Updated: Nov 2, 2021
Below are two suggested accessible and free ways to alleviate anxiety or if you're feeling a strain on your mental wellbeing. Most people can give them a go by themselves even if they’re not especially experienced in self-help or wellness techniques.
Journaling/writing down thoughts: a beneficial way to do this is to perform a “thought dump” which creates time to allow your thoughts to come out in a controlled way and allows you to feel less mentally cluttered and can also prevent things getting buried and causing problems later.
Taking a notebook and pen has been shown to be best but if that’s not you at all you can use a computer or record yourself speaking Dictaphone style.
Free write anything that pops into your head, let things flow from your mind through the pen onto the page without judgement or censorship (spelling/grammar don’t matter).
You can set a timer to do this for a specific length of time and see what comes up – it can be very surprising and cathartic.
You can do this whenever you feel your head is “cluttered” or as a daily practice for a time as part of wellbeing practices.
Seeing things in text before you (or hearing them said back to you) can in itself shrink worries/problems because when they’re in our head they can feel a lot bigger than perhaps they are. You then also have something more concrete to work from to problem-solve issues that come up.
Mantras: mantras are an easy and effective way for many people to alter their feelings in a given moment or to help alter their perspective on something that would in the past, have been anxiety inducing to them. They are one or two words or a phrase that you repeat that fills you with a specific emotion when you do, for anti-anxiety, we would want to aim for something that fills you with a feeling of calm or competence.
It helps to have a think about situations you find yourself in where you can try a mantra and then come up with at least one that you can say during each of those situations.
Having them written out and easily accessible is best so you have it with you when you need it until its habitual for you to recite it to yourself in certain situations.
They can also be said daily as a gentle way to start changing your mindset where that would benefit you, whether it’s something soothing for feeling safe, or something empowering/motivating for breaking through negative thought patterns or when you’re in a head spin.
The trick is to really feel into the words you’re saying (or thinking if you can’t say it aloud) and allow them to fill you with whatever emotion it is your desiring e.g. calm, courage.
I hope this helps - please share if you think it would benefit someone else.
To see a related helpful article that I was interviewed for a contribution for in the Huffington Post, please follow this link here.