Open On Stressful Days

Stress and anxiety are partners in crime. They are like the Joker and Harley Quinn. (Which one’s which depends on the day.)

I typically experience anxiety when I haven’t slept well. When it’s allergy season my sleep tends to suffer more than usual. I’ll try a lot of different things, but more rest is the biggest hammer for this kind of anxiety. I’ll add a short nap early in the afternoon when I can, and (do my best to) go to bed earlier. I’m not a doctor, so don’t take my word for it.

Prioritizing sleep is essential when I’m feeling anxious.

I’ll also feel anxious when I’ve got too much on my to-do list. I know it. My lists know it. The day knows it. Your mother knows it. Everyone knows it but I still can mentally get in my way by trying too much at one time. The key is simplifying.

It’s helpful to think of everything around us as variables or small influences that we can manipulate toward a certain outcome.

Anxiety can come from many things, but there are also things in our lives—environment, habits, etc—that are either enabling or reducing our anxiety. By turning certain levers we can lean ourselves towards a less stressful and anxiety-ridden environment.

Our two main methods of action for combating anxiety are adding and removing.

Examples of things we can add:

• Support from doctors, therapists, and nutritionists.

• Meditation

• Sleep

• Exercise

• Play

• Healthy food

I also find it helpful to take Onnit’s New Mood Supplements and Calm / Magnesium to relax my muscles.

Things we can remove:

• Less or no caffeine

• No smoking

• Less or no alcohol

• “Stress”

The last bullet “Stress” is in quotations because I can’t tell you how many countless useless articles I’ve read about anxiety that tell you to “avoid stressful situations and environments.” Yeah! No kidding! That’s why I find it easier to add things to my day than remove them (which explains my to-do list.) “Stress” is so vague and idealistic.

We’re usually stressed for a reason and that stress isn’t going to go away magically until we resolve that reason. But that doesn’t mean we can’t shift our perspective and change things by adding helpful habits and removing unhelpful ones.

For example, it’s easier to start meditation for 10 minutes every day than it is to find a new job. And it’s easier to swear off coffee after 3 PM than to completely overhaul your life. But that’s okay because there’s magic in these small habits.

It’s all about finding a way to tip the scales in the direction you want to go, instead of the direction you don’t.

But I’m not a Doctor, so don’t listen to me.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1832

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