Anxiety and Productivity

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The picture has nothing to do with the post, it’s just a pic I took at a fair a long time ago of a Ferris wheel 🙂

Hello! I figured out something that helps me stick to doing the things I need to do and or want to do during the day.  Writing them down in my journal.  I used to just list stuff on one of my phone apps but I find for this particular problem writing them down physically is very helpful.  It holds me accountable in a way because I’ll look back in my journal and realize if I’ve been slacking or not and it helps keep me motivated.  Sometimes days just get a way from me and a lot of time is spent thinking about things I need or want to do but never actually getting anything done.  I tend to be much more productive this way.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of agitation and anxiety lately.  Not really sure why, but it’s been hard to deal with.  This seems to happen a lot in the spring/summer months for me.  Might also be from having significantly less caffeine lately. Last night was very rough and I was having some very negative thoughts.  I ended up putting on my electric candle melter (scentsy) and reading a few stories out of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas Miracles.  I had a cup of chamomile tea also. After that I played Stardew Valley for awhile, which is extremely relaxing by the way!

I’m hoping I can become more productive over the summer.  Just getting basic things done is a good starting point. I have a habit of putting things off for way too long due to anticipatory anxiety.  I get apprehensive about almost everything, haven’t dealt with that for a long time.  For several years I was on top of my game but anxiety has been taking over the past few months. I’m also working on improving my ability to concentrate by reading for longer periods of time, and not letting myself check my phone or anything.  I started using the productivity app Habitica, it’s kind of like an RPG style way to track your habits, you level up with certain amounts of points and can get stuff for your avatar with the coins you earn, it’s really a lot of fun!

Does anyone else have any other productivity tips or ways to develop good habits?

Thanks for reading!

What Helps Me When Anxious

Lately I’ve had a lot of severe anxiety but I’ve been able to cope with it pretty well.  Here’s some of the things that have helped me:

  1. Journaling:  Last night I couldn’t sleep and my mind was racing so I got up and started writing in my journal, just about everything going on in my mind.  Normally when I journal it’s just to write about what’s been going on in my life and I’ve never really used as a coping skill during an actual problem with anxiety or anything else.  It was a good experience and I’m wondering why I never used it that way before.  I just kept writing until I calmed down eventually.  I like documenting things going on in my life but this was really helpful for releasing anxiety onto paper.
  2. Videogames: I love playing games and the other night I was panicking so I decided to play Lord of the Rings LEGO on my 3DS.  It was so relaxing! I play wide array of games but I think my top games to play when trying to relax would be Animal Crossing and any of the LEGO games.   Some games are too stimulating for that purpose and more complex, which I enjoy but they aren’t as helpful when trying to reduce panic because it requires too much concentration.
  3. Drawing or Coloring: I love drawing and coloring, and I don’t do it often enough.  I think it was maybe last week I was really having a hard time sleeping so I got my sketch book out and started doodling some zentangle stuff while listening to music.  It’s a nice way to be creative and keep my hands busy.
  4. Praying: I’m Catholic, so I find praying the Rosary to be calming.  It’s repetitive and a good way to meditate, plus the beads feel nice to hold and help keep track of the prayers.  I feel like I’m holding onto my faith physically when I pray with rosary beads.

I’ve noticed a lot of the anxiousness happens at night and the four things that have been most helpful all involve using my hands (holding pencils, the rosary, video game).  I’m not really sure why I get so anxious towards the evening.  It’s a lot worse when I haven’t slept the previous night.  I get hyper aware of everything, especially my heartbeat and I start thinking I’m dying.  I’m proud of myself for taking action and distracting myself when these things happen because I had a tendency in the past to just get consumed by it and freak out even more.  Meditating while closing my eyes used to help me but for some reason it causes me to have the physical sensation that I’m flying or on a roller coaster blindfolded when I do which makes things worse.  I’ve been wondering about other hobbies I could get into that could be helpful as well.  I know a lot of people enjoy crocheting, maybe I’ll try that someday.

Coping Skills

Coping skills are what the name implies, things that can help you cope with tough situations in life.

Different things work for different people.

What do you enjoy doing?

Think about that for awhile and try to come up with a list of things you can do easily when times are rough and you need a distraction.

Here are some of my top coping skills that have helped me many times.

Journaling

This is definitely at the top of the list for me.  It’s a great feeling to be able to just write and get all your feelings out, especially when you have nobody to talk to.  It’s also interesting to look back at patterns in the future and see how you dealt with things before.  I personally use a physical journal, I just happen to like that better.  You can do it however you want, blog, draw, write in a journal.

Coloring

Another big one, this is insanely helpful.  You may think it sounds silly for adults to color but it’s not at all.  It’s extremely relaxing, it gets your mind off what’s going on around you and on deciding which color to use next.  A very good distraction tool.  There are thousands of coloring books you can find online and order, even ones specifically for adults meaning that they’re much more intricate and time consuming than a child’s coloring book, but then again simple is fun to.  Whatever makes you happy!

Music

This is a tricky one, because naturally you will tend to be drawn to more depressing/angry songs when your depressed or anxious.  That’s okay too but it’s not good to dwell on bad feelings.  Try making a playlist with a mix of different types of songs so it doesn’t get to depressing.

Those are my top 3 coping skills, here is a simplified list of things that help me relax or take my mind off things.  Feel free to reply with what helps you or tweet me @ChaoticMindBlog

  • Relaxing shower or bath
  • Going for a swim
  • Taking a walk
  • Reading a good book
  • Watching a funny or positive movie/videos
  • Meditating
  • Arts and crafts
  • Playing with your pet(s)
  • Taking an afternoon nap (refreshing)
  • Practicing muscle relaxation techniques
  • Listening to relaxing sounds/music
  • Organizing/cleaning (helps some people feel better)
  • Having a cup of tea or cocoa

10 Quick Tips: Coping With Anxiety

Whether you have a full blown anxiety disorder or not, everyone has anxiety to some extent. Stress affects everyone and in different ways.  Here are some coping skills to help deal with anxiety.

  1. Journaling: This is the one I use most often. It feels good to get my thoughts out on paper.  It’s also a nice way to record and track progress.
  2. Coloring: It’s time consuming and very therapeutic
  3. Doing Puzzles: Crosswords, word finds, things like that plus it makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something.
  4. Stress Ball/Tangle toy: These are both things you can fidget with that can take your mind off what’s bothering you for a little bit.
  5. Tea: Drinking a warm cup of tea or cocoa can be very relaxing.
  6. Showering/Bathing: Again, both very relaxing.
  7. Listening to Music: Even sing if you want to, put on some happy music
  8. Deep Breathing Exercises: Breathe in and out slowly, try to get your heart rate to calm down if you’re having a panic attack.
  9. Progressive Muscle Relaxation: This entails tightening your muscles for a certain amount of time, releasing, and so on.
  10. Websites: Going on support forums like http://forums.psychcentral.com/  Or really any site like Pinterest, something that takes your mind off things and gets you to focus on something more positive.