home without her and pump every three hours. In the meantime, the “baby blues” hit and I felt like the most inadequate mother in the world. Then, I developed postpartum depression. Long story short, I did not love being a mother for the first year of my daughter’s life. 

Tip: Have a support system in place before giving birth. Talk about your negative feelings with your care provider to rule out postpartum depression. Give yourself time to fall in love with your child.

9. Newborn stage is the easiest

Do you know the saying “Little kids little problems, big kids big problems”? My oldest child is now eight years old and I can assure you that, unless you are dealing with health issues, this saying stands true for everything else. I will take sleepless nights over sassy talk-back and school drama any day. I don’t even want to think about the teenage years.

Tip: Remind yourself that, while it may feel like sleepless nights will never end, they actually do. In the future, you will find yourself longing for these moments. 

10. Everything is just a phase

The diaper blowouts, spit-ups, middle-of-the-night walks, colic, teething and temper tantrums are all just normal phases of a child’s life. And they will be gone one day. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself missing these difficult phases one day.

Tip: Savour every stage of motherhood. Deal with every phase as best as you can and let go of guilt, you’ll never do things perfectly as a parent.

I truly hope that the 10 things first time moms should know I shared here will make being a new mother a smoother ride for you.

 

What are some of the lessons you learned as a first time mom? Do you have any tips to share? Please write them in the comment section below.

 

Read next: https://inspoplace.com/2019/11/sustainable-weight-loss/

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Become a More Mindful Person

Become A More Mindful Person: 5 Easy Steps

Mindfulness comes with great mental and physical health benefits. Several studies have shown that mindfulness reduces rumination and stress, while improving focus and working memory. When you become a more mindful person your emotional reactivity to upsetting events decreases, and your relationship satisfaction with others increases. Mindfulness has also been shown to increase immune functioning. 

Trying to become a more mindful person may sound daunting, perhaps overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. Mindfulness is a lot simpler to achieve than you may think.

how to become a more mindful person

Try these 5 powerful steps to become a more mindful person.

1. Practice self-awareness

Research has shown that self-awareness is crucial for success in all aspects of our lives, and it is especially important in the process of becoming more mindful. So begin by reflecting on the story of your life, from childhood to the present moment. You can do this by writing down, or just thinking about the people, events and experiences that have had the greatest positive, or negative, impact on you. 

Learn as much as you can about what shaped the person you are today. In doing so, you will be able to let go of labels that you’ve placed on yourself, or that others might have assigned to you. Letting go of labels is crucial since we tend to allow these labels to dictate who we are.

Remember, the more you practice self-awareness, the better you get at it. Your goal should be to turn your practice into a daily habit in order to become a more mindful person.

2. Accept yourself and others

While you work on gaining self-awareness you must acknowledge and accept that certain things will never change. You can rewrite history, but you can’t change it, so you have to be willing to accept it. Therefore, come to terms with your life story. Remind yourself that you have control of the present, and you have the power to shape your future.

Be prepared to accept the fact that you can’t control another person’s behavior, and if you put your well being in someone else’s hands you are bound to be disappointed. This is the step where you take matters into your own hands. At the same time, be willing to accept different points of view, and stay open to new information.

3. Learn emotional self-regulation

Emotional self-regulation means being able to manage and monitor our emotions and behavior. In an ideal situation we learn emotional self-regulation when we are children, and continue to refine it into adulthood. However, some of us are not made aware of it in our childhood. Instead, we must acquire and hone this skill as adults.

The best way to learn emotional self-regulation is to pay attention to your emotions, and define them. Allow yourself to feel them, but be aware of how you express them. Also, try to become more observant of other people’s emotions so you will be better prepared for an appropriate emotional response. This is a skill that needs lifelong practice given how volatile emotions can be, but you begin to reap the benefits of your practice as soon as you start.

4. Strive for positive thinking

Condition your mind to think positively by emphasizing positive little things throughout your day. You can do that by pointing out your tiniest daily victories. It could be the tasks you’ve completed, how you were of assistance to others, or the time you exerted self-control by making a good choice. Pay close attention to the good moments, people and things in your life, and express gratitude for them.

Most importantly, be OK with failing sometimes as we all do. Praise yourself for your achievements, and learn from your disappointments. It might also be helpful to remind yourself of all the difficulties you’ve overcome in the past, and how, if you keep trying, everything gets easier and better with time.

5. Savor the good times

When you think of the good times you’re probably thinking of the fun vacation you had last year, or an awesome party you attended, which is great. However, the goal is to savor the good times everyday. You can do so by holding onto the positive thoughts and emotions we have throughout any given day. It could be the delicious meal you had, a warm smile you received, or a moment of kindness. Remember how fast time goes by, and even if today wasn’t great, tomorrow can be better. 

Yes, it takes time to become a more mindful person. However, if you take the necessary steps to move through life less mindlessly you begin to see results immediately. This should serve as your motivation to stay on the path to mindfulness. 

Do you practice mindfulness? Leave a comment and tell us how.

