In my last post, I talked about signs that you might have anxiety when decluttering. I also wrote about some of the most common worries people have when decluttering. In this post, I talk about some causes for anxiety and healthy coping mechanisms. If you want to be able to move through your anxiety and stress so that you can declutter with confidence and efficiency, this post is for you!
What Causes Anxiety
Anxiety can be caused by so many things, it would be impossible to list them all here. It can be caused by life events or anxiety can be inherited. It could also be caused by an underlying health issue. Anxiety can be caused by a side effect from a medication, or the wrong dosage (or wrong medication altogether). There is “big T” and “little t” trauma, both of which can be the source of anxiety when unresolved. Examples of “small t” trauma are interpersonal conflict, marital issues, financial difficulty, legal challenges, or abrupt or challenging moves or job changes. “Small t” traumas can easily be overlooked or dismissed by both the person having these challenges and by loved ones or therapists who don’t understand trauma. It’s also important to note that the cumulative effect of “small t” trauma cam be significant. “Big T” trauma is more significant such as a major accident, natural disaster, a physical or sexual attack, or a major loss. In addition to all the examples I’ve already listed, anxiety can be caused by a lack of sleep, a lack of exercise, food sensitivities, under nourishment, imbalanced hormones, or challenging relationships. Limiting belief habitual thought patterns can reinforce anxiety, as can being stuck in your head. Energy sensitives can also be vulnerable to negative energy.
Healthy Coping Mechanisms
If you have chronic anxiety, please go see a doctor who can check to make sure the anxiety isn’t being caused by an underlying health issue. It’s a good idea who can help you get to the root of the problem rather than simply quelling your symptoms. I also recommend talking to a licensed therapist or other professional who is trauma-informed who can help you process unresolved issues. You may need to make some long-term lifestyle changes so that you won’t be as susceptible to stress and anxiety. Staying well-hydrated, eating right for your body type, getting the proper amount of exercise, and getting the proper amount of sleep are all core necessities to living a healthy life. It’s also important to surround yourself with healthy and kind people. But it can be hard to do these things when you’re already experiencing so much stress.
Below are some quick and easy coping mechanisms to help you work through your anxiety and stress in the moment so you can focus on decluttering.
- Sometimes anxiety happens because we don’t want to feel uncomfortable feelings. Do a body scan. Notice where you feel anxiety in your body. What does it feel like? Put your hands on the parts of your body where you feel stress. Bringing awareness to these parts can be incredibly soothing.
- Interrupt your anxious thoughts by asking yourself, “What if everything works out?”
- Try EFT Tapping. Here’s an article to explain how to do it.
- Do a breathing exercise. Breathe in for 5 seconds, hold for 5, and breath out for 7. Repeat 10 times.
- Eat something healthy to regulate your blood sugar. The rule of thumb I like to use is: every time you eat, have a protein, a healthy fat, and something with fiber.
- Drink some water or calming chamomile tea.
- Bringing awareness to your feet will quickly get you out of your head and help you get grounded. You can reach down and touch your feet, or stand and feel your feet on the ground, or even just ask yourself “where are my feet?”. This is a very easy trick to help you stay balanced.
- Engage in some exercise. This completes the stress response. Just don’t fall into the cycle of over-exercising.
- Do some aromatherapy. Smelling something pleasant is one of the quickest ways to soothe your nervous system. Use therapeutic grade essential oils. While lavender can be very calming for some people, it can also be stimulating. Choose a scent that you like that helps you relax. Some of my favorite essential oils for anxiety are citrus blends, cedarwood, and peppermint, but everyone is different. Use what works for you.
- Light a candle to help change the atmosphere and provide a calming glow. Beeswax candles are my favorite because they smell so nice and release negative ions into the air.
- Change your scenery. Go for a short walk and get some fresh air. Or even just open a window.
- Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs.
- Take a break and go do something else for a little while.
- Play! Get a little goofy and do something silly. This will help your brain relax so that you can recharge your decision making muscles.
- Hug a loved one or play with a pet (or look at cute picture of animals).
- Listen to music you love or an uplifting podcast.
- Smile! This is incredibly easy and effective.
- Color. Use Color to Declutter, or get crafty and play with color in another way. Let your brain unwind and have fun.
- Do a brain dump. Make a list of everything that’s in your head.
- Do a meditation or visualization exercise. I love doing these with a weighted or heated blanket, depending on the weather.
- Make sleep a priority. If you need to take a nap, listen to your body. Do your best to get on a good sleep schedule.
- Call a friend who can help you sort out your emotions.
- Ask for help.
What other healthy coping mechanisms do you like to use?
If you are experiencing chronic stress or anxiety and need a referral to a good doctor or therapist, please let me know.
Posted By Jean Prominski, Certified Professional Organizer
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