How I Deal With Anxious Feelings

I don’t know about youuu, but I’m feeling twenty-twoooo….

…mosquito bites.

I counted twenty-two mosquito bites on my legs thanks to an evening session of frisbee golf on Saturday (worth it). I used to never get bitten (mostly in my ED phase, perhaps because I had low blood sugar?).

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looking slightly diseased

Since I was unaccustomed to so many bites, I Google searched what to do with the itchiness and found some good suggestions: aloe, rubbing alcohol, and oatmeal. I also found some questionable “cures”, like Scotch taping your mosquito bites at night to prevent subconscious scratching. I mean, I get the idea, but I think I would subconsciously rage over the fact that there were little pieces of tape all over me.

Anyway, yesterday was a MONDAY kind of Monday, especially coming home late from a few days of vacation in St. Louis. A long list of errands needed to be completed on minimal sleep, although a couple mini naps happened in order to tame the beast that is Alison Sans Sleep.

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It’s no surprise that I have a greater tendency to feel anxious and stressed when I’m very sleepy; I think most people can vouch for that. The anxious feelings* and stress escalate when I know I have a bunch of time-sensitive tasks on my to-do list.

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After dealing with insomnia* during my senior year of high school— perhaps the most stressful time of my life— I’ve learned how to reign in the anxious feelings and deal with stress in a more mature, effective manner (i.e. not bawling my eyes out in a panic at night).

So today, I’m sharing with you how I deal with some of those anxious feelings that threaten to interrupt my daily flow, productivity, and joy.

*I use the term “anxious feelings” rather than “anxiety” because I have not been diagnosed with clinical anxiety. I’ve also never been diagnosed with insomnia. All I know is that I couldn’t sleep for an extended period of time, which impacted my daily life for a while. Since I have no clinical diagnoses and since God blessed everyone with different brains, I understand that these tips may not be helpful for everyone or even anyone.

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1. Tell myself that it’s okay to feel anxious.

Nine times out of ten, my anxious feelings perpetuate because I am nervous to feel anxious or tired. My brain tends to create catastrophes out of small trials or signs of negative health.

“I NEED to get a lot of sleep. I’m not going to live as long if I don’t. My performance will plummet if I don’t fall asleep now. This isn’t okay.” 

“Stress will kill me. I need to stop being so stressed. Why am I feeling so stressed? I’m trying really hard to reduce my stress.”

Answer: It happens. This too shall pass.

2. Make a to-do list of many little things.

Write every little detail down in your to-do list. This may seem counter-intuitive, since your to-do list will look longer, but being able to check off several little tasks is a big morale booster for me.

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Always.

For example: Rather than writing “clean bathroom” on your list, you could break that down into “clean toilet, clean bathtub, clean sinks, clean floors.” That way, each item on your list is a small and doable task. This strategy can make a monster project seem less daunting.

3. Make humorous commentary about what’s happening.

(Edited to add this one!) 

Whenever it seems that more stressors are arising, sometimes I just need to laugh at myself and just make lighthearted commentary about all the things that are stressing me out. It’s the same idea as making humorous commentary when watching a scary movie to decrease the fear factor. 🙂

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4. Move (and groove).

It doesn’t have to be a grand workout or anything.

I didn’t include a solo dance party in my day in the life vlog just for comedic effect. I truly do love blasting tunes and dancing to keep me smiling. Some quick yoga or inversions to get the blood flowing in all sorts of directions helps to clear the head as well.

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5. Talk to someone.

The power of a listening ear is such a blessing. And if no one is available, I talk out loud to myself or to God. Hearing myself sort out my anxious feelings can help me understand them better.

6. Nap.

Naps are magical if time permits. Even if time doesn’t seem to permit, sometimes I allow myself a quick one anyway, because it will help me be more productive and less crabby for the sake of others.

If I can’t sleep, lying horizontally with my eyes closed for ten minutes can still bring me some sanity.

7. Make a mental gratitude list.

“Be grateful for what you have, and you’ll end up having more.” (<— from this amazing blog post via Marc and Angel)

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Gratitude helps eliminate any of the “woe is me” thoughts.

8. Remember Him.

The #1 thing that gets me through anxious feelings (or any negative feelings, for that matter) is remembering that my life belongs to God. He will provide, and He will not give us trials that we cannot overcome with His help.

There is nothing that I’m feeling that our Lord Jesus Christ has not felt.