Read next: https://inspoplace.com/2019/11/overcome-anxiety/

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Help with a toxic relationship

3 Signs Of A Toxic Relationship: How To Fix It

Being in a toxic relationship can be emotionally suffocating. Even a mildly toxic relationship can lead to anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. However, often times, people are unaware they are in one.

This type of relationship usually evolves over time. It begins with what seems like normal bickering, or “constructive” criticism but, if left unaddressed, it can lead to verbal, emotional, and even physical abuse.

woman looking down sad

Here are three of the most telling signs of a toxic relationship, and what to do about them:

1. Excessive criticism

Does your partner constantly point out your flaws and failures? Does he/she tell you on a daily basis how you could have done things better?

If you answered “Yes” this is perhaps the clearest indication of a toxic relationship. Firstly, let me remind you that no one can ever be perfect in the eyes of another person. What someone may perceive as wrong could be right to you, and vice versa. Secondly, having someone you care about regularly emphasize your weaknesses is a huge blow to your confidence.

A person who feels the need to criticise excessively is someone with deep rooted insecurities who is projecting them onto you.

Do: Use “I” statements to voice your displeasure with your partner’s criticism. Let him/her know how it makes you feel and come up with a plan to communicate frustrations in a healthier way. 

Don’t: Allow your partner’s negative words to dictate who you are. Measure your self-worth based on your interactions with your partner.

2. Controlling behavior

A controlling partner wants to know where you are, what you do, who you are with, and what you say to other people at all times. He/She can also try to distance you from friends and family in order to feel more in control of you. If you recognize this behavior in your partner, or yourself, it is imperative to address it immediately. 

Having someone exert control over you on a regular basis leaves you emotionally drained. It also leaves you feeling irritable, angry and anxious. In addition, having to constantly answer questions about your daily activities to a likely paranoid person can take a toll on your mental health over time. 

Do: Respectfully tell your partner that you do not condone controlling behavior. Point it out when it happens in a calm voice. Try to help your partner figure out where his need for control stems from.

Don’t: Allow your partner to carry on this behavior, nor interfere in your relationships with friends and family. 

3. Walking on eggshells 

In a toxic relationship you often find yourself feeling like you are walking on eggshells so you don’t trigger or disappoint your partner. Having to constantly think and plan what to say, and how to say things to your partner in order to prevent an outburst can cause extreme stress. This type of interaction with another person on a daily basis leads to feelings of despair, mental health issues, and even physical illness. Do not take this warning sign lightly.

Do: Be who you actually are. Acknowledge that pleasing your partner at all times is not sustainable and should not be expected. Tell your partner that healthy relationships allow room for error. 

Don’t: Try to please your partner at all times hoping to prevent an outburst. You’ll create a never ending cycle of disappointment for both, and lose yourself in the process.

In some cases, a toxic relationships can be mended as long as both parties are made aware of its nature. However, you both have to be willing to put in the work required over a period of time. Sometimes, the help of a counselor is needed. In other cases, a toxic relationship can reach a point of no return, and it is best to let go of it. 

No matter how you decide to address your toxic relationship, please remember that you deserve respect, peace and happiness just as much as everyone else.

Have you ever experienced or witnessed a toxic relationship? Please comment below.

Read next: Become A More Mindful Person: 5 Easy Steps

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Mindful Eating for Sustainable Weight Loss

Sustainable Weight Loss: A Mindful Diet Plan

As someone who has struggled to lose weight and keep it off in the past, I totally understand how challenging it can be to find a diet for sustainable weight loss. Luckily, through trial and error, I found the best way to lose weight and keep it off. And if it worked for me, it can work for you too.

Mindful Eating for Sustainable Weight Loss

A quick search on the internet will lead to a myriad of diets, tips and articles that claim to have the answer to effective weight loss. Please don’t buy into the quick fix, because losing weight the right way is a process.

My personal dieting experience has taught me that unless you find ways to incorporate a diet into your everyday life you can never stay at your target weight.

 

Here are five tips for sustainable weight loss:

 

1. Healthy mind healthy body

I truly believe that in order for you to be able to apply any dieting tips to your life you must start with a healthy mind. Therefore, it is important to bring awareness to your eating habits and what led to them. You want to become mindful of the difference between emotional eating and hungry eating. And when you catch yourself in the emotional eating stage, try to redirect your attention to another satisfying activity of your choosing. Or, at least, snack on wholesome foods such as fruits, nuts or vegetables.

2. Get enough sleep

Studies have shown an association between sleep deprivation and obesity. Also, sleep duration affects eating behavior. Not getting enough sleep leads to favoring food intake driven by emotional need, rather than caloric need. So make getting at least 7 hours of quality sleep per night a priority. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up around the same time every morning.

3. Eat the bulk of your calories earlier in the day

This tip may sound like common sense, yet we don’t think about our food this way. We tend to have our heaviest meals at dinner time when our metabolisms slow down. Aim instead for a heavy breakfast and/or lunch and keep dinner light. Avoid sweetened drinks as much as possible, and consume natural juice in moderation. However, do allow yourself the treats you love every now and then. 

