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Anxiety and stress are normal parts of life, but how often do you find yourself caught up in problems that aren’t really problems at all? You lose sleep, waste time, and ultimately rob yourself of happiness by fixating on small things that have come and gone. If you’re wondering how some people just go with the flow and wish you could do the same, this article is for you. The practice is key, and these suggestions won’t work overnight, but if you keep them in mind every time you start to worry, you’ll find yourself becoming more relaxed with time. You’ve likely been worrying about pointless things for years, so it takes time to unlearn the habit. Always strive to put more emphasis on the good behaviors you’re actively choosing, not the instinctive reactions you want to shake.

Start Tracking Your Thoughts

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When a concern pops up, write it down. Do this as often as you can throughout the day, and review your list at night. How many of these problems are actually going to last for more than a few hours? How many of them never even happened, or ended hours, days, or weeks ago? It’s not uncommon for worriers to get hung up on events that are long passed, and they prolong their own suffering while everyone else has already moved on. It won’t be fun to dwell on your thoughts, but getting them out of your head and onto paper can help you develop a clearer perspective. Take time with this exercise; don’t rush through and rationalize. Be honest with yourself about what’s really worth paying attention to and what you’re just wasting time stressing over.

Find Out What’s Really Bothering You

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Sometimes, it’s easier to turn small, non-problems into real issues because they’re far easier to control than what really scares us. Are you giving your partner grief about their behavior because you feel bad about yourself? Maybe you’re obsessing over something that has no real solution because you don’t feel like you can find and apply one to more serious issues in your life. Find ways to cultivate self-awareness. This doesn’t come in the form of distraction, either.

Chilling out and getting in touch with yourself isn’t the same thing. Rather than vegging out on the couch, set a timer and meditate for five minutes. You save so much time just prioritizing your own mind; rather than running away from what’s upsetting you, lean into the discomfort and ask, “Why am I feeling this way?” It’s okay not to have the answer right away. That’s not the point. The goal of this practice is to become more comfortable with uncertainty and negative feelings, so you can think about problems more productively rather than chasing your thoughts in circles.

Embrace Relaxation

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People have a weird tendency to punish themselves for feeling bad rather than giving themselves the love and kindness they deserve. The next time you want to spiral and spend hours alone working yourself into a fit, bite the bullet, and choose relaxation instead. When your brain tells you to zone out on your phone and let your thoughts run wild, say no and turn on a hot bath with some essential oils instead. There is no wrong way to unwind, but make sure you choose something that genuinely makes you feel at peace with yourself. If you’re looking to treat your symptoms more directly, consider getting a medical marijuana card online from NuggMD. This will allow you to smoke or take edibles from a medical dispensary. Some other quick and easy relaxation activities you may like to try:

  • Color or draw
  • Prepare a hot cup of tea; lavender and chamomile are the most soothing for anxiety.
  • Spend time with your pet.
  • Practice some deep breathing exercises
  • Use guided imagery or a guided meditation video
  • Do some light exercise
  • Journal or write a story.
  • Play a calming video game.
  • Learn something new.
  • Listen to music, or get up and dance.

Choose your Company Wisely

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The people you surround yourself with have a large impact on how you feel; they can either help bring you out of anxiety or perpetuate it. Do you frequently find yourself feeling worse after venting to a friend who was all too eager to hear every detail of your latest drama? Some people love listening to others’ misery because it makes them feel better about their own lives; the same way you may worry as a distraction from your problems, they indulge others’ issues to avoid handling their own.

It’s not realistic to cut everyone out of your life, but you can limit your contact with problematic people. Rather than unfriending or unfollowing, mute the accounts of anyone online who doesn’t bring out your best self. Offline, set boundaries, and enforce them; it’s okay to make an excuse and avoid hanging out with someone who doesn’t contribute anything good to your state of mind. When it comes to dating, pick people who are willing to listen but don’t reinforce your worrisome nature. Many people who struggle with anxiety can become people-pleasers, attracted to people who keep them in a state of perpetual helplessness because it’s ironically easier for them to be in a state of flux. It feels natural. Uncomfortable, yes, but also more familiar than anything else, even tranquility.

Work on Accepting the Unpleasant

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Life is wonderful, but everyone experiences suffering and anxiety to some degree. Learning to plan ahead and accept bad things when they happen can help you stop overthinking in the present. Appreciating the good now increases one’s ability to understand that yes, bad things can happen, and perhaps there will be certain things that are our worst nightmares come to life. But what will happen at that moment, if it ever even comes to pass, will be entirely up to you and in your control? You can’t always stop certain things from happening, but you can control how you respond to them. Steep yourself in as much positivity and pleasantness as you can; you don’t have to ignore your anxious thoughts. You just have to remind yourself that you have and can live in spite of them.

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