I’ve battled with severe bouts of anxiety since I was a child. I won’t get into my life story spiel on that here today, but if you’d like to see a video or potentially even listen to a podcast episode about that, please comment below! I released my first audio download to test the waters on the idea of doing a podcast, so if you’re interested in that medium and want to hear my intimate answer to the frequently asked question “When/Will you ever be acting on our TV screens again?”, sign up to receive that download HERE!!
What I’m sharing here in this post today is a collection of lessons and practices in no particular order that I’ve learned to put into practice over 20 years battling with this mental health issue. I promise you that at least one of these 8 tools will help you help yourself and your mental health TODAY! I use all of them regularly, depending on what my mind and body need on any given day.
Journal – Brain dumping your emotions, thoughts and circumstances onto a piece of paper gets them out of your racing mind and onto something outside of yourself that you can digest and reflect on. It doesn’t have to make sense, it doesn’t have to be intentional, it just has to flow out of you onto that paper. You can make sense of it and set intentions for yourself regarding what to do with it and about it later. The simple act of doing it will usually provide an immediate sense of relief on its own.
Serving Others – Perspective and purpose are everything. Both can be found in serving others. When we’re drowning in our feels and stuck in a shitty season, it can be challenging to see the potential, opportunities and blessings we have in our grasp. Being of service and helping others provides a great sense of positive purpose that can enlighten and evolve our perspectives and passions.
Therapy – I struggled with therapy for a long ass time. I’ve talked and walked my way out of therapist’s offices since I was a kid but boy oh boy, am I a prime candidate!
I didn’t want to feel crazy. I didn’t want to need therapy.
So I successfully convinced countless therapists I was fiiine after just a couple sessions. It wasn’t until my emotions got aggressively thrown out of whack during pregnancy that I finally sought and consistently stick to the regular therapy I’ve needed for far too long. It’s something I look forward to every week. It’s like a verbal journaling session with some helpful professional guidance on the digestion and reflection part.
Support – A therapist is a great form of support because they’re completely unbiased to your situation and emotions… and they’re literally paid to listen. However, the people who love you are important support tools to get comfortable uncomfortably leaning into when you’re in need. You may feel ashamed or embarrassed about what they’ll think of you or even feel that you don’t want to burden the people you care about with your shit. Those feelings come from a place of care and consideration for those people, which is something that I’d put good money on is reciprocated. They’ll more than likely want to be there for you in your moments of need. I forget to do this one a lot myself, but I’m lucky to have a husband that knows me better than myself some days and pushes me to lean in just when I need to.
Exercise – MOVE. YOUR. BODY. Endorphins are magical things!!! Sweat that anxiety out of your pores one mile or burpee or downward dog at a time. Actively moving your body works wonders for your mind. Every time.
Pray – Whether you’re praying to God or the universe or your loved ones passed or… the black space you see when you close your eyes, whatever works! And it works. Simply voicing your please’s and thank you’s is something we forget to do when we grow up and take the burden of life directly on our backs. Thank you for this and please help me with that. These are super simple sentences that make a big impact in making you feel like you can push gratitude and desires out of your mind and off of your shoulders alone.
Read – Knowledge is power. Educating myself in digestible tidbits daily has done wonders for my confidence and anxiety. Learning is a powerful tool for gaining perspective and inspiring passion and purpose. It’s also just a great temporary distraction from your own whirling thoughts!
Just Fucking Cry – Self-explanatory. Sometimes, ya just gotta do it and when you give into that moment, it can feel so good. I’m not a cryer… unless I’m watching The Voice. I’m a sucker for a heartbreaking/heartwarming story and usually my tears come from empathy for others, but I don’t cry often for myself. I used to. Then life happens and you get used to sucking it up and moving forward, but sometimes that bottles something up that needs releasing. If that anxiety has you stuck, it’s usually a good time to let the water works flow for a hot minute. Indulge in it and let it out.
These obviously aren’t all of the ways you can relieve anxiety, but they’re mine and now, if any of them resonated with you, they’re yours! They’re simple, you don’t need a prescription for any of ‘em and you can them all into practice anytime, anywhere. It’s good to have a few of these tools in your back pocket at all times because as I’m sure you already know if you’re reading this, anxiety can be one unpredictable betch!
If you’re ready to kick start your fight for mental health, I’ve got a free 12-day Go Your Own Way program that can help! Taking just a few minutes to focus on yourself for 12 days will make such a difference in your mindset and in turn, your mental health. If you’re interested, join me here!
Shenae Grimes-Beech is an actor and YouTuber with a highly engaged community of like-minded women who are here to stand up for what they believe in and lean into discomfort, especially when it means doing the right thing.