4. Eat less meat and poultry

If you eat meat or poultry with every meal, start by replacing one meal a day with a meatless option. After successfully doing so for a few days, challenge yourself to eating meat every other day. Ideally, you want to get to the point where you eat meat or poultry only twice a week. Find a meat alternative that appeals to you, such as fish, legumes and vegetables. There are so many recipes available online that can help you create delicious meatless meals. Keep an open mind!

5. Add mindfulness to daily exercise

We all know how important it is to exercise regularly, both for your health and for weight loss. But we also know how difficult it can be to stick to a workout routine. So what I recommend is to become mindful of how much you move everyday. Keep in mind that any type of movement counts, so push yourself to move a little bit more everyday. Take the stairs whenever possible, dance to your favourite songs, take a walk around the neighborhood. Even house work counts! 

I am a firm believer in doing everything in moderation in most aspects of our lives, including food. I also believe that mindfulness can be successfully applied to dieting. Being aware of what you eat, why you eat, and how much you are eating at any given time is a great strategy for sustainable weight loss. Please be kind to yourself if you have slip ups and keep going until you reach your goal. Along the way, you’ll create a healthier lifestyle you can stick to for the rest of your life. 

Do you have any weight loss tips to share? Please write them in the comments section.

You might also like: https://inspoplace.com/2019/11/overcome-anxiety/

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girl with anxiety trying to break through it

How To Overcome Anxiety: 3 Effective Tips

If you’ve been wanting to overcome anxiety but are struggling to accept it or talk about it, please know you’re not alone.

Did you know that anxiety disorders are now the most common mental illness in the United States?

Every year nearly 40 million people are affected by an anxiety disorder. 

In severe cases, anxiety disorders can have crippling effects on people’s lives. Not only on the sufferers’, but also on their loved ones’ who often devote time and energy, giving up dreams and opportunities in order to help.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could  alleviate the effects of anxiety? My tips can help you get closer to relief.

How to Deal with Victim Mentality

General anxiety disorder and social anxiety have been a part of my life from early childhood. As an adult, I did not want to acknowledge my anxieties, nor address them because of the stigma surrounding mental illness.

However, once I became a mother for the second time at the age of 25, I grew terrified of the thought that my social anxiety would affect my children’s social and emotional well-being. Only then did I find the courage to admit I wasn’t fine, I needed help badly. I was trapped in this dark state of mind filled with self-doubt and fear. Fear of failure, fear of judgement, fear of being an imperfect human.

Things needed to change. I wanted answers. I needed to find a way out of this suffering. So I came up with a plan- read all the self-help books and scholarly articles I could find that would answer the questions I had about myself and my history. Figure out the possible causes, face my anxieties head on, and expose myself to everything that triggered them.

I have to confess, as I was going through the process, I was secretly hoping to find the easy way out. Instead, it took many years of research, trial and error, until I put together a system that worked for me.

These 3 effective tips have been my guiding principles in my battle with anxiety. They are what led me to overcome my anxiety. And I hope they will help you too.

The following tips can, in my opinion, be useful for all types of anxiety disorders.

1. Acknowledge your anxiety

Acknowledging those unsettling feelings and frightening thoughts is the first step towards overcoming your anxiety. Find the right, quiet time in the privacy of your own space and allow yourself to feel vulnerable. Take a moment to write down your fears, worries or negative feelings, and what triggers them. Try to remember the first time you felt this way. What happened before, during and after that event? Identify as many events as possible that triggered your anxiety until you figure out the thought pattern responsible for your feelings of anxiety. Once you’ve discovered it, you can start working on the next tip.

2. Accept your anxiety

As you become aware of your anxiety and what triggers it, try to embrace feeling it for a while. Accept how you feel and don’t judge or label yourself because negative self-talk fuels anxiety. Instead, observe yourself and your surroundings, become mindful of the times your trigger thoughts, or events, failed to lead to the outcomes you feared. Celebrate those moments, they are the signs which show you that thoughts don’t always match reality. Remind yourself that your anxiety is not who you are, it is an extension of your negative, sometimes unrealistic, thoughts and it will only define you if you allow it to linger on, unaddressed. Think of it as one of life’s challenges which you can overcome with the right mindset and tools in place.

3. Address your anxiety

After you’ve acknowledged and accepted your anxiety, it is time to get uncomfortable facing it. Start with slight discomfort for short periods of time and work your way up the scale at a pace that feels right for you. Take very small steps towards your ultimate goal. You want multiple mini victories to see and feel the progress so you remain motivated to continue the journey towards overcoming your anxiety. Read as much as you can about the type of anxiety disorder that affects you. The more you know, the better prepared you are to face the challenges ahead.

Please keep in mind that overcoming any type of anxiety is a process, so be kind to yourself as you navigate the ups and downs along the way. It takes resilience to succeed, so be patient and stay focused on the end result, it will be freeing.

If you feel like you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work, please seek the help of a psychologist. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable and you should not suffer in silence for the rest of your life.

Good luck on your journey!

How do you cope with anxiety? Please share your ideas below, I would love to know.

Read next: Become A More Mindful Person: 5 Easy Steps

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