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With that, I hope you all have a day free from anxious feelings! Stay tuned for a cool blog switcheroo tomorrow with Actively Gemma!

So tell me:

Do you deal with anxiety or anxious feelings often? How do you deal?

Do you know any good mosquito bite treatments?

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20 thoughts on “How I Deal With Anxious Feelings

  1. To-do lists are a life saviour for me! I don’t know where I’d be without them, because I too, get anxious very easily. I too, also get plenty of mosquito bites! I have this ointment that prevents me from scratching them, but I have no idea what it’s called in English. Usually I just scratch them anyway, because it’s just so tempting, haha. (They do go away eventually!)

  2. I hate misquito bites! Alas misquitoes (and fleas!) love me 😦 . But that many 😯 ?! I’d probably just keel over and die. I am however constantly declaring [in the warmer months] that “I’m being eaten alive by blood-sucking varmints”, and that’s only for a measly few. Hot showers make them feel tons better and surgical spirits – dabbed on with cotton puffs; burns the itchiness right out. IF you’re up for a little stinging of course 😉 . I really like your tips and it all resonates with me..thank you long-lingering insomnia and anxiety “attacks” which would leave me a blubbering, breathless mess. I’ve noticed that my body and mind healing after my few years of anorexia played a good role in me managing stress and sleeping beautifully 🙂 .

  3. Lol about the scotch tape trick; I would be the same, it seems like the tape would be more of a bother than the actual bites! The thing that had worked absolutely the best for me for mosquito bites is a plantain tincture that my sister makes. It smells AWFUL, is hard to apply (especially if you have several, because they say you are supposed to keep it on the bites for like an hour or something) and doesn’t always work amazingly, but when it does, it’s incredible! Earlier this summer, I got bitten in like 10 places, and I just put that stuff on a cotton pad and kept swabbing it on, and although it wasn’t a magic cure (I’ve had it do that for some bites before!), it definitely helped. I LOVED that minion meme…SO me! Such great tips/reminders in this post; some of them I’ve done before, but most I’ve kind of fallen out of the habit of doing, so this was a good push to get me back in the proactive game! 🙂 I especially liked #2 and #8. I’m not a big list-maker, but when I do, I love putting the small stuff on! And remembering that we are not suffering anything He has not suffered is a great encouragement, even though it isn’t a magic “everything’s ok now” cure. 🙂 I also like reading the story of the crucifixion or of Job’s trials when I’m feeling down, because it gives me a bit of perspective and I go, “You know, my life isn’t too bad all things considered!” So I guess that comes back around to being grateful! 🙂

  4. Thank you for this! I struggle from such bad anxiety but everything you listed is doable and right on!!!! I’m the queen of lists and I feel so much better when I make a to do list before I go to bed!
    And if all else fails I just pop a Xanax lol jk!!!!! Sorta 😳😂
    Ok this is going to sound super random but if you make an x with your finger nail on the bite it will stop itching!

  5. I am super guilty of adding things to my to do list after I do them so I can cross them off- I am very very obsessed with making lists! I also suffer from a lot of anxious feelings, and they often prevent me from making any decisions at all. These feelings are totally normal, and I find that trying to remain present and do all that I can now instead of worrying about the future works best for me :)!

  6. I just went back and read your original Insomnia post and WOW – can I ever relate. I don’t know why, but I get so wound up on Sunday nights even when I’m exhausted. I didn’t realize I was putting pressure on myself to “get a good nights sleep” and therefore making my sleep anxiety worse.
    Thanks for the additional tips, friend.

  7. Oh my goodness lady – those mosquito bites! I can relate – I feel like I get gobbled up if I’m outside past a certain hour in the evening. Also, I struggle with anxiety and it has only gotten worse since having Charlotte. I’m going to use some of these tips to help myself work through it. Someone once told me to consider ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ I need to take whatever I’m anxious about and think this and realize that, in the long run, most thinkgs that I worry about aren’t going to be as bad as I think even if the worst happens. Does that make sense?

  8. Yes I love this. I too used to have a lot of anxious days and they are a lot less now, yet still happen from time to time. I think what you said about realizing it’s okay to be anxious sometimes is really important. We can feel all the feelings and aren’t made to be happy 100% of the time. I definitely use a lot of these tips as well, except I don’t really nap because that makes me more anxious since I can’t fall asleep during the day 😛 You’re such a wise one!

  9. Pingback: Sunday Share 8/16/15 | Oatmeal and Optimism